Friday, September 16, 2011

Book Review: Fateful by Claudia Gray

Release Date: September 13, 2011
Published by: Harper Teen

Fateful by Claudia Gray

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.

Ten Likes/Dislikes:

1. (+) Tess, the protagonist - Practical, smart, fiery, determined, strong.  A great perspective to read.  I LOVED that she was a servant--not that I enjoyed seeing her be treated badly or anything but just how often do you read a story from that kind of perspective?  Historical romance & history itself are often written from the perspective of the victor, the rich, etc. etc.  It was incredibly refreshing to have that other take on the story and one that was so heart-breaking.  You'll really empathize with Tess.  Plus, her reactions were always realistic, which is a nice touch for a paranormal world.
2. (+) World-building - More than just one world to build -- Gray had to establish both the paranormal world and the historical world, and on both counts, she succeeded.  I never once doubted that Tess was on the Titanic; Gray adds a lot of details that make the ship seem like an authentic setting.  I also enjoyed her werewolf world.  I want to know more about the Brotherhood--how did wolves become this way?  I think there was a mention of it but I want more and I want to know how such... misogynistic opinions came to exist.
3. (+) Relationships - Every relationship felt complex and well-developed .... LOVED MYRIAM.  Ahem, and that's not just 'cause she's Lebanese ;p.  It's mostly because the friendship between Tess and Myriam became authentic after only a few days... In general, I loved how Gray used all the pasts between the characters to form these dynamic situations layered with such incredible tension.
4. (+) The Villains - Just as in her Evernight series, Gray has created two sets of villains.. a couple close to Tess and one newly met.  One set was incredibly realistic - there are some people who are that nasty and elitist - and the other set?  Well, that's just the paranormal.  Regardless, though, both posed a great threat to Tess that made me believe in the danger inherent to every moment she was on and off board the ship.
5. (+) The Romance - Because even though it was intense and had some elements of paranormal romance that I don't like--i.e. references to their obvious connection--it still had me sold.  I love their deep-seated belief in each other and the way they admired each other's strengths and weaknesses.  More importantly, I understood why they ended up together, why they were attracted to each other to begin with.  Gray is a master at spinning romance.
6. (+) Accuracy - I mentioned this in both the protag. and world-building sections, but really it deserves its own section.  The details of servitude and Tess's relationship with her employers, with the other passengers, even what happened when the RMS Titanic crashed--everything was vivid and done so well that I feel like Claudia Gray deserves extra props for her research.
7. (+) The Ending - Was not expecting that to happen... and yet... it was wonderful!  I can't say anymore because I don't want to spoil it for you guys... Still, let me just say that Claudia Gray is brilliant!  There.  :).
8. (+) The Writing - The attire and dialogue and emphasis on class were all historically accurate not to mention the descriptions of the world as seen through Tess's eyes.  In general, the writing was really fluid and evocative of a tragedy just waiting to happen.
9. (+/-) the Pacing - The pacing was sort of neither here nor there.  At one point, I had to put the book down to go to class, but even when class finished, I wasn't really thinking about it because I hadn't gotten a place that I absolutely needed to read, you know?  The pacing seemed constant throughout, and even when the Titanic crashed, I still didn't feel the urgency.  Though... I think that may be due to the fact that I already knew that was going to happen...
10. (+) The Cover - It's even prettier when printed.  It's on shiny paper that really makes the cover look like a dream, which is almost what the story feels like... werewolves on the Titanic.... Also, the use of so much blue really captures the tragic edge to the book.

Wonderful.  This is by far Claudia's Gray's best work yet.  I hope you guys give it a shot.


  1. I have never heard of this book before but based off of your review, I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for it.
    Book Sniffers Anonymous

  2. I have just read this book a week ago. I agree with the -/+ point about the pacing. Probably, we knew too well what was going to happen with the titanic, like how it will hit the iceberg and will start to sink didn't caused any urgency. Thanks for the wonderful review :). I also love Myriam, she is a character I love in the story as well because even though Tessa and her have just met on the ship, they get along well pretty quickly and her attempt to iron Tessa's clothes was cute. ^^

  3. I'm not sure how this book could have done better with the pacing. There's only so much you can work with re: already knowing about the Titanic. Myriam was a lovely side character; I can't remember, now, over a year later, her ironing Tess' clothes, but that's just adorable.


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