By: Claudia Gray
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Genre/Age: YA Historical Paranormal
Source: ARC from Around the World ARC Tours
In Fateful, eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, overbearing family she works for. Once the ship they’re sailing on reaches the United States, she’ll strike out on her own. Then she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets…
Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves are real and they’re stalking him – and now Tess, 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.
Featuring the opulent backdrop of the Titanic, Fateful’s publication is poised to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the ship’s doomed maiden voyage. It is sure to be a hit among Titanic buffs and fans of paranormal romance alike.
Werewolves on the Titanic? Sounds potentially cheesy, right? I thought so too, but was intrigued enough to check it out anyway. And I’m really glad I did, because the cheese factor is actually pretty low, and Fateful manages to blend the paranormal werewolf story with the historical Titanic story quite well.
The Titanic is a beautiful setting, and Claudia Gray does a wonderful job painting a picture for the reader. Both the ship itself and the details of the time period are richly imagined, and everything played out like a movie in my head (although I will admit that this probably also had to do with the fact that I was often wondering what Jack and Rose were up to… :P). At the same time, the Titanic doesn’t overwhelm the story, and I sometimes forgot that they weren’t just on some other ship. Then I’d have flashes where I’d remember and think, ‘Oh crap, this ship is going to sink soon and all these people are probably going to die.”
Our narrator, Tess, is a strong character, if a little naïve. She’s been a servant her whole life, so it’s understandable that she’s somewhat ignorant about the world, and she manages to be brave enough to make up for most of the annoyance I would have felt. The romance was a bit too insta-love for my taste, but Tess and Alec definitely had some sweet moments and I couldn’t help but root for the two of them. Even more than their story though, I loved the supporting characters, Irene in particular. Her relationship with Tess is wonderful; you can really see the friendship and affection between them.
Gray’s description of Titanic’s demise is heart-wrenching, and you can almost hear the screams and splashes as the ship goes down. Any story written about the Titanic is inevitably going to be tragic, and Gray captures that feeling perfectly. The ending of the novel is fairly predictable, but it left me feeling content and satisfied with how things were resolved. Overall, while Fateful wasn’t mind-blowing, it’s definitely a fun and enjoyable read that puts a unique paranormal spin on a classic story.