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4.8 out of 5 stars16
4.8 out of 5 stars
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There are a handful of authors for whom I will drop everything to read their new book when it arrives. Alexander Gordon Smith is one of them. His Escape From Furnace series is not only one of my favourite series of recent years, but also one of my all-time favourite series of YA horror books. In my opinion he leaves most of the competition standing, and yes, I include Shan and Higson there.

What I love most about the Furnace series, and now The Fury can be added to this as well, is the way Gordon (for that is how he prefers to be known) taps into the things that we fear the most. I'm not talking about spiders, rats, death here, but those primal fears that lurk deep with our psyches have done for millennia. Loss of freedom, loss of identity, loss of the things that make us human were all themes covered in the Furnace books, and now in The Fury Gordon goes for the jugular and builds his story around a fear that nearly every child, teenager and adult fears deeply - their friends and family, the people they love the most in the world, turning on them. And we're not just talking playground bullying here, or petty arguments between friends. In The Fury a handful of young people find their loved ones suddenly turning on them, chasing them and literally trying to pull them apart, like a pack of hyaenas slaughtering an isolated baby gazelle.

In The Fury it is as if Alexander Gordon Smith has taken the whole zombie genre, put it in a blender, added his own twisted imagination and incredible talent in equal measures and pressed the on switch. The result is something that is a gore-filled, feral frenzy of a story, with an underlying theme that will have you thinking about it for weeks after the final page has been turned. It is the book that puts Alexander Gordon Smith ahead of the pack in the race for the title of 'the Stephen King of YA horror'.

The blurb at the beginning of this review tells you pretty much all you need to know about the story, although I will clarify one major point. Although similar in nature to the traditional zombie story it differs in one significant way - there is not a zombie in sight, and this is what makes it even more terrifying. Certain individuals suddenly find their nearest and dearest filled with a blood lust and a single-minded desire to pound them into a bloody pulp, even if it means pain and injury to themselves in the process, and yet once the deed is done they immediately return to normal, as if some omnipotent being is turning their 'behave-like-a-zombie switch' on and off for fun. So if you love horror, but are tired with the idea of legions of rotting, stumbling undead munching on brains, then this is the book for you.

This is a 500-page book and yet it reads like something much slimmer in page count. I mean this as the greatest of compliments. There is not a single word of padding in this story, and every word is made to count, and as such there is no scene or passage in the book that ever feels like it is dragging its heels. Instead, I found myself poring through the pages as rapidly as possible, desperately concerned for the fate of the small handful of well-crafted characters that the author collects together. Alexander Gordon Smith is a master story teller and he knows when to speed things up and have the reader's heart pounding hard on their ribcage, and he knows when it is time to give that heart a brief moment of respite before turning the dial back up to 11 and beyond.

The Fury is the first book in a two-part series from Alexander Gordon Smith, and as such does not come anywhere close to having an ending that answers the questions posed during the story. However, it does leave us lusting for more, although at present I am not sure when the sequel is due to be published. If you are at all like me it will also have you thinking about it for weeks after, its themes sneaking back into your conscious thoughts when you least expect it.
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on 5 April 2012
Based on the blurb above you'd be forgiven for thinking THE FURY is similar to Charlie Higson's THE ENEMY series. While there are certainly some similarities in the concept, they are completely different books and - whisper it - I'd go so far as to say this one is better.

Plot-wise there's not a huge amount to add to the official blurb up above. It isn't a book with a complicated storyline, and yet it manages to sink its fingernails into your face right from the jaw-dropping prologue, and refuses to let go until the final page. That journey from start to end isn't a pleasant one, either, and I mean that in the best possible way. We're dragged screaming through the chapters, battered by unrelenting horror for page after blood-soaked page.

Even during the quieter spells, when Gordon is letting us get to know the characters, there's a foreboding cloud hanging over the scene, a dread instinct that, while things may be peaceful now, scary stuff is inevitably looming around the corner. I actually found myself getting nervous at points, and would have a quick glance down the page to see if anything nasty was coming. It's the literary equivalent of constantly looking back over your shoulder when walking home in the dark, and it's a testament to Gordon's writing that he could turn this six-foot-four Scotsman into quite such a paranoid wreck.

Without giving much away, the scenes in which the oldest boy, Brick, is talking to his girlfriend (well, almost certainly ex-girlfriend) when she is locked in the basement were particularly effective at making the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I could never shake the feeling that the relationship wasn't going to end well and... well, you'll just have to read it yourself to find out. (Hint: It doesn't)

The only part of the book I wasn't 100% sure about was towards the end, when we discover what's causing The Fury. The story took a bit of a departure from horror here and slipped into fantasy, although I can't really think of another way it could have been explained, at least not without going down the well-worn virus/immunity route. It's a much more original explanation than that, but it took me a bit of time to fully buy into it. This is only the first of two books, though, so it'll be interesting to see what direction the second part of the story takes when it is published next year, and I have full confidence that Gordon knows what he's doing.

This is an outstanding horror book, but with plenty to set it apart from the standard blood-and-gore fare: an interesting bunch of characters, an intriguing spin on a familiar concept, and some top quality writing from one of the best YA horror authors in the business. If you're a fan of scares, or just good storytelling, I can't recommend THE FURY highly enough.
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on 15 April 2012
Alexander Gordon Smith is a Legend, he is one of the authors on my list that I will drop everything for. As soon as one of his books arrive I have to pick it up and read.
I went out on the day it was released and bought my copy, delighted at it's size and in awe of it's amazingness. I knew this was going to be good.
If you follow my blog regularly, you will know I am a total wimp, I can't do horror or murder or things that go bump. My imagination is a little over-active and I end up seeing things in every shadow. So why am I excited about this book, you may well ask, simply because it is by Gordon and I know he tells an amazing story.
This book is a bit like a crash site - you know you shouldn't keep looking, but something pulls you in and you can't look away. I was reading this biting my nails and gasping, fascinated yet completely horrified at the same time.
The book starts right in the heart of the action, Benny is being ignored by everyone, until something snaps and suddenly his own mother and sister are trying to kill him. It's violent, it's bloody and it sends chills down your spine, but I had to know why, what was making this happen, where could it go from here?
This book is quite big at 530 pages, but it doesn't feel that long, the pages just fly by, every word captures your attention and pulls you in further. I actually read this in 2 sittings, mainly because I made myself put it down when it got to about 7pm as I didn't want to read it too close to bedtime - I could get nightmares. :P
This story is told from 3 main characters perspectives, Brick a tough looking 18 year old, Cal a football mad 17 year old and Daisy a sweet young 12 year old. These characters are all so different yet somehow they work together really well. Although he was the angry, keep to himself sort I actually really liked Brick, something about him made me think he really was a good guy. Cal annoyed me at first, the 'everyone loves me attitude' is something I can't stand, but that soon changes and he does endear himself more to me later. Daisy is sweet, a bit naive and obviously very scared, a right little sweetheart, but again someone who you can tell has inner strength.
There are more characters introduced as you go on and the excitement builds with each one. Rilke scared me, she is intense!
The very idea of this book is a lot of people's worst nightmare I'm sure, I mean a lot of things in this world can scare us, but having the very people you love turn on you is just terrifying, finding that wherever you go someone will try to kill you.
I was utterly hooked by this book and I can't wait for the next installment, this one doesn't explain everything and sets up a lot more questions and I just have to know what happens. I can see now why people like to be scared, my heart was racing, my blood pumping but I could not stop. Just genius.
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on 6 April 2013
I bought this as it was recommended by Amazon for readers of the 'Gone' series by Michael Grant. It was a gripping read from the beginning and the main characters were worth rooting for. It's the kind of story that makes you think 'what if....' and I can't wait for the second book in the series. Although this would be considered a teen read it's a good one for adults too (and quite gory in parts). I plan to read all the other books written by the author and that is one of the best recommendations you can give a book.
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on 3 May 2015
This is intended as a YA urban fantasy but its easily accessible to an adult audience. AGS has completely blown the competition out of the water with this. He seems to have the ability to tap into our most primal fears and anxieties and make them real. In this case the fear of being completely cast out, ostracised, hated, alone. What if one day with no recognizable warning everyone around you turned as one and looked at you as though you didn't belong. People you know, family, complete strangers all of them suddenly turn on you and try to tear you apart. Suddenly the world is full of enemies.
This is a brilliant concept and so well executed. I was genuinely creeped out by certain scenes and AGS certainly pulls no punches with the gore factor. This is interspersed with genuinely heart warming moments that are realistic, funny and unaffected. My main disappointment was that I got to the end of the book and found out it was part one of a duo. I now have to wait for part two! Bravo Mr Smith!
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on 6 April 2013
I liked this book because it was a very well thought out story line and had an intriguing thrill to it. I thought that it was a little bit scary but not too bad. I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 10 because it is a awesome story but people under the age of 10 might find it a little too frightening.
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on 5 October 2012
Such a good book not at one point did I want to put it down. A great mystery action thriller Cannot wait for The Storm (sequel)a rare amazing book I recommend this book to anyone who loves actions, thrillers, mystery's, character themed books amazing for teens expecially.
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on 26 April 2013
Cal, Daisy and Brick slowly awaken to a frightening new world. At first they are ignored by their peer group, then ostracised... and then the Fury breaks and their friends and family attempt to rend them limb from limb. This is a wonderful premise, tapping into all teenagers fear of not fitting in, and combining it with what at first seems to be a zombie story, which then flips into something more.
This is a writer with serious verve and confidence - taking his cue from Romero, the biggest danger doesn't necessarily lie with the hordes outside the group, but instead within the group itself as new members join, and past traumas and decisions come to light. As well as Romero, this also reminded me of Cell from Stephen King, but it rises above any accusations of being derivative with a really fresh take.
I would say however that the early chapters are a little repetitive, effectively telling the same story from 3 different angles, so I did find myself skimming through that quickly. There is some effort to flesh out the main characters, but I felt we could certainly do with finding out more about Rilke, who gets little backstory in comparison to Brick, who gets heaps. There are strange author decisions; Rilke doesn't get introduced until more than halfway through, whilst an adult police character is introduced early, but taken nowhere (that's a bad pun that you'll understand once you've read the book).
Overall, this is fresh, exciting, and (ahem) fast & furious. I absolutely enjoyed it, can't wait for the next part, and will most likely check out Gordon Smith's other work whilst waiting for The Storm
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on 3 November 2013
I rarely give five stars to a novel but this book earned every one of its stars. It has a truly original plot, wonderful characters, suspense, and an underlying sense of menace that grips the imagination. It may be aimed at the YA market but I would recommend it to readers of any age. The writing is crisp and descriptive without allowing background or context to overshadow the pace, which moves along quickly as the story unfolds. Much is unknown to the characters themselves and to the reader, but that just makes the story all that more intriguing. Realisation is slow, painful and scary for the characters but there is an underlying sense of hope even in the darkest passages. A truly wonderful book.
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on 31 March 2015
If you're 15 and have the imagination of a paralysed goldfish this is the book for you. Whilst the actual story line is a possibly brilliant one, this story (and the next book) appear to have been written by a GCSE student told to use the same similes and metaphors at every possible turn. I can't stand not finishing books and the ending to this series was not a good one at all. It could have been one of the first series I've ever given up on.
Wouldn't recommend unless you're a young teen looking for a mild read and enjoy the simile kings writing style. Meh.
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