Published by Harper Teen on September 13th, 2011
Genres: young adult, historical, paranormal
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Eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, troubled family she serves. It’s 1912, and Tess has been trapped in the employ of the Lisles for years, amid painful memories and twisted secrets. But now the Lisle family is headed to America, with Tess in tow. Once the ship they’re sailing on—the RMS Titanic—reaches its destination, Tess plans to strike out and create a new lifefor herself.
Her single-minded focus shatters when she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets of his own. He’s in a hurry to leave Europe, and whispers aboard the ship say it’s because of the tragic end of his last affair with the French actress who died so gruesomely and so mysteriously. . . .
Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves exist and are stalking him—and now her, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.
In Fateful, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray delivers paranormal adventure, dark suspense, and alluring romance set against the opulent backdrop of the Titanic’s first—and last—voyage.
Disappointing. If there’s one word I can use to describe Fateful by Claudia Gray, it’s that. I have high expectations when it comes to books about the Titanic. And though I have read a couple other books by this author and didn’t finish them, I thought this one might be different since it’s such a departure from her other works. Well, I finished it. I didn’t hate it. There were parts of it that I enjoyed, but for the most part, I thought it was very average.
The romance is corny and the chemistry is seriously lacking. This is the Titanic. This is a voyage of only four days and then the ship sinks. It’s a short time to write two people falling in love–instalove no less–and convince me that it works. It takes great skill to do this, because most readers don’t seem to like instalove. I don’t mind it if you can convince me that the timeline is normal, that this could really happen, that these people are really THAT into each other that they would sacrifice themselves to get their loved one on a lifeboat before the ship goes down. And it just didn’t work. There just wasn’t enough relationship building. One minute they were meeting, the next he was telling her he loved her and protecting her from one of the most cartoonish villains I’ve encountered in a long time.
The Titanic stuff was great, but there wasn’t enough of it. I was mainly reading this because I love anything Titanic related–books, movies, games. I thought the sense of place was fairly good, but I was looking for more atmosphere. This is the most storied ship in history, and I just felt there was a lot of telling going on. I appreciated the scenes taking place in the squash court, the Turkish baths, the gymnasium, but there was nothing set in the Cafe Parisien, and that was just a missed opportunity. To me, you can’t write a book about the Titanic without it.
And then we get to the sinking itself. TOTALLY RUSHED. It did not happen until 81% into the book, and the author makes it seem like the ship only took 15 minutes to sink, when in reality, it took hours. I actually feel like it lacked tension because it was so rushed. And when you work in the paranormal stuff, the ending became predictable and kind of a cop-out in my opinion. View Spoiler » Let the dead stay dead. I was unaware that werewolves were immortal? If the love interest is going to die, let him die. The Titanic was a tragedy, and Alec coming back to life at the end sort of trivialized the real losses. Or at least it felt like that to me. « Hide Spoiler
I hesitate to give any book about Titanic lower then three stars, and it’s not like it was bad. Some of the side characters were great. Miriam, Mr. Marlowe, George. And it was readable enough. I’m rating differently this year. If I was able to finish the book and it entertained me enough, I’m rating three stars, regardless of what it was lacking in technical skill.
Fateful was about average for me. I’ve heard Distant Waves is better, so I’ll try that sometime soonish.