Review: Fateful by Claudia Gray

Book: Fateful
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: September 13, 2011
Source: ARC received from Around the World Tours

Summary: (from Goodreads) In Fateful, eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, overbearing family she works for. Once the ship theyâ??re sailing on reaches the United States, sheâ??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 Alecâ??s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves are real and theyâ??re stalking himâ??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, Fatefulâ??s publication is poised to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the shipâ??s doomed maiden voyage. It is sure to be a hit among Titanic buffs and fans of paranormal romance alike.

First impressions: Claudia Gray wastes no time setting the tone here. Tess is off on a last minute task before they sail on the Titanic, and she fumbles around in dark alleyways with trepidation. Fear is definitely a prominent emotion for Tess throughout the novel. An early run-in with a wolf lets us know that this is not going to be a typical Titanic tale. (Alliteration bonus points!)

Lasting impressions: SPECIAL SHELF! One of my favorite reads of the year.

Conflicting impressions: The dialogue felt a little cheesy at times. The interactions between Tess and Alec had the tendency to sound like something you’d hear on a soap opera – very melodramatic.

Overall impressions: If you like the story of the RMS Titanic, and you like young adult paranormals, you will L-O-V-E this book, just as I did. It was a near-perfect mashup of historical events with a werewolf twist.

I know. It sounds ridiculous. I promise you, it’s not.

Tess Davies gives us an honest account of life as a 20th century English maid. Working for the horrid Lady Regina, and her much more pleasant daughter, Irene, life is never easy for Tess. She hopes that when she arrives in New York at the conclusion of this voyage she can slip away from the Lisle family and set out on her own. All she wants is independence and the chance to get out from under the employers who have made her life, and the life of her sister, miserable.

While boarding the Titanic, Tess has the distinct feeling of being watched, and after several run-ins with the ominous Russian Mikhail, she discovers she is in danger. Luckily, a handsome young son of a Chicago steel magnate, Alec, comes to her rescue. He harbors secrets of his own, however, and despite his efforts to keep Tess away from his problems, she winds up sucked right into the middle of them.

The werewolf lore is just sparse enough to serve the story without bogging us down with too many details. We know at least one wolf is on board, wants something from Tess, and will stop at nothing to get it – even if she doesn’t know what it is. As she struggles to avoid trouble with the wolves, she winds up getting into trouble with her employer, the Lisle family. The balance of work duties with real fear of a very supernatural situation is hard on Tess, made even more difficult by the fact that as a servant she has almost no power or trustworthiness in the eyes of the ship’s staff. She is alone, and it is terrifying.

When she does manage to make a tentative friend out of one of her bunkmates, things ease a bit for her. Tess doesn’t really know what it’s like to have a friend, and this experience sets up an important relationship that will impact the rest of her life. Likewise, her blooming romance with Alec also has lasting consequences, and she learns that sometimes you can have joy in your life no matter your station.

My only disappointment with this novel is the fact that the sinking of the Titanic doesn’t occur until the very last pages. I would have liked to see this moved up a bit, since we all know it’s coming, and I kept wanting to get there quicker. The description of the ship going down is as vivid as in the James Cameron film, and just as tragic. Because of the third-class/first-class love story here, as well as the setting, it’s hard to not think of Jack and Rose, which is why I appreciated the werewolf angle. It sets this story apart a bit more, giving it a unique twist and some exciting action to carry the plot forward.

This was an absolute treat to read, and I so very highly recommend it. This is definitely going on my top five books of the year.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Amazingly beautiful and painstakingly crafted signature courtesy of Small Review

7 thoughts on “Review: Fateful by Claudia Gray

  1. My mind can't work out how this story works out! Werewolves and the titanic? But since it's a special shelf for you and because I totally trust your opinion, I'll have to give this one a go. P.S. Jack! I love you!

  2. I was just mentioning to my bf how I wanted to read this book and described it as "werewolves on the Titanic". You're right, it is kind of ridiculous. But I'm so excited after hearing you say it was one of your favourite reads of the year! So awesome. I can't wait.

  3. Oh I want this sooo bad!! Thanks for putting this on my radar. I'm definitely adding this to my list. I had this strange infatuation with the titanic. I can't wait to see this twist.

  4. Oh I SO need this one so much. On the special shelf? WIN! Plus it doesn't sound like a huge disappointment. I can see why you'd wanted the sinking moved up but if that was only the real criticism, still sounds like a WIN!

  5. eeeeee Special Shelf!! I'm going to out myself right now and admit that I love Titanic (the movie). Add werewolves and I'm (confused, but) sold! P. S. I ❤ alliteration. 🙂

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