I'm happy to get any kind of Courtney Summers (...wow, that sounded less weird in my head), but a zombie/apocalypse novel? Despite knowing that Summer...moreI'm happy to get any kind of Courtney Summers (...wow, that sounded less weird in my head), but a zombie/apocalypse novel? Despite knowing that Summers has a thing about the zombie apocalypse, I'm really surprised to see that this is a novel about one. Shocked, but hopefully in a good way.(less)
There are a lot of things to love about Shirley Marr's "Fury", but top of the list has to be, in my mind -- guts.
Not just because "Fury" is edgy. It i...moreThere are a lot of things to love about Shirley Marr's "Fury", but top of the list has to be, in my mind -- guts.
Not just because "Fury" is edgy. It is, but when I say 'guts', there's more to it than just the dark, nasty undercurrent than runs under the twisty, lovely plotting and sucker-punch scenes.
But, when I say guts, I'm talking mostly about the characters. One character is top of that list, Eliza Boans, the fierce and fantastic heroine of "Fury." I always find it hard when authors try to portray strength; most of them use more telling than showing. It's really not easy to do, but Marr makes it look so, so easy.
That's the thing that there is to love most about Eliza: her guts. (I know, how many times can I use that word in this sentence? We should play a drinking game.) I almost wrote 'courage' or just 'strength', but there is much more to Eliza than just 'courage.' Eliza is a fearless yet terrified main character that I just love for how much goddamn fight she has in her. This is one of those books that really earned its title (unlike a certain other book with this name...) in that, yes, I felt the fury. It coursed through every page of the story, really propelling the acts forwards. It almost seemed to bleed from the book. It almost feels too easy to dismiss Eliza as One Angry Girl, because, no, fury forced most of this story forwards in the most terrifying train-crash way, and I loved every word of it.
Remember my rant about the other Fury, about how it was everything to despise in YA literature as it was a shallow, underdeveloped, unlikeable and paper-thin story based on an interesting premise?
This "Fury" is nothing like that. What I love most about "Fury" is that it treats its audience with respect and depth. "Fury" is chock-full of enjoyable references, from Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, mythology (especially Greek mythology) and tragedy. It's so fresh and clever, but never overly clever or pretentious. Just as I was rolling my eyes, thinking, "Oh my God, poor little Eliza, suffering through her rich white girl life in uber-luxurious Australia", she would turn around and dose me with her own acidic wit and I would feel stumped again. Shirley Marr knows all the tricks.
*coughs* *clears throat* (Excuse me. This reviewer is engaging rabid feminist mode. She will return to normal in several lines.)
And, yes, something else to love about "Fury": it's about feminism. Not in the big, important, chest-bashing Margaret Atwood way, but in a way that really cut into me as a reader. It's about what it's like to be a friend and a young woman in this crapsaccharine Australian furniture store, when you get rid of all the petty rivalry and bullshit, Eliza tells us this without ever sugar coating or overstating it. I can see you all giving me squinty eyes - sure, murder, selfishness, narcissism, designer labels and mean girls, Beth, it sounds sooooooo feminist. But there is a satirical beauty to how Marr deals with what might seem like a hackneyed plot. Do not underestimate Eliza Boans. Or more to the point: underestimate Eliza Boans at your peril. The eventual murder scene is one of the best scenes I've ever read, simply for the pure, unadulterated and stomach-churning viciousness that underlines it all. All these mean girls have deep and dark and real friendships, and there is a black heart that throbs at the centre of "Fury."
But mostly important, just in case I've made this book sound so dry and ohmygodwon'tyoujustshutupaboutsociologyalready? - it's incredibly fun. Reading "Fury" made me feel like a lot of YA has been hampered by clichés and expectations and won't somebody think of the children?!. It's just off the hook, with originality, wit and wildness, brilliant mythology gags (like such outlandish but somehow-it-works scene where the characters don masks, old-fashioned dresses and make like the original Furies) and a glittery surface of dresses, money and ass-kicking that gives the seriousness of the themes real fun and freshness. Particularly the amazing ending, which made Eliza's kickass mother sharpen into focus as one of my favourite secondary characters ever and their final scene together was just amazing. I particularly liked the idea that true judgement had perhaps even eluded the characters. "Fury" isn't about learning a lesson. It's about the emotion that gives the book its title - and everything else is up to the characters. (less)