Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Furies by Mark Alpert

Note: The Furies was an Advanced Reader Copy I received from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

I found the premise of this book to be very interesting which is the very reason why I requested it from NetGalley. The blurb explained that there are a set of people called Furies who, once upon a time, were called witches and were burned at the stake, etc. but instead of really having magical powers or anything there is actually just a genetic mutation that sets them apart from “regular” humans. Sounds interesting and unique, right?

The prologue started off strong in 1645 England with a woman named Elizabeth Fury hiding from the men who was on a witch hunt for her. It was clear from the start that the focus would be on the power of the women because she notes that she fears for her daughters and her sisters. I was excited to see how powerful these women really were.

But then the story switched over to modern day times where a man named John Rogers and a woman named Ariel in a bar and the two eventually become immersed in what kind of appears to be a gang war. At this point I figured the author was just trying to build up anticipation for the “big reveal” (aka the link between the part of the story set in 1645 and the modern day one). And of course a little bit of anticipation was a good thing but other than a strange anomaly with Ariel’s tooth there wasn’t even a hint of what the reveal as until I got 28% into the book. By that point I almost didn’t care anymore.

The major issue I had with the whole genetic mutation thing was in how it was handled. In the prologue Elizabeth made it very clear that she knew her fellow villagers cried “witch” whenever something was off and that she knew exactly how she was “special” and “different.” Then why in the world would she have risked living so close to town for over twenty years? Why wouldn’t she have done the logical thing and kept the family moving or better hidden? There had to have been a way to do that.

Then once we learn more about the why the Fury women are so special I was confused (because first of all it really wasn’t even that big of a deal, it wasn’t even remotely “magical” just very convenient.) You want to stay hidden but you still send people out to get pregnant and further the family to the point where it’s getting ridiculously difficult to hide? At this point I’d think it far more likely for the family to have split up into different smaller colonies all around the world or for them to have come out into the open and have the Fury women basically running the whole damn world.

Now let me touch on the characters a bit. We have Ariel the researcher who wants the answers to everything but won’t give answers to anyone else. She doesn’t make any sense at all but is one of the of the only people with a motivation that I could even remotely empathize with, i.e. wanting to know exactly what she was dealing with before proceeding with the experiments. Then we had John Rogers who from the get go had a sad past and wouldn’t let the reader forget it. Yes his past was sad but all I got out of it was that the reason he hangs onto Ariel through thick and thin is because he was attracted to her and then they are thrown into a situation where he feels he needs to save/protect her. Yeah, that’s a good reason for a love story.

And the antagonist Sullivan. Oh dear. He’s about as stupid as they come. I can understand how the men in this Fury family feel like they’ve gotten the shaft. But he’s all upset because Ariel wants to research a formula instead of just injecting it all willy nilly. Really, that’s his whole motivation. He wants to be more like the women and thinks the women are being all selfish when basically they’re just trying to make sure that one: they don’t cause harm with their experiments and two: that they don’t expose the Fury family. Basically his motivation is that he doesn’t understand common sense. Oh and he likes to torture people.

There are just so many things that were wrong with this story: the characters motivations, the lack of common sense, the pacing (it took nearly 30% of the book to reach the big reveal and less than 10% to reach a resolution).

All I have to say is that I find obligated to read this book since I was granted an advanced copy from NetGalley. If it wasn’t for that I would never have finished the thing.

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