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The Furies

Review

The Furies

The Erinyes, or the Furies, were three vengeful goddesses of ancient Greek myth. Their wrath was generally brought down upon criminals, especially murderers, and ritual purification was the only way to stave off their violence. Over the centuries, the Furies have inspired much art, both literary and visual. With THE FURIES, author Katie Lowe adds her version of their story to this tradition. This is a dark and dramatic coming-of-age tale fueled by sorrow, loss, anger, uncertainty and revenge.

Violet is the new girl at Elm Hollow Academy. She has been homeschooled for a year, mourning the death of her father and sister, watching her mother succumb to alcoholism, and suffering from depression. At Elm Hollow she is befriended by the sweet yet gossipy Nicky, but Violet only has eyes for the tough and rebellious Robin. Robin and her friends, Alex and Grace, are also grieving, as their close friend Emily is missing and presumed dead. Soon Violet is accepted into their small circle and is rounding out a secret class taught by a teacher named Annabel in the school’s historic campanile. Annabel asks the girls to think about examples of strong women from literature and art, and the school’s own complicated history of witchcraft.

"This is no happy ending adolescent drama. Lowe never lets her readers or her characters relax or feel totally at ease. Threats loom large on every page."

Along with the regular assigned reading, in the secluded room at the top of the campanile, the four girls explore the blood magic in an old text that will unleash the power of the Furies. After Violet experiences a violent violation, they use this magic to destroy her assailant. Even as Violet’s behavior and drug use spin out of control, and as Alex and Grace pull away from her and Robin, Violet starts to realize that perhaps the girls have employed this magic before.

Friendships fray, and the body count grows as Violet and her friends continue to both push boundaries and try to understand the women they are growing into and what they value most. This is no happy ending adolescent drama. Lowe never lets her readers or her characters relax or feel totally at ease. Threats loom large on every page.

THE FURIES opens with the chilling image of a young woman dead on a playground swing. With the perspective of years past, and much trauma and terrible acts behind her, Violet’s story circles back to this girl and the series of events that lead to her death. Lowe’s novel is gothic in its details and baroque in its style. With Violet as the narrator, the book is emotional, dense, emotionally fraught, jumpy and at times overwritten. It is replete with literary and artistic allusions and references, and Lowe uses them wisely to connect ideas, though the plot itself is not as tightly knit as it could be.

From the boarding school setting to the teenage destruction to the fierce female magic, there is not a lot that is totally unique here. Still, as far as moody teen suspense goes, THE FURIES will satisfy many readers with its girl power gone terribly awry.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on October 18, 2019

The Furies
by Katie Lowe

  • Publication Date: October 8, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 1250297893
  • ISBN-13: 9781250297891