Don't think about wars or anything typical like that, and you could call House of furies a historical fiction novel. It takes place in the 19th century with Louisa Ditton, a street-rat fortuneteller who's good at reading bodies, fixtures and expressions to buy some anemic junk to fill her stomach. What she wouldn't give for some meat pies. What she wouldn't give to be able to have enough money to run away to America or Ireland.Then a strange lady named Mrs. Thymes asks her if she's unemployed and takes her to Coldthistle House as a maid. Picture one of those giant family-run houses rebuilt to a hotel with the inconveniences of the 1810's times about ten, and this is the place. Louisa is relieved at first: she's getting pay, a proper bed, and the workers are about her age. But some of the inhabitants are questionable, like those that roam the hallways and come after her when she dares to try and steal some things for an extra buck, and then the "cold" in Coldthistle House ends up lot more frosty than she could've ever signed up for.
The Asylum series was in third-person, and this book is in first-person. That surprised me, because even though I don't usually care, and sometimes don't even memorize how the story is told, I didn't expect Roux to do that after finishing an entire series in the inverse view. Also, the writing in here is very different. The Asylum series had a high-school haunted-house-on-steroids feel to it. House of Furies has a full-on old-book fantasy feel to it, but thanks to Roux's talent in adapting, while retaining the creep and tension feel, I adapted myself. In fact, the vocabulary in this book is very A-grade. Not only are there some words that I'm going to look up for my book The Blacktop Brothers 5 in here, but the sentences are bleeding with art.
House of Furies also has a collection of monster stories that are hard to pass up thanks to the I-don't-know-how-they-did-that spiritual drawings. There's a lot in here that kind of begs to be read more than once. Something I also enjoyed are the workers of this house. Like Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculair Children, every secondary character is memorable and will have you remember them well after a few chapters. I enjoyed Mary and Chijioke, but my favourite character was Lee, who's simply trying to search for his grandfather, NOT trying to get laid. Look, minor spoilers, but Louisa begins to have feelings for Lee, but like Dan and Abby from Asylum, they don't go anywhere over best friends and they remain a team without spoiling it with a dose of sex. I really love Madeleine Roux does that. It builds up friendship before romance, which is something YA sometimes neglects.
House of Furies is also refreshingly original. I was simultaneously reading an unoriginal YA, and the switch was like a water to a lemonade. I can stand by that opinion primarily because of the fast-paced finale, where something happens to a character and a choice is made around it that caused my head to heat up. I couldn't believe what I was reading. Madeleine Roux has proven she's evil twice! The first time was during Asylum when everything was so against Dan, so out of control, so nasty, so horrifying that I wanted to scream and keep reading until it was over. This time she's broken my heart.
Look, there are a few times where the stories in italics feel they interrupt the story. And I didn't enjoy this as much as Asylum. Still, House of Furies is one of the most well written books of the year.