Cal, Brick and Daisy are three ordinary teenagers with one terrifying thing in common: today, without warning, the world will turn against them.
Every person they meet will become a bloodthirsty, mindless savage, hell-bent on killing them. And they do not know why.
With the Furnace series watching me accusingly from the To Be Read shelf(ves) and my ears ringing from all the good things I’d heard about the series, when The Fury dropped through the letterbox I pounced on it and claimed it for myself before Liz could.
As I say, I had heard lots of good things about the Furnace series, but made a point of clearing my mind before eventually sitting down and cracking the Fury open. What I discovered was that whatever I might have heard, it didn’t prepare me for the frenetic energy and sheer mad genius that Mr Smith would be squeezing into those 535 pages.
Reading chapter one was the literary equivalent of discovering that the wrinkly apple you just ate was actually a habanero chilli. Whatever I was expecting the Fury to be was turned upside down and inside out. I’d normally expect to say something along the lines of “the story starts off quite normally...” but I can’t here. Smith starts with a bang, setting the tone for the rest of the story – having had a taste of the madness in store, it feeds a sinister tension into the background of all the seemingly normal day to day stuff that the three main characters are going through. I knew that the proverbial excrement was hurtling towards the fan, but what I didn’t appreciate was Smith’s capacity for ramping everything up that extra, unexpected notch. It kept things unpredictable – just when I thought I handle on what was really going on, I’d turned the page and be faced with another WTF! moment, but in the best possible way. It kept me turning the pages, the “just another few pages” syndrome that usually sees me suddenly realising it’s 2 a.m or that I've missed my station.
The three main characters each have distinct personalities, and as they try and survive long enough to try make sense of what is happening to them and why, Smith goes to town seeding the story with a palpable sense of impending doom and apocalyptic overtones. He’s not afraid to push the boundaries, and does so with both glee and a deft hand. Outstanding stuff.