Killing Me Slowly

A leopardess who learned how to dance. And read.
Fury - Elizabeth  Miles As I was reading Fury, there were two things I thought I would have been better off knowing before I cracked it open. One) it is one of those rare books whose reading experience benefits from the knowledge you gain from the flap summary, and two) it's basically a horror movie running around in a very pretty paranormal romance costume.

This isn't about some half-fury girl saving the world with her handsome, mysterious boyfriend; this is a very long, drawn-out episode of Jigoku Shoujo.

Jigoku Shoujo, by the way, is the story of a young girl who exacts revenge on bad people at the request of their victims. She kills them and sends their souls to Hell, and in return, the victim's soul is also condemned to Hell at the end of their natural life. And I promise, my telling you this will become relevant.

Warning: many unmakred Fury spoilers ahead.

The premises of Fury and Jigoko Shoujo are similar, but I had no idea of that going into this, and the first forty pages or so suffered for it. There's a lot of build-up before the concept becomes apparent, and it can be very, very tedious if you don't at least have an idea of where it's going. Hence the need for the flap summary; if I'd read that first, it wouldn't have taken me so long to figure out that I wasn't expected to condone or overlook what Emily and Chase were doing, and I wouldn't have done so much mental bitching. Once I figured out that Miles was going all Hell Girl on their asses, the reading experience got a lot better.

Now, Fury and Shoujo are not exactly the same, but one reminded me of the other enough to influence my reading expectations, and the similarities allow me to better illustrate a big problem I had with Fury. Aside from the obvious setting and cultural details, the two major differences between Fury and Shoujo are these: 1) the "bad guys" aren't sent to Hell (obviously) - they're just humiliated and killed, and 2) the Furies don't act at the behest of the victims - instead, they are the ones to decide which transgressions are worthy of punishment.

That second difference there is where we run into trouble. And by trouble, I mean plot holes. The biggest one being: why do the Furies choose the people they choose for punishment? Neither "protagonists'" (and I use that term loosely) crime was especially heinous - our female character, Emily, pursues her best friend's boyfriend, and our male, Chase, publicly humiliated a fellow student, which may have been a factor in her suicide attempt.

Yeah, those are pretty fucking shitty things to do to people, but should they be death sentences? Uh, no. Not even close. And therein lies the problem - why the Hell did the Furies decide to pick on these two? What, were there so few rapists and murderers and women-beaters in Ascension that they had to start monitoring the local high school drama?

Which raises another question - why are there Furies in Ascension? We're presumably talking about the Greek Furies, right, so why have they migrated and holed up in Tit-Cold, Maine to punish the local yokels...

Read more at You're Killing.Us.

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