It is said that the word 'furious' came from the three Greek goddesses of vengeance. They were known as The Furies and they were the Avengers of Greek mythology: a moral avenger of anger, an avenger of jealousy and an avenger of murder.
Before the story begins there is a description of a dead schoolgirl sitting upright on a swing, ankles neatly crossed as if she is still alive. Something here is not natural. Then the tale opens when a sixteen year old girl joins a public school, eager to settle in and make friends following a family tragedy.
None of the schoolmates are particularly likeable but one is very manipulative. There is a hint of something cult-like when the small group of four friends are signed up to extra artistic tuition by an art teacher. They are introduced to mythology and the occult.
Unfortunately it is almost half way through the book before anything significantly unusual or magic happens. Until then the first-person narrative takes us through first time experiences of parties, periods, drugs, drinking, vomiting and unsavoury teenage boys. Immensely tedious and slow, with several characters chewing their thumbnails and smiling weakly, I was tempted to stop reading as I was obviously too old for all this. Yawn.
But I am a stoic reader and carried on. I had to find out about the girl on the swing and the Greek mythology.
And then - suddenly - everything changes. The Furies are summoned, there is an animal sacrifice. There is vengeance against individuals and men generally, jealousy, anger, fear, validation and guilt. The story whirls through a hazy, drug-induced frenzy where boundaries between life and death are tested, the simple and naive party antics replaced by something more daring and sinister. The children have become adults.
The writing too, has upped the tension, no more repeated phrases, pulling the reader on, challenging reality. At times disturbing, not just because of the murders but the anger and power that motivates these young women.
Definitely a new writer with great potential. Recommended.
The Furies is published by Harper Collins UK and available from Amazon.
Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.