The Furies: A Thriller by Mark Alpert

For centuries, the Furies have lived among us. Long ago they were called witches and massacred by17934444 the thousands. But they’re human just like us, except for a rare genetic mutation that they’ve hidden from the rest of the world for hundreds of years.

Now, a chance encounter with a beautiful woman named Ariel has led John Rogers into the middle of a secret war among the Furies. Ariel needs John’s help in the battle between a rebellious faction of the clan and their elders. The grand prize in this war is a chance to remake the human race.

Mark Alpert’s The Furies weaves cutting-edge science into an ingenious thriller, showing how a simple genetic twist could have inspired tales of witchcraft and sorcery, and how the paranormal could indeed be possible. – Goodreads.com

I read Mark Alpert’s Final Theory a few years back and enjoyed it, so when I saw this book on NetGalley, I was excited to try something else by him.  When I saw genetic twist, thriller, and witchcraft in the description, I was a goner.

Rarely have I been thrown so many curveballs in the first 80 or so pages of a book – things I really didn’t see coming, my mouth hanging open in surprise.  These twists made me want to keep reading.  The action began on the first page, with hardly any down time between sequences, and I thought using a genetic mutation to explain witchcraft was very thought-provoking.

Initially, I empathized with John Rogers and his tragic past and many imperfections that made for a good protagonist; however, as the story went on, I began to lose respect for him when he did as he was told, without question for the most part, and seemed to accept his role as a second-class citizen.  I really didn’t connect with Ariel either.  Although a strong female protagonist, I just didn’t feel anything for her and the relationship between her and John seemed rushed and superficial.

Despite my character disconnect, I enjoyed the first 80% of the book – the writing was tight and the pacing was great.  Then the story just seemed to veer off and lose focus.  Around the 80% mark, I began to wonder if there would be a sequel because things didn’t seem to be wrapping up, but I’m glad that wasn’t the case and this is a standalone novel.

If you enjoy a more action than character-driven thriller with a touch of science and paranormal, I’d recommend The Furies – it absolutely didn’t disappoint in that department.  If you’re looking for a character-driven story with an abundance of witchcraft, this isn’t your book.  The Furies: A Thriller is scheduled for publication April 22, 2014.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.

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