Title: The Furies
Author: Katie Lowe
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
In 1998, a sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing, with no known cause of death. The novel opens with this image, as related to us by the narrator, Violet, looking back on the night it happened from the present day, before returning to relate the series of events leading up to the girl’s murder.
After an accident involving her Dad and sister, Violet joins Elm Hollow Academy, a private girls school in a quiet coastal town, which has an unpleasant history as the site of famous 17th century witch trials. Violet quickly finds herself invited to become the fourth member of an advanced study group, alongside Robin, Grace, and Alex – led by their charismatic art teacher, Annabel.
While Annabel claims her classes aren’t related to ancient rites and rituals – warning the girls off the topic, describing it as little more than mythology – the girls start to believe that magic is real, and that they can harness it. But when the body of a former member of the society – Robin’s best friend, with whom Violet shares an uncanny resemblance – is found dead on campus nine months after she disappeared, Violet begins to wonder whether she can trust her friends, teachers, or even herself.
The Furies is an atmospheric YA novel of teenage rebellion, witchcraft and pack mentality. It tells the tale of the four teenage girls at a private girls’ school, where another teenager has been found dead, and the premise sounded so interesting, so I picked it up despite not usually reading a lot of YA novels.
We don’t know who main character Violet, who has been thrust into the school life after her father and brother die in a car accident, can trust – if she can even trust herself? – and there’s a sense of threat as she tries to navigate cliques, after school ‘activities’ and legends passed down which seem to be designed to scare and shock. Her friends and peers seem to be incredibly annoying, self-obsessed and scheming, and I didn’t find them at all likable – perhaps I’m just too old? – so I didn’t really care what happened to them, apart from Violet perhaps, but still appreciated the creepiness that unfurls throughout its pages.
Some of the novel felt a little long and for me could have been trimmed down. I know this is a novel about teenage girls, so it’s to be expected, but at times I felt like there was too much ‘teenagers desperately showing how cool and grown up they are’ , which reeked of desperation from Violet and her gang. I know that’s kind of the point of the novel, but damn they were annoying!
The Furies really is filled with teenage drama, so if that’s your cup of tea then this novel will be right up your street. It’s an entertaining and fun (if a little dark) read, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected to.
Many thanks to HarperCollins UK for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.