Sunday, December 11, 2011

Book Review: Fateful by Claudia Gray

Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Pages: 356
Why I read it: The setting of the Titanic really drew me in.

What I thought:  I really, really liked this book! I'm not a huge fan of paranormal romance. The romances fall flat for me and I'm sick of the "bad boy" vampire/werewolf/whatever. However, I first read about this book over on the Book Smugglers blog, and I was intrigued by the setting. I've always been interested in the Titanic, way before the 1997 movie, even! And the reviews I'd seen online looked pretty good, so I thought I would give it a chance.

The story follows Tess, a maidservant for an English noble family. They are traveling to America presumably to marry their only daughter off. Tess has plans to abandon the family in America and find a job on her own. However, her plans are thwarted when she meets Alec, who turns out to be a werewolf. Tess is intrigued by him, but yet knows how dangerous he is, and of course there are other dangers at work on the Titanic, besides, well, the sinking.

I really liked the characterization in the book. While Tess and Alec quickly fall in love, I didn't find it so obnoxious. Their romance was pretty grounded in reality. Alec was a bit of a "bad boy" but he fought against it, because his being a werewolf wasn't exactly his choice. Tess had a lot of agency, and while I felt like Alec was trying to protect, she also was able to protect him and take care of herself. I felt like some of the minor characters were cliches, but I think they generally fit into the story well. I liked how Gray showed the kindness of the upper class, rather than portraying them all as stuffy and cruel.

I loved how Gray used the Titanic as a backdrop for the story, and obviously she spent a lot of time researching the history and the customs of the time.

I was a little surprised by the twist ending. I guess I should have seen it coming, but I was still surprised. It seemed a little too tidy of an ending. I felt like the latter half of the book was rushed. While Gray spent a lot of time building up to the sinking and building relationships between the characters, I felt like the sinking happened quickly, when I know it took a couple of hours before sinking. Tess comments on how an hour and a half as passed, and maybe I was reading this part too quickly, but it seemed like the ship sank too quickly. And the ending felt a little rushed. I don't think this book was meant to be a series, but the author has set it up where there could be a sequel. I'm interested to see what happens to the characters if there is a sequel.

I give this book a 4. I really, really liked it!

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