I bought House of Furies in Summer 2019, presumably with an intent to read it that October. I say ‘presumably,’ as I actually have no recollection of buying this at all. I stumbled across it last week, however, and if I’d realised what House of Furies was actually about, I’d have read it an awful lot sooner.
Plot Summary for House of Furies:
After escaping a harsh school where punishment was the lesson of the day, seventeen-year-old Louisa Ditton is thrilled to find employment as a maid at a boarding house. But soon after her arrival at Coldthistle House, Louisa begins to realize that the house’s mysterious owner, Mr. Morningside, is providing much more than lodging for his guests. Far from a place of rest, the house is a place of judgment, and Mr. Morningside and his unusual staff are meant to execute their own justice on those who are past being saved.
Louisa begins to fear for a young man named Lee who is not like the other guests. He is charismatic and kind, and Louisa knows that it may be up to her to save him from an untimely judgment. But in this house of distortions and lies, how can Louisa be sure whom to trust?
Star Rating for House of Furies: * * * * (four stars)
I loved this premise. A down-on-her-luck orphan finds herself working at a boarding house where all the servants have supernatural gifts, which they use to bring justice (in the form of an untimely end) to their disreputable clientele. I am so here for this, and I really wish I’d picked up House of Furies sooner.
The plot delivers everything it promised. I loved the whole concept of Coldthistle House luring in unsuspecting evil-doers, and how every staff member worked together to achieve their aims. The over-arching plot is Louisa’s discovery of this, and her protestations that surely, surely the nice young boy visiting with his Uncle is innocent?
The book is interspersed with extracts from a sort of guide-book to occult creatures, and you quickly realise that all these passages are relevant to people within the house. I loved how the book doesn’t make this immediately obvious to the reader, but it works really well.
It’s dark, actually. It’s technically a horror novel and there is some gore, although it’s not horrific. There’s one scene where we view the aftermath of a violent murder (corpse included), but it’s not graphic and you don’t see it happen. For me, it was just the right level. It was spooky enough to enjoy reading, but the creepy vibes didn’t persist after I had closed the book. House of Furies didn’t lose me any sleep, essentially.
My name is Louisa Rose Ditton. I work and live at Coldthistle House, a house for boarders and wanderers. A house owned by the Devil.
The usual reaction, and my own once upon a time, is to give a gasp of outrage if you are one of the moral persuasion, a guffaw of skepticism if you’re of another. But I assure you—promise you—that it is so. The Devil owns this house and all of his who live and work within it. The walls are his, and the gardens. The food we eat for sustenance and the sweets we have for pleasure—everything belongs to him, and he gives it to us at his leisure.
The blurb sort-of implies that there’s going to be a romantic sub-plot, which I was dubious about. In my opinion, the last thing a YA horror story needs is a cloying romance. However, it’s done with such a light touch here that I felt it actually added to the story; it explains why Louisa felt so strongly about trying to prove Lee’s innocence.
My only criticism would be Louisa herself. She seems so immature that I kept forgetting she was meant to be 17 years old. She’s very sulky and is intent on leaving Coldthistle House, despite fitting in for the first time in her life, and having a warm fed, hot food, and a family that cares about her. It was never really explained why she was so desperate to leave, and it did frustrate me.
When I finished House of Furies, I was actually disappointed that I now had to leave this world. I loved the concept of Coldthistle House, and the characters, and I needed to know what happened next. The ending to this book was honestly perfect – it was quite dark, but with a sliver of hope, and I loved it. But still, I needed more! Imagine my delight to discover this is now a trilogy! I’ve ordered the next book already, of course.
Obviously I really enjoyed this book, and I would highly recommend it for anyone wanting a unique, creepy (but not too scary) Halloween read.
Read That’s What She Read’s review of House of Furies here, or find the author on Twitter.