Greek Meets Unstable Kids: The Furies

Review: The Furies by Natalie Haynes

Title: The Furies
Author: Natalie Haynes
Pages: 304
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publish Date: November 17, 2015
Genre: Thriller

Synopsis: After losing her fiancé in a shocking tragedy, Alex Morris moves from London to Edinburgh to make a break with the past. Formerly an actress, Alex accepts a job teaching drama therapy at a school commonly referred to as "The Unit," a last-chance learning community for teens expelled from other schools in the city. Her students have troubled pasts and difficult personalities, and Alex is an inexperienced teacher, terrified of what she's taken on and drowning in grief.
Her most challenging class is an intimidating group of teenagers who have been given up on by everyone before her. But Alex soon discovers that discussing the Greek tragedies opens them up in unexpected ways, and she gradually develops a rapport with them. But are these tales of cruel fate and bloody revenge teaching more than Alex ever intended? And who becomes responsible when these students take the tragedies to heart, and begin interweaving their darker lessons into real life with terrible and irrevocable fury?
Natalie Haynes' The Furies is a psychologically complex, dark and twisting novel about loss, obsession and the deep tragedies that can connect us to each other even as they blind us to our fate.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in any way.

Cover: The cover is dark and mysterious. It makes you wonder about the novel. It captures the essence of the novel perfectly.

Characters: Alex was just a great leading character. I really began to connect with her and feel for her. It was amazing to see how her opinion of the kids changed throughout the year and watch them grow.
Mel was the novel. Her character was intriguing and filled with darkness that isn’t revealed until later on. As the novel progresses, it was interesting to watch her character change from a seemingly innocent young girl to someone twisted and obsessed with revenge. It was highly entertaining. Also, how she talked about people began to frighten me. When she was saying how she hated Carly for that moment, and how her mom was just a horrible person. That was really when you began to notice something off about the girl.

Plot: This was my first thriller, and I’m glad I started the genre with a fantastic read. Every chapter a new question is proposed while answering previous ones. The writing and mystery keeps you on your toes. An addicting, fast-paced novel yet filled with legends of the Greeks makes it a fascinating read. You won’t want to put it down; I sure didn’t. It was exciting with very few dull moments. The Furies was original and addressed the issue when a student got too caught up with learning instead of real life. I loved it!

Ending: In no time at all, you will find yourself at the ending wanting to know more. I want to know what happens after the end. Do Mel and Alex get happy endings? I guessed who the killer was, but had no clue how it happened. I wished it would have been bigger and something more elaborate, but I guess she was just a kid. Also, I really enjoyed the twist of the story being told to a lawyer. I never saw that coming.

Overall: The Furies engrossed me from start to finish. It was well-written with only a few minor points where I grew confused. Also, it was pretty cool reading this as an American. It’s set in Scotland, I believe, and it was cool to compare the spelling of words to what I know. Like “paycheque” when I know it as “paycheck.” Or there were some words that I had no clue what they meant.

I loved the Greek myths mentioned. Greek mythology just interests me, so any novel that can work it into a story is one that I want to read.

I highly recommend The Furies. It will keep you up at night, wanting to know the answers. It’s a great read.

About the Author

Natalie Haynes is a graduate of Cambridge University, a former member of the Footlights, and an award-winning comedian, journalist, and broadcaster. She judged the Man Booker Prize in 2013 and was a judge for the final Orange Prize in 2012. Natalie is a regular panelist on BBC2’s Newsnight Review, Radio 4’s Saturday Review, and the long-running arts show, Front Row. She is a guest columnist for The Independent and The Guardian. Her own series, Natalie Haynes Stands up for the Classics, which aired on BBC Radio, is in its second season.

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