Friday, 10 April 2015

The Fury


Book Title: The Fury
Author: Alexander Gordon Smith
Series: The Fury #1
Date Started: April 5th 2015
Date Completed: April 10th 2015
Genres: Dystopian, Thriller, Adventure, Horror, Action
Quality Rating: Three Stars
Enjoyment Rating: Four Stars
Final Rating: Four stars

The Fury follows the typical in of younger thriller ('boy') fiction, but has some really refreshing differences and twists. Though I can't say I was won over with the overall explanation, the story itself and the suspense it builds will entertain a wide range of younger readers (and not just boys).

The writing fell a bit flat for me, but to be honest I wasn't expecting anything magical. Even so, the action was well written, and the characters and dialogue scenes well-enough structured. I just feel like everything - especially the more supernatural parts of the book - could have been developed in a more interesting way. The book was written well enough to make sense of everything, it just lacked some flair.

The Fury didn't have the most believable plot line, but it still came across as probably more entertaining and engaging than a lot of novels aimed at similar audiences. And despite the vaguely too-easy climaxes or obstacles, I still found myself reasonably invested in the characters.
I think that specifically was very important, and possibly the reason why I enjoyed The Fury more than others: it focuses a lot more on the character's decisions, relationships and them trying to work out what to do. There is of course a different obstacle present in this book in which there are still other people alive (unlike, for example, the world being wiped out, or full of zombies etc), and because the teenagers had to take this into account it became a lot more about being clever rather than just running around until you find something interesting. The three main protagonists definitely pushed the story on, at the end of the day. I'm not sure how much I would have enjoyed this book had one of the characters annoyed me.
The thing with this story is it did a very good job of basically just setting up the action in the next book. Now I hate filler books that are only in place to get you to a certain point with more information and very little new story, but Smith made The Fury seem like its own story. Realising that we weren't going to get many answers that would solve the story near the end of the book did take away from the climax a bit, but nonetheless, it was a satisfying ending that did leave me wanting to know what happens next.

I really liked the relationship between the three main protagonists; they're distrustful and a little skeptical, as you would expect in a situation where everyone wants to kill you - but you also do get the feeling they care about each other, no matter how much they squabble or get angry and scared.
I really liked Cal, and felt he had a good influence on the story, but it did sometimes feel he was a bit too diplomatic with a group of scared teenagers. It's all well and good acting the level-headed hero but in what could easily become a Lord of the Flies situation it might not be the best course of action.
Daisy was also a good protagonist. I liked the way she understood what was happening to them a little bit more than anyone else, and you definitely get the sense she's a little bit different. However, despite liking the fact that the 'baby' of the group still played an important part in the story, I do feel that she was dumbed down for her age - she's thirteen not nine.
Brick is probably the least likeable of the protagonists, but the brief inclusion of his girlfriend really brought his character into perspective for me. There were times when I was just ready to kind of overlook him for anything other than nice or useful - but that little part in the story not only enforced the danger these kids were in, but also the human aspect they were facing.

There was a fast pace for such a long book (okay, the font wasn't exactly small but still), and I was impressed by the range of action and dialogue Smith incorporated into the story. I have to say, it took a little too long for things to really get going for me, but as an older reader I was in more anticipation for the plot reveal rather than the action leading up to it - but for its target audience I think the development will have them hooked.

Like I've said, I think younger readers will really enjoy this book for its fast-paced action and exciting mystery. Though it wasn't my favourite book ever, I still definitely enjoyed it more than most books that follow this sort of design. Perhaps not for a first-time reader, but definitely something to introduce the dystopian or thriller genre.

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