Friday, 16 May 2014

Review: Fury by Charlotte McConaghy

Published by: Momentum Books
Release date: 25th March 2014
Series: The Cure #1

I got it from: NetGalley
Goodreads summary:

When emotions are erased from the world, creating a civilization of mindless drones, only those with fury can survive.

On the same day each year Josephine Luquet wakes naked, shivering and covered in blood that is not her own. Under the cold gaze of the blood moon she is someone else entirely, but when dawn breaks her memories flee and she is left with only an icy horror, a burning fury. Amid a sea of drones, she alone hasn’t been cured.
It will be the same each year: atrocities forgotten, truths hidden and pieces of herself left to die.
Until Luke.
He isn’t like the other drones. With secrets whispering behind his eyes and a hunger for all things Josephine, he is the only one determined to help her discover the truth before the next blood moon rises.
But time is running out. Is Luke willing to risk his life to be near her? Does he truly understand what violence she is capable of?

Raw and full of passion, Fury is a story of love in a dystopian world, and how much we are willing to forgive in the struggle to remember our humanity.

My review:
I'm not sure what I was expecting from Fury, but it certainly wasn't this. I thought I might be getting dystopia, some strange world where nobody feels anger anymore, except Josephine. In a way, that's what I did get, but I also got so much more. 

Fury is a lot more grown-up than I expected it to be. Billed as something for fans of Divergent, with an eighteen year-old heroine, I thought I'd be getting something Young Adult or New Adult-ish. And while I think a lot of teens would enjoy the book, they might not appreciate it as much as adults. With age and experience comes a higher appreciation of true talent, and that's what McConaghy has.  

Fury is no light and easy read, but neither is it heavy and hard-going. Rather, it's deep and moving and highly addictive. Josephine is the most compelling MC I've come across in ages, and once she got into my head I couldn't bear to let her go. I think I fell for her at first sight, just like Luke did. She's tragic, strong, snarky and vulnerable all at once. Her condition makes her body weak. The things she's done are without question terrible. She should be unlovable, she believes she is. But she's wrong. 

McConaghy's world is an intriguing and frightening one. She paints a picture of a future where the rich are obscenely wealthy and the poor are destitute. A world populated by drones - everyone is forced to be administered with 'the cure' - a shot that inhibits the ability to feel anger. But without anger we lose a part of our humanity. If you can't get angry when you see a child being abused, how can you stop it? 

Josi lets us into her world, piece by piece, from the confines of a mental asylum. As she talks to her doctor, describing the events of the past year, we slowly learn about the world she lives in and the life she leads. McConaghy is slow to reveal the important information that will make everything come clear, but that is no bad thing. With this suspense she is treating us, the readers, as intelligent people. We don't need everything to be spelled out in a corny information dump. We can use our imagination and the small but essential details that she gives us to build up this future world in our minds. This lets us feel everything so much stronger, and there is a lot to feel. 

Fury is a dystopian love story, and the relationship between Josi and Luke is so very intense. Caught up in a whirlwind of horror and fear, this love story may seem doomed from the start, but we all know that true love is a force which can overcome countless obstacles. Is it enough though? Is there any way that Josi and Luke can have a happy ending? I want it so much, and so will you by the time your reach the end. What these two go through, the things they've seen and done, they deserve some sort of happy ending. But Fury is the first in a trilogy so instead we're left with a cliffhanger of sorts. I don't begrudge it though, because if, at the end, a happy ending had been contrived somehow, I think it would actually have disappointed me. This is not a world of happy endings. It's a world of harsh reality. Don't be a drone reader - be brave and open up a book that will make you feel more.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Review: Goddess by Laura Powell

Published by: Bloomsbury Children's
Release date: 10th April 2014
Series: n/a

I got it from: NetGalley
Goodreads summary:

Strikes. Starvation. Riots. Britain is at breaking-point and Aura is blind to it all. The Cult of Artemis is the only home she’s ever known. Enclosed in its luxury lifestyle, the unrest gripping the country seems to belong to a distant world. Her dream is to serve the Goddess and taking a vow of chastity and obedience seems a small price to pay. But days before Aura is due to be initiated as a Priestess, she meets Aiden, the rebellious son of a cult insider, whose radical ideas and unsettling charm force Aura to question everything – and everyone – she knows.

My review:
I have to admit, it took me a couple of chapters to get into this book. The world-building wasn't that great at first, but it was interesting enough for me to keep reading, and it got better as the book went on. When I read the author's note at the end explaining things, it all made a lot more sense, though I'm sure that note is at the end instead of the beginning for a reason, so I probably wouldn't advise reading it first.

The political vs religious intrigue makes for a satisfyingly meaty story. Powell's London is a very different place to our own in some ways, yet very recognisable in others. It's a scarily realistic picture of what could have been. This part dystopia, part alternate reality is probably the hardest aspect of the book to swallow, but if you treat it as a recognisable fantasy world rather than an unrecognisable reality you should get on okay.

Aura is a very well-developed MC. She's vulnerable in her naivety, yet strong in her convictions. Her extremely sheltered upbringing makes her into a girl to be protected and easy to love, but her unshakeable belief in what's right, is what really makes her likeable.

The mythology takes a bit of getting used to, and I suspect a rough knowledge of ancient Greek myth is helpful when reading - I certainly found it so, and I'm not sure what I would have made of it without that knowledge. But Powell brings it together well, meshing ancient myth and religion with modern life to create a truly interesting world.

Romance - I have to mention the romance. It's minimal in a physical sense, but very real on a spiritual level. Artemis is a jealous goddess and requires her priestesses to be pure in thought as well as deed. She does not take kindly to any who even think of defying her. I shan't give away any more than that, except to say that Powell approaches this aspect of the story exceptionally well.