Friday, 23 September 2016

The Fury by L.J. Smith (The Vampire Diaries, #3) - Book Review

4/5 Stars

Love can kill...

Edition: Paperback
Pages: 218
Chapters: 16
Publisher: Hodder

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


The Fury is miles ahead of its predecessors. With the first and second entries to the series, The Awakening and The Struggle, the focus is predominantly on romance, with a hint of the supernatural thrown in for good measure. Well, The Fury decides to up the stakes dramatically, giving me what I've been asking for since the beginning: A big, brazen plot with an actual big bad to face down.

And while of course the gooey, addictive love triangle still weaves its way throughout, it's better balanced with a supernatural plot that rivets and thrills. The mystery and madness is a nice counterpart to the who-will-she-choose dynamic we have between Elena, Stefan and Damon.

Not to mention the phenomenal progressions of the people populating this instalment. The developments are on point and purposeful, being both simple and nuanced at the same time.

Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)

Elena wakes after her crash into the river, but she is forever changed.
Her old life is gone; her new one far from safe.
As Elena and her friends piece together frightening facts, they realise something bigger and badder than anything they've faced is moving in for the kill.
Only united will they win.
Too bad Elena's new vampire status has fractured her friendships in unimaginable ways.
Can she knit her family back together in time to face terror head on, or will the great evil swallow them all whole...?

Plot - 4/5 Stars

If you're like me, and you've been waiting for the series to focus in on something epic, then wait no longer, my friends. The Fury works its butt off to create a bold battle by pulling subtle events from the first two books and tying them in with some fantastic plot progression in this entry. It's simple, sure; there's an enemy in town looking to kill everyone, but, hey, the foreshadowing and structure are both brilliant in their execution.

Drastic events here and there threaten the town and build to a big reveal. Sadly, the reveal doesn't hit me as hard as it should, mainly because I've seen the show and had a pretty good idea what was coming.

Once the mystery is solved, an intense finale ends with a polarising twist. On the one hand, it's a surprise that enforces excellent character arcs, and on the other, it seems an odd choice for the story considering we're only three books in.

But we'll see how the next instalment handles it.

Pace - 4/5 Stars

The Fury, thanks to a sharper story, is fast-paced. Its flow is a little jagged in places as the series incorporates its new balance, but, overall, it's a welcome change.

Characters - 4.5/5 Stars

Character development in this entry is insane, and I mean that as a compliment. Almost every single individual gets genuine attention; impressive for a book that's only 218 pages and in the middle of telling its biggest plot so far. Each cast member changes, whether it be small or large. They grow, shift, change with the dynamics of the supernatural world they've been plunged into. Coupled with the thrilling tale, The Fury doesn't waste time on fluff and goes for gold.

Our protagonist Elena is likely the one who faces the biggest change. And I'm not even talking about the fact she's a vampire, even though that contributes immensely. Elena, from the start, has always had an air of superiority to the people around her. Compassion and kindness have been at her core, but her life, up until her parents died and the introduction of Stefan, has been fairly easy for her. Now that she's struggled, that she's had to fight for her own survival, her core instincts have taken more of a footing. Her need to help those in pain overrides her own selfish desires, and it's a lovely line of plot.

It's not like your usual heroic development. Sure, she has vampire strength and speed, but the author keeps things realistic; Elena is new to her powers, she has no training, and while her new instincts offer her a hunter's perspective, her old reactions are still common. But her development speaks to a different kind of heroism, one that relies on heart rather than brute force.

And yes, romance lovers out there, the love triangle is still there. It's flirty and fun; I mean, it has guilty pleasure written all over it. But it's also frustrating in this entry. This novel's predecessor gives it a little more subtlety, and in The Fury it's very much in your face and plainly portrayed.

Writing - 4/5 Stars

The Fury is a simple, quick read. It can be lyrical, but also straightforward, and both are balanced well, used in contained doses. Scenes are set quickly and described fine, while emotions are given more intricacy. 

I suppose the weakest element for me is the dialogue. It's not terrible, and is often smooth, but if I have to hear a character say, 'oh, (insert individual's name here)' with pity, or sorrow, or a swoon one more time, I might just poke my eyeballs out. Levity is also a mixed back; a joke can strike right at your funny bone or have you cringing.

Overall - 4/5 Stars

A sharp, focused supernatural romance novel that embodies a lot of the qualities that the TV adaptation does. If you love the previous entries, you're going to be wowed; and if you don't, stick with it, you won't be disappointed.

Previous Instalment: The Struggle
Next Instalment: The Reunion

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