Review: “The Fury” by Alexander Gordon Smith

For one of my education courses we were required to pick a young adult novel and plan a lesson around it. There were no limitations, so I was free to choose whatever I wanted, so when I noticed a thick hardback book on my advisor’s shelf of young adult books months before the assignment was given, I was curious as to if I’d ever get around to asking her if I could borrow it. With the assignment, I was finally given the chance, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The novel follows a group of teens (plus one younger girl) in the UK as their world falls apart…and I mean that literally in some instances. Their friends and loved ones are trying to kill them, and they don’t understand why. When I mention “kill,” I don’t mean they’ve turned into mindless zombies. Rather, anyone these individuals come into contact with instantly lose their humanity and become monsters hellbent on destroying the characters. The interesting note is that, assuming people succeed in killing one of the individuals, they return to normal as if nothing ever happened. Through a tale that invokes pity, anger, and a few laughs from time to time when the world isn’t trying to kill the protagonists, Smith’s thriller story of supernatural and fantasy horror combines characters of innocence with a dark setting that only explodes into something more than the reader expects as the plot expands from beginning to end.

 

The Good: The Fury has a nice opening that has you questioning just what the hell is going on immediately, and it’s a hook that kept me reading. The characters are easy for teens to relate to, and their reactions understandable considering the events that transpire. I’m a huge fan of books that follow a story from multiple perspectives, and this one was a job well done.

 

The Bad: I only wish more details were given about a particular character, whom I can’t really go into detail about myself since it would involve spoilers. Let’s just say that te story becomes so much more than a tale of teens trying to survive an apocalypse meant for them, and some of it can really have you wanting more of an explanation as to why events are happening.

 

Short things to love:

-Excessive violence (if you like that)

-Characters you’ll come to love.

-Awkward situations.

-Noble acts of heroism that you’ll probably feel depressed over for a few days following.

-Screwing over Newton’s Laws of Physics.

Short things to hate:

-Characters you’ll come to hate.

-Black holes.

-Emotions.

-More emotions.

-The feels.

The book was not what I expected, and that’s because I honestly judged it by the cover (the image had me thinking something else entirely). Of course, that’s not to say it’s bad. In fact, I enjoyed it. It took a few days to get over the ending, but I liked it nonetheless. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys dark fantasy with plot twists you’d never actually guess at.

Advertisements

Review: “Monster Hunter International”

I’ve never done a book review to post for all to see before, but I figured doing one for a book that I thoroughly enjoyed is worth it. That’s why today I wanted to actually post a review for Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia.

While I was in high school, I actually fell out of reading for a while. I blame the forced reading of “great classics” that didn’t live up to my expectations, but overall I had developed a disinterest that was beginning to take its toll. My older brother started mentioning a book he was reading that he had emailed excerpts to me about. All I knew was that the author had been self-published at the time, and that the material seemed interesting enough. When I thought “Monster Hunter,” I thought of a video game, but when he let me borrow it to read, I was back into books. The story follows Owen Zastava Pitt after he quits his job in the most formal manner possible, but I’ll leave that for the reader to decide. He is recruited by Monster Hunter International, an organization that hunts monsters and gets paid for it. It’s a nice gig, until all of the weird things start to happen. What’s stranger than monsters existing in the world? My retort would be read Lovecraft’s works sometime. I won’t get into too much detail for risk of spoiling anything, but let’s just say that Owen’s life gets a bit more complicated than just completing contracts to kill monsters that are terrorizing civilians and businesses.

The Good: Monster Hunter International has a very diverse and lovable cast of characters, from human, to lycanthrope, to other otherworldly beings. The very first chapter itself tosses you right into the action, and if there’s ever a break throughout the story for the characters to stop and breathe, you can bet it’s still serving a purpose towards the main plot. The character development is strong, and the plot is always thickening, even at the end. I don’t think there were many times where I found myself wanting to hurry to the next chapter or for the dialogue to be over.

The Bad: It’s hard for me to pick out anything bad, but if I had to say, I’d pick the cliché parts of the protagonist, such as the ‘having to overcome the odds no matter what’ gig, but I still prefer him over most main characters from other stories.

Short things to love:

-Well-executed action.

-Earl Harbinger.

-Agent Franks, and the fun he brings.

-Milo Anderson. Just Milo Anderson. Seriously, find a page where he’s not making you laugh or worry.

-Wondering what the PUFF bounty on some of your favorite fictional monsters would be.

-Vampires that don’t sparkle.

Short things to hate:

-MCB (Until…you know what? No spoilers).

-Vampires.

-More vampires.

-Stone automatons.

-Great Old Ones.

-Shady conquistadors.

In the end, it’s not often (if at all) I give books a second read, but this one earned it as I picked it up once again a few months back just as the new installment in the series was close to publication. I highly recommend Monster Hunter International to anyone who enjoys a great read with a balanced focus on characters and plot, along with an action movie style.