I don’t like posting negative reviews. I just don’t. Usually I’ll just write my mini-review and leave it at that. But this was a book I’d highlighted as one of the spring releases I was really looking forward to… and although that’s clearly not based on my having read the book, it still feels too much like an endorsement for me to leave it alone.
*** I requested this review copy through NetGalley. ***
I was really excited for Mark Alpert’s The Furies, which comes out tomorrow. The cover looked so mysterious. The summary was so intriguing.
The end result was so disappointing.
I’ll admit, it’s somewhat a victim of my high expectations. But when those expectations are based entirely on information from the publisher rather than the hype of other readers, it’s hard to think of the book as being the victim. And even after realizing it wasn’t going to be what I expected, I kept trying to like it… but there was too much getting in my way.
Warning: minor spoilers ahead! No major twists, but it’s more than I usually reveal. If you plan to read the book and prefer to draw your own conclusions, you can skip to the bold text near the end for my spoiler-free closing thoughts.
- The relationship between the two main characters, though there’s some explanation for it, comes too close to insta-love (and they don’t even have the excuse of being hormonal teenagers).
- The sex scenes are quite explicit. I don’t know if it’s more than necessary – how do you objectively define necessary? – but it’s definitely too much for my taste.
- So much talk about aborted fetuses! Again, there’s a plausible explanation behind it… but still. It got to be a bit much.
- I liked most of the secondary characters, but our hero is pretty bland. He has a tragic backstory, and that’s pretty much the extent of his character.
- The ending is really abrupt. (This is pretty minor compared to the other issues I had with the book, but it definitely missed its last chance to wow me.)
- But the most disappointing thing is that there’s nothing paranormal about Ariel’s people. Unusual, yes. But it’s a stretch to call it paranormal; the connotation, if not the strict definition, is all wrong here.
(spoiler-free from here to the end)
According to the book’s description, “The Furies weaves cutting-edge science into an ingenious thriller, showing how a simple genetic twist could have inspired tales of witchcraft and sorcery, and how the paranormal could indeed be possible.”
But I think the marketing put a little too much emphasis on something that wasn’t really there. Between the plot summary and the cover, I was hoping for more of a cross-genre feel, and that’s not at all what I got. This is a straight-up thriller that just doesn’t deliver on its interesting premise.
When’s the last time you were disappointed by a book you were really looking forward to?