Fury, by Rachel Vincent (Harlequin)
This is yet another book I’ve innocently dived into, unaware it was part of a series. “Series” can mean a number of things, from stand-alone complete-in-themselves novels set in the same universe to one long story that extends over several volumes. Recently I listened to an interview with Peter Jackson in which he discussed the decision to not put a recap at the beginning of The Two Towers, the second part of The Lord of the Rings. He felt that one year between film was a short enough time for viewers (those few not intimately familiar with the books) to remember and anyone who went to see it without having seen or read The Fellowship of the Ring, oh well… I admit to not being as careful as I might about checking to see if a book is a sequel, so I rely on the skill of the author to furnish necessary backstory without inundating me with it, and to draw me into the story so that even if I have to work a little harder to figure out what has gone before, I’m already hooked.
Rachel Vincent’s Fury definitely falls into this category. For the first couple of chapters I vacillated between “this is a sequel and I can’t keep straight who and what all these characters are” to “this is a stand-alone that brilliantly weaves the backstory into the present, trusting the reader to gradually put it all together.”
The book begins with parallel stories from the past and present. In the past, we learn of a mysterious rash of murders that leave one child survivor, always a six-year-old. In the present, a small band of cryptids (werewolves, redcaps, oracles, a minotaur, and the like), having escaped a brutal captivity, struggle to maintain their freedom while tracking down their abusers. Their journeys kept me reading on, dying of curiosity about how the two story lines would come together, and I was quickly so in love with these characters that discovering there were not one but two previous novels filled me not with disappointment but anticipation. There’s lots more, even if I read them in the wrong order. You, on the other hand, can reap the benefit of my experience and start at the beginning.
In some ways, this book made me think of the flip side of Seanan McGuire’s “Incryptid” series, which I like very much and have reviewed elsewhere. In McGuire’s world, as Vincent’s, these nonhuman people are at tremendous risk from the mundane world, only there is an extended family devoted to their protection and preservation. While it’s a terrible shame such heroes do not exist in the world of Fury, here the cryptids are their own saviors, which makes for a different but no less satisfying tale.
The usual disclaimer: I received an advance reading copy of this book, but no one bribed me to say anything in particular about it.