Book Review: Fateful by Claudia Gray
A tragic tale about falling in love on the world’s most infamous ill-fated sea voyage as heroine, Tess, discovers darker secrets that lie beneath the doomed crossing… and a hidden brotherhood that threaten to tear her lover from her forever.
The RMS Titanic is the most luxurious ship ever built, but for eighteen-year-old Tess Davies it’s a prison. Travelling as a maid for the family she has served for years, Tess is trapped in their employ amid painful memories and family secrets.
When she meets Alec, a handsome upper class passenger, Tess falls helplessly in love. But Alec has secrets of his own… and soon Tess is entangled in a dangerous game. A sinister brotherhood that will do anything to induct Alec into their mystical order has followed him onboard. And Tess is now their most powerful pawn.
Tess and Alec fight the dark forces threatening to tear them apart, never realising that they will have to face an even greater peril before the journey is over…
New York Times best-selling author Claudia Gray delivers adventure, dark paranormal suspense, alluring romance, and a truly surprise ending, set against the opulent backdrop of the Titanic's first — and last — voyage.(from Goodreads.com)
There's something hauntingly fascinating about the Titanic and her tragic maiden voyage. Even as the One Hundredth anniversary of its sinking approaches it still moves and shocks with its horrors and intrigues us with its passengers and their stories. When I first heard about Claudia Gray's Fateful last year I was both excited and dubious. Could she really pull off a story with a paranormal twist without being tasteless and disrespectful? I can understand why some people may feel not, although personally I thought she did a pretty good job on the whole and wasn't offended by it at all.
I haven't read Claudia Gray's previous Vampire themed series, so went into Fateful with no preconceptions at all. What did surprise me however was the historical detail. If I'm honest, I wasn't expecting too much but it actually became my favourite part of the story, to the point I wished the werewolves weren't included at all. She absolutely could have pulled this off without them I think and if Claudia ever decided to write a historical novel without mythical creatures, I'd absolutely be there to read it. I thought she brought the ship to life; the splendour, the class divide, the eclectic mix of passengers and the excitement and arrogance of it all. A few famous non-fictional passengers and other facts are littered throughout as background, giving the feel that Gray thoroughly researched and gave care to the story.
The plot of Fateful isn't altogether unlike the film Titanic and I did draw comparisons throughout. It's almost a reverse of Rose and Jack's story, instead it's main character Tess who is the poor steerage passenger and servant to a horrible, snobby aristocratic family disguising their many money issues. Suave and mysterious Alec is the first class gentleman who falls for the girl from 3rd class and instead of the Heart Of The Ocean Necklace, we have an ancient Initiation Knife. I read the most distressing part of the story at my daughters tennis lesson and was choking back sobs at the tragic romance and horror of that awful night. It got me thinking again who awful it must really have been- beyond imagination really. In that sense I thought Claudia Gray did justice to the story.
However, the Werewolves are a different matter. Like I said earlier, I could have done without them completely and at times they boarded on ridiculous. Especially the ending. This was almost like two books, where occasionally a werewolf would pop up and didn't really mesh with the rest at all. I'm not going to lie, I laughed a couple of times and cringed at others.
Luckily, the actual werewolf parts are surprisingly limited and for the most I really did enjoy the book. Claudia Gray's writing was involving and emotional enough, the romance was sweet and there was no hint of a love triangle anywhere (hurrah!) The characters were diverse and interesting as they should be and she brought to life a vivid image of the Titanic. Part brilliant and part plain silly, Fateful is a good read, if you can avoid looking too deeply into the ridiculousness of the werewolf story you'll probably enjoy it. I did.
Published by HarperCollins (UK) March 29th 2012
Thanks to the publishers for providing a copy for review.