I want you to know that I love Claudia Gray as an author but when I found out that she was writing a werewolf story SET ON THE TITANIC? I thought she was nuts. My immediate reaction was “this is never going to work” and having now read it, you know what? It totally does. Here’s the synopsis:
“Fateful is about a servant girl named Tess in 1912, who wants to escape from the house where she works, and most particularly the lecherous young lord of the manor. But that's not her biggest problem. While on a voyage to America, where she plans to escape and start a new life, she meets Alec, who's ruggedly handsome, fabulously wealthy, intelligent and yet so clearly troubled that she'd rather not fall for him, but she does. That also is not her biggest problem. Alec, it turns out, is a werewolf ... one cursed to change every night, unless he surrenders his independence and joins the Brotherhood, a pack of violently misogynistic werewolves who have been tracking him for months. You'd think that would be their biggest problem, wouldn't you? But no. Their biggest problem is that they're aboard the RMS Titanic.”
So one of the things that was different about Fateful is that in every other story I’ve read or seen about the Titanic, the sinking of the ship has always been at the centre of the story and taken up most of the screen time. In Fateful, it’s a short section of the book towards the end and I found this really surprising. I have a feeling that because James Cameron’s Titanic had been on TV a few days earlier, perhaps this is the reason I was expecting more. Funnily enough, there were times when I was reading that I completely forgot what ship they were on and what was in inevitably going to happen. I think Claudia set the story up really well and I did feel like I was right there on the ship with Tess. I liked Tess as a protagonist and how although she was a young servant girl who knows her place, she dreams of running away to a better life. She’s also very practical (unfortunately, I lack this skill at times) and is putting a plan in place to make this happen.
Alec on the other hand, is part of the upper class and so of course he has the looks, intelligence and wealth but he too is lacking his freedom but for entirely different reasons. He’s only a bloody werewolf which is most inconvenient when it comes to taking public transport. What’s good about Alec is that although he turns into a wolf every night, apart from that he’s actually a decent guy. He may have money and a good family name but there is no pretentiousness about him or his father and they only have three servants whom they treat very well as opposed to the Lisles family’s 35 servants. Alec had no problem coercing with Tess despite their class differences and at times seemed to prefer third class entertainment and who can blame him for that?!
Irene, the only decent member of the Lisles family stood out for me as one of my favourite characters as she was kind to Tess and treated her more like a human being than a servant.
On the other end of the decency scale is the bad guy AKA Mikhail who is menacing, sadistic and drunk on power. He thinks that women are merely objects put on this earth for his amusement and to be thrown away like trash when they are no longer entertaining or useful. He was quite an intimidating character who toyed with Tess at every opportunity he could get.
Overall, I did enjoy the story and the relationship that built up between Tess and Alec. The ending of the book was definitely left open but I’m not sure if it should have been. I would have liked to have seen it complete as a standalone and of course, it still might be. Fateful was a fresh take on the Titanic story with a dash of the paranormal thrown in for good measure. If you like paranormal YA stories about wolves and have an interest in the Titanic, then this is the book you’ve been waiting for.
Fateful is published on 13th September, 2011. To find out more about Claudia and her books, click here to access her website. She is also active on Facebook and Twitter.