Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith [Review + Giveaway]

Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror
Publication.Date  July 23rd 2013 (Hardcover edition)
Published By:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
WebsiteAlexander Gordon Smith 

The Fury
My review copy:ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

From the creator of the Escape from Furnace series, a ferocious epic of supernatural terror, perfect for Stephen King fans 

Imagine if one day, without warning, the entire human race turns against you, if every person you know, every person you meet becomes a bloodthirsty, mindless savage . . . That’s the horrifying reality for Cal, Brick, and Daisy. Friends, family, even moms and dads, are out to get them. Their world has the Fury. It will not rest until they are dead.

In Alexander Gordon Smith’s adrenaline-fueled saga, Cal and the others must uncover the truth about what is happening before it destroys them all. But survival comes at a cost. In their search for answers, what they discover will launch them into battle with an enemy of unimaginable power.

It was an ordinary Wednesday afternoon in June when the world came to kill Benny Millston. 
She went for him, her head darting forward like a cobra's. Her teeth scraped down his forehead, locking onto the flesh of his eyebrow and biting hard. Brick found his voice, shrieking. Blood gushed into his eye, trickling into his mouth, chocking him. She was chewing, working his face like a tough lump of lamb, her breath coming in short, meaty gasps. 
It might have still been the shock of what had happened. It might have been the fact that in the last few hours everything in her life, everything she knew about the world, had changed. 
It was the absence of something, and that absence was spreading - deleting, erasing, cancelling everything it touched. That's why it felt so sad, so horrible, because this thing was the very opposite of life, the opposite of death too, it was the opposite of everything.

     Before I get to the meat of my review, I'd like to tell you a little bit about my reading preferences. First of all, I am what you could call a die-hard Stephen King fan. I've read probably 95% of all his published works. And I loved it all. Second, I go nuts for horror stories. Like, coo coo crazy. I soak up dark and creepy like a paper towel. And not just any paper towel either, we're talking Bounty, the even thicker quicker picker-upper! Finally, I am HUGE on apocalyptic fiction. Civilizations crumbling into decay? Existential catastrophes? Pandemics? Supernatural phenomena? You name it! 

     That being said, The Fury is one absolutely phenomenal novel; hands down the best apocalyptic/horror YA book I have ever read. And trust me on that, I am not exaggerating. I'd go as far as to say that this is probably the best thing that happened to me (reading-wise) since Stephen King's The Stand. A book so good, it's scary how good it is. 

     At nearly 700 pages long, this book is a real behemoth! But don't let that discourage you from picking it up, the pages of this novel turn with feverish speed! Personally, I could not get enough of this story. It took me only two days to finish it (and I consider myself a very slow reader). And even when I wasn't reading it, my thoughts would constantly drift back to the world of The Fury, re-living certain scenes, asking questions, analysing. This book literally consumed me. 

     The general outline of the plot is quite simple. We start off with three main characters who all live in different places in England and don't seem to have anything in common. Until one day all three of them get attacked by their friends, families and literally every person around them. And when I say they get attacked, I don't mean that they get bullied or verbally abused. No, they become prey for a furious mob. Something within themselves provokes it, turning people into vicious, mindless animals with one purpose in mind: kill, rip-apart, destroy. 

     As the story progresses, Alexander Gordon Smith gradually introduces us to new characters - some of them stay and become essential to the plot, others appear only briefly (and they usually don't end well). The cast is fabulous and ever-expanding. And so is the worldbuilding. Significant part of the story takes place at an abandoned amusement park outside of the city. The setting is gorgeously creepy and delightfully unique. The empty buildings, broken carousels, roller coasters straight from hell... it all adds a lot of flavor to the already dark and unsettling plot. 

     And then there's the Fury itself. "This storm, this whirlwind, this bad thing". This emptiness, the absence of something with an unstoppable desire to consume everything and everyone in its way. Erasing, cancelling, devouring. It's growing and expanding, and nothing can stop it. 

     The Fury is certainly not a book for the faint of heart. It's gore, very disquieting and gut-wrenching, and rich in gruesome details and mind-numbing descriptions. It's violent. It's bloody. It's thoroughly terrifying. To be honest, I did not feel like I was reading a YA story; to me this book felt very adult (in a good way). Not only does it contain scenes of very graphic violence and destruction, it also touches on some deep and poignant themes, such as sacrifice, loss and survival. Good and evil. Potential end of the world. 

     I was entirely blown-away by the scope of this book. The premise was well thought out, the narration - smooth and gripping. I enjoyed the many different perspectives, they allowed us to see the events through the eyes of all people involved, even the "bad guys" (or "bad girls"). The characterization was superb - each character had a role to play in the story, they all possessed distinct personalities, their backgrounds were very different, and - in most cases - they developed unique abilities. I loved Cal and Daisy, they were my favorite characters. Cal radiated goodness and thoughtfulness. He was smart, good-natured and reasonable. And I really loved how he took care of Daisy, becoming her extended family. Daisy was a sweet girl herself and my heart ached for her. No twelve year old should ever have to go through all the things she went through in this book. 

     To sum it all up, The Fury is a book that has everything - horror, adventure, supernatural powers, celestial entities, wild chases and desperate escapes. It's entertaining and thrilling, but also thought-provoking and emotionally affecting. It makes your heart pound hard and sends cold shivers down your spine. It's a sweeping and deeply bone-chilling apocalyptic vision that is sure to leave you breathless and demanding more. More!

WHAT YOU CAN WIN: 9 x The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith
OPEN TO: Canada [1] & US [5] & International [1] & UK [2]
Ends: May 25th

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