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Envy by Elizabeth Miles

  • Date published: September 2012
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster AU
  • Format: Paperback, 320 pages
  • Series: The Fury Trilogy, Book 2
  • ISBN 13: 9780857072047 ISBN 10:  0857072048
  • Categories: YA – Other Paranormal
  • Goodreads / The Book DepositoryBooktopia (AU) / Bookworld
  • Source: provided by the publisher for review

The Furies are back, and Emily Winters is about to discover that their roots in Ascension are deeper than she ever imagined. With the help of her new friend Drea, she vows to take them down. But it’s hard to focus when she’s desperate to make up with JD, and to figure out why Crow, a mysterious Ascension High dropout, seems to be shadowing her.

Meanwhile, new girl Skylar McVoy is determined to leave her own dark past behind. So she’s thrilled when not only does popular Gabby takes her under her wing, but the stunning and sophisticated Meg offers to give her a major makeover. But everyone knows what happens to the vainest girl of all…

It’s tempting to be naughty. But beware: the Furies are always watching, and their power grows stronger by the day.

Miles’ haphazard writing is back for another instalment, but whereas Fury had a few great characters, there’s not much about this book I liked. Envy is told in dual perspective – Em, our simpering, shallow protagonist from the last book is back and tells the story with Skylar, the new girl at school laden with secrets. Still lacking in execution and solid grounding in mythology, Envy seems to take everything I disliked about Fury and run with it.

I had thought – hoped – that the events at the end of Fury would have instilled some maturity in Emily, but I was saddened to see that her new-found selflessness lasted a handful of chapters. She is quickly confused by her feelings for two utterly unremarkable boys: her random but strong feelings for JD disappear almost instantaneously and she’s flirting with Crow, a minor character from Fury. The new protagonist, Skylar, continued the trend of being morally ambiguous but only held my attention for a few chapters. She is at best a very confusing character, and at worst a prime example of the type of character authors should avoid at all costs: someone so repulsive and flawed that it’s difficult for readers to harbour even a modicum of empathy. I really liked Chase, the other protagonist of Fury, and I had hoped his death would play a larger role in the series arc (after all, why kill off a narrating character if his death is meaningless?). Not only are Chase and Zack reduced to objects of whispered gossip at the school in Envy, the fates of both boys are largely ignored, by both the Furies and Emily.

Many of the relationships between the character in Envy are destructive, which only served to further detach me from the characters. Emily apparently hasn’t learnt the lesson of taking her friends for granted. She treats both Gabbie, her long time best friend and Drea, her Fury-hunting companion, very badly and ignores them until she needs something from them. Skylar sneers at the friendship Em and Gabbie share, which is hypocritical because she, herself, is only friends with Gabbie for the popularity it brings her.

The romance in the book doesn’t fare much better. While Emily’s attraction to JD might be explained through his steady presence in her life since childhood, she isn’t attracted at all to Crow until he takes his short off in front of her, at which point she practically jumps him. Skylar is instantly attracted to Pierce and weirdly jealous of any female interaction he has, even stalking him at one point. The one romantic scene in the book lacks the driving forces of emotion and passion and probably shouldn’t have been included at all.

One of my main concerns about Fury was the lack of explanation given for the presence of the Furies in a small town. This is dealt with in Envy, and is just about the only thing I liked about the book. Although the story offered by Miles is shaky in terms of its relationship to the original Greek mythology, I liked it and thought it clever. The Furies themselves, however, again perplexed me to the point of frustration. Although Skylar is a flawed character from the beginning, Meg encourages her to behave in a certain way and helps to justify it, and then punishes her. Miles’ Furies don’t make any sense at all and I found it harder and harder to keep reading the book as one nonsensical event followed another.

Envy is a disappointing addition to the Furies series, and I think it’s safe to say the series premise fails to live up to its potential. Although the books are quick and easy reads, I don’t think they are very enjoyable and leave a lot to be desired in terms of plotting and character development. If you pick up this series, I hope you enjoy it a lot more than I did!

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