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.
In Fateful, New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray delivers paranormal adventure, dark suspense, and alluring romance set against the opulent backdrop of the Titanic’s first—and last—voyage.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Readers who rejoice at the combination of history and werewolves
High point: The fresh take on the Titanic
Low point: Tess' reaction to both Alec and the Bad guy
Reader maturity: 15+
I find it prudent to warn you that when I was in elementary school, I went on a huge Titanic reading bender. Everything I could find, from the classics to ghost stories...if I could get my hands on it, I read it. And then suddenly I stopped, because you know what happens at the end of every novel? [Spoiler alert if you've been nodding off in history class your whole life] Everyone dies. Well, not everyone, but a lot of people. The sinking of the Titanic was a terrible event and could have easily been prevented. So I stopped reading about the Titanic.
I had that in the back of my mind when I started Fateful by Claudia Gray. Was I ready for another depressing novel where I would have to remain detached from the characters so I wouldn't be sad when the ship sinks into the sea with them in it? Well, I don't know if I was or not, because Claudia Gray made Fateful about so much more than just the Titanic. It's Titanic...with werewolves! Cool, right? There was so much action, I didn't even have time to worry about who was going to make it.
Fateful totally revamps the Titanic genre, giving it a fresh spin and a lot of heart. Throughout the novel were lots of little tidpits about pay and clothes and servants that I found particularly interesting, since most novels don't focus much on the living conditions of the lower class. The idea of transporting a werewolf on a boat (how else would they participate in intercontinental travel?) was well thought-out, with every detail and complication accounted for. Alec is a total gentleman, and I loved the way he treated Tess, our heroine. His father was also a stand-out character to me, due to his excellent manners and class, especially in contrast to Tess' employer. Tess and Alec's foe is a bit predictable, but the ways that Tess foils his plans are brilliant. In each sticky situation, I looked forward to finding out how she was going to wriggle her way out of that one.
I mentioned that Fateful has a lot of heart, and it's true. Along with covering the paranormal and the expected emotions that come along with that, there are two secondary storylines that I loved. One of them would be terrific grounds for a novel on its own, and both were beautifully written explorations of love, friendship and loyalty.
There were a couple of niggly, nitpicky things I didn't like (and that I might not even mention if I hadn't received the book for review), such as how Tess just went all to hormonal pieces whenever Alec was around. She's a level-headed, sensible girl all the rest of the time, and I found her complete disregard for logic and reason in his presence a stretch of the imagination, even in a book about werewolves. And there's a Bad Guy in this novel that I had a few issues with. It's obvious that he's a Bad Guy, with capital letters, but Tess' reaction to him, like hers to Alec, didn't seem quite in line with her character. The claims about his brutality and what he would do were substantiated, but the reasons given as his motives were shaky at best.
Overall, I thought Fateful was a fresh take on werewolves AND the Titanic that will be particularly enjoyable to paranormal/historical buffs, although it feels modern enough to appeal to all paranormal YA readers. It's the first work by Claudia Gray that I've read, but now that I've been introduced to her writing, I'd like to pick up the Evernight series.
Author: Claudia Grey
Genre: Fiction - Supernatural, Historical
Book Source: Received an ARC for review from HarperTeen