Author: Claudia Gray
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publication Date: September 13, 2011
Format: Paperback, 336 Pages
ISBN-10: 0062006207 (Harper Teen)
ISBN-13: 978-0062006202 (Harper Teen)
Reviewed by: Emmy
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 life for 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.
Quick & Dirty: Though the writing leaves something to be desired, this story has a great hook! Gray brings the sense of impending doom to the reader as Tessa and Alec race to save themselves from their enemies on board as well as the Titanic itself.
Opening Sentence: April 9th, 1912 It’s not to late to turn back, I tell myself.
I love that the backdrop of this story is the Titanic, even if it’s not the Titanic as we all know it from our favorite Leo movie. Let me start out by saying that this is strictly a fantasy story. Gray explains in the Author’s Note that in order to avoid being disrespectful to the victims of this tragedy all the characters–with one, small exception–are fictional. My only critique of this point is that it seems as if a number of characters were written in to make the plot more convenient. At the same time, she does a great job building up the ship and the people on board.
Tess is a newly appointed ladies’ maid, but she’s worked in the Lisle’s household for years. In the beginning Gray has the problem of allowing Tess to know more information than is logically possible for someone in her position. This once again ties into the convenience factor of the plot. In the beginning Tess is running–literally–an errand for Lady Regina in Southampton, night is closing in and she finds herself face to face with a wolf. The next morning she’s helping the family board the ship, and she runs into two men she’d seen the night before. Alec, our tortured werewolf hero, and Mikhail, part of the Brotherhood sent to force Alec to join them.
The Brotherhood is the supreme power in the world of werewolves. They have complete control of their Initiates and will use any means to bring new werewolves under their control. They hold the strings of very influential people in every country. Throughout the book Alec is fighting the Brotherhood–both for Tess’s life and his own. Now that Mikhail has his eye on her, he wants nothing more than to hunt her for the fun of it.
Throughout the story Tess is trapped in the drama of the Lisle household. It becomes clear that Irene must marry immediately to save the family fortune her brother is set on gambling away every night. It becomes clear to Tess that Mikhail is on the Titanic for more than one reason–no one would willingly want to be Layton Lisle’s friend, after all.
Tess has the extreme misfortune of being a melodramatic heroine to a fabulous hero. Actually, I like most of the male characters in this story. Alec is of course swoon-worthy, but his best friend Ned–the valet for Layton Lisle–has good characterization as well. It’s the female’s I don’t like. The snobbish mother, the shy daughter, the ever-loyal servant–they all follow the stereotypical stock character plot you would expect them to. I found myself skimming those passages to get back to the plot of the story. Tess isn’t the best heroine for this book, but she’s not stupid and she does have a backbone. However, the insta-love she feels for Alec was slightly disconcerting, since she was also freaked out that he would kill her. But she was a nice narrator, if not the most original.
This story has a great plot, though, even if I do find the writing to be subpar in a number of places. I love the setting, the mixture of real life and fantasy that Gray has blended together. As a reader we find ourselves drawn in, waiting for the catastrophe we know will strike. I can’t imagine liking this story if it was set anywhere but the Titanic, because frankly seeing how Tess and Alec worked within the confines of the ship was the most interesting part.
Then I feel it again, that prickle at the back of my neck. The hunter’s eyes on its prey. I glance behind me, expecting to see–what? The wolf from the night before? The young man who rescued me, then told me to flee for the sake of my life? I see niether. In the crush, perhaps I can’t see them, but then they wouldn’t be able to see me either. But someone’s watching. I know he’s there, down deep within me, in the place that doesn’t respond to thought or logic, just pure animal instinct.
Someone in this crowd of strangers is watching me.
Someone is hunting me.
FTC Advisory: Harper Teen provided me with a copy of Fateful. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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