Customer Reviews: Fateful
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on September 17, 2011
Wonderful. This is by far Claudia's Gray's best work yet. I hope you guys give it a shot.

Tess, the protagonist - Practical, smart, fiery, determined, strong. A great perspective to read. I LOVED that she was a servant--not that I enjoyed seeing her be treated badly or anything but just how often do you read a story from that kind of perspective? Historical romance & history itself are often written from the perspective of the victor, the rich, etc. etc. It was incredibly refreshing to have that other take on the story and one that was so heart-breaking. You'll really empathize with Tess. Plus, her reactions were always realistic, which is a nice touch for a paranormal world.

World-building - More than just one world to build -- Gray had to establish both the paranormal world and the historical world, and on both counts, she succeeded. I never once doubted that Tess was on the Titanic; Gray adds a lot of details that make the ship seem like an authentic setting. I also enjoyed her werewolf world. I want to know more about the Brotherhood--how did wolves become this way? I think there was a mention of it but I want more and I want to know how such... misogynistic opinions came to exist.

Relationships - Every relationship felt complex and well-developed .... LOVED MYRIAM. Ahem, and that's not just 'cause she's Lebanese ;p. It's mostly because the friendship between Tess and Myriam became authentic after only a few days... In general, I loved how Gray used all the pasts between the characters to form these dynamic situations layered with such incredible tension.

The Villains - Just as in her Evernight series, Gray has created two sets of villains.. a couple close to Tess and one newly met. One set was incredibly realistic - there are some people who are that nasty and elitist - and the other set? Well, that's just the paranormal. Regardless, though, both posed a great threat to Tess that made me believe in the danger inherent to every moment she was on and off board the ship.

The Romance - Because even though it was intense and had some elements of paranormal romance that I don't like--i.e. references to their obvious connection--it still had me sold. I love their deep-seated belief in each other and the way they admired each other's strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, I understood why they ended up together, why they were attracted to each other to begin with. Gray is a master at spinning romance.

Accuracy - I mentioned this in both the protag. and world-building sections, but really it deserves its own section. The details of servitude and Tess's relationship with her employers, with the other passengers, even what happened when the RMS Titantic crashed--everything was vivid and done so well that I feel like Claudia Gray deserves extra props for her research.

The Ending - Was not expecting that to happen... and yet... it was wonderful! I can't say anymore because I don't want to spoil it for you guys... Still, let me just say that Claudia Gray is brilliant! There. :).

The Writing - The attire and dialogue and emphasis on class were all historically accurate not to mention the descriptions of the world as seen through Tess's eyes. In general, the writing was really fluid and evocative of a tragedy just waiting to happen.

the Pacing - The pacing was sort of neither here nor there. At one point, I had to put the book down to go to class, but even when class finished, I wasn't really thinking about it because I hadn't gotten a place that I absolutely needed to read, you know? The pacing seemed constant throughout, and even when the Titantic crashed, I still didn't feel the urgency. Though... I think that may be due to the fact that I already knew that was going to happen...

Thanks for reading my review :). Hope I was helpful.
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VINE VOICEon September 16, 2011
I saw James Cameron's Titanic in the theaters at least two or three times, and after reading Claudia Gay's FATEFUL, I kind of feel like I've just watched it again. There's the first-class passenger aboard the ill-fated ship who falls for the third-class passenger, the girl being forced into an unwanted marriage, even a necklace. The big different between the two is that Leonardo DiCaprio never turned into a werewolf in the movie.

There are oodles of little historical details that bring this story to life. Titanic history buffs will no doubt pick up on more than I did, but it was clear that Gray did her research. And not just about the ship. The circumstances, mistreatment, and attitude towards servants was all captured in unflattering detail. I did have a few issues with what I considered to be more modern sensibilities with some of the characters, especially the female's attitude towards sex, but apart from that, everything felt very authentic to the early twentieth century.

The one big liberty that Gray took was with the werewolves. I don't believe they were on the original passenger's list, but their addition made this already infamous story all the more exciting and harrowing. It's not enough to read about the freezing cold water flooding the ship and learn that there aren't enough lifeboats, poor Tess has to go through all that with a werewolf after her. There are some interesting tweaks on the werewolf mythology too, but nothing too drastic.

Mostly FATED is a love story set against the back drop of one of America's greatest tragedies. Werewolves aside, there are perhaps a few too many similarities between this story and the movie for it to feel as fresh as it could have, but the writing is subtle but captivating, and the romance believable. The ending is a little disappointing and difficult to comment on without revealing too much mostly due to a revelation that came out of nowhere. Overall, a solid read especially for werewolf and Titanic fans.

Sexual Content:
Kissing. References to sex.
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on September 17, 2011
Today's review is on Fateful by Claudia Gray

Claudia Gray's ability to write fantastic YA books was made clear by the popularity of her Evernight series and continues with Fateful. This fantastic story set aboard the ill fated Titanic is a must read. Fateful is filled with such amazing facts and surprising fiction that I had to keep reading through the night to see what happened next.

Tess Davies is an eighteen year old servant to the Lisle family. While on an errand, Tess meets up with unexpected danger. She is confronted with a black wolf that seems intent on hurting her. The only thing that saves her is a young man who steps between her and the wolf, telling the wolf to leave and strangely it does. Yet before she can thank the young man who saved her, he tells her that she must leave post haste or she will die. Frightened, Tess returns home.

When the Lisle family takes leave to New York aboard the Titanic, Tess again meets the young man. He is Alec Marlowe, heir to the Marlowe steel company, and although she knows nothing can ever happen between them, she can't help by be drawn to him. But Alec has a secret. He is a werewolf, and not the only one on board.

Can Alec be freed from the curse of changing each and every night? Can he escape the Brotherhood; a collection of werewolf thugs? Can the love that Alec and Tess have for each other overcome all the obstacles in their way and finally be together? You'll just have to read the book to get the answers.

Fateful is a fantastically written historical romance with a unique and original twist on the paranormal side. I just loved this book, and I hope that there is a second, third, maybe more. I see a great series potential here.

5 of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon October 29, 2011
First off, I must say that setting a young adult paranormal on board the tragedy of the Titanic is a fantastical idea.

That said, there is plenty more to like about Fateful by Claudia Gray. There is the heroine, Tess Davies, a young ladies' maid hoping to change her fortunes once the Titanic docks in America; there is Alec Marlowe, the tortured first class passenger who harbors a strange, heart-breaking secret; there is Myriam, a third class Lebanese traveler whose friendship Tess comes to value in many ways; there is Irene, the young woman Tess cares for who has secrets all her own; and there is the Titanic itself, steeped in all the tragedy and grandeur of history. Tess is a young woman ahead of her time, determined to escape the life of a ladies' maid and live on her own in America, and her family's personal tragedy propels her to take chances she might otherwise avoid. Once on board the Titanic, however, her strange encounter with with a wolf on the streets of Southampton turns into an even deeper mystery when Tess finds herself stalked by the creepy Mikhail; her very life comes into danger when she realizes just whom--and what--she is dealing with.

I really enjoyed Fateful with its fast plot, evil villain, and paranormal aspect. The fact that Ms. Gray was able to weave her story among the great ship and its real life passengers was very enjoyable for this Titanic buff, and she explains her liberties fully in the author's note. If the characters are a little too cardboard caricature, it's all right since the story fulfills its purpose and ends on a particularly unexpected measure. My biggest issue was with the idea that no one would report or raise a cry when a rather large wolf escapes and kills a man; that particular scene was really unrealistic, even for a paranormal. And though I loved the "romance" between Alec and Tess, I seriously doubt his ability to fall in love with a ladies' maid, even one who knows his secrets and rescues him. But still, it's a young adult novel and it's a paranormal so I can overlook that little qualm because the ending makes up for every single issue I had. I'm hopeful there will be a sequel or two because this story certainly isn't over. Fun and engaging with a unique setting.
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on October 12, 2011
Source: Purchased kindle version

My Summary:

Ever since Tess turned thirteen, she has been a maid for the Lisies family. Now eighteen, Tess is headed to America with her employer on the RMS Titanic. She has saved for two years to have enough money to give notice when the ship docks so that she can start a new life. But nothing comes easily for Tess and this trip is no different. Before she even boards the ship, she is attacked by a wolf and defended by the incredible Alec. Once aboard, the problems really start. As a third class passenger who serves a first class family, Tess struggles to push aside the feelings for Alec, who turns up again to help her. Their relationship quickly grows despite the difference is social status. But the wolf that plagues her on land has joined her on the ship. Trying to stay safe has become a full time job and that's without the destiny of the ship taken into account.

My thoughts:

5 stars - a must read

So let me start by saying that I'm not a Titanic fan. I really didn't like the movie and I really don't like reading something where I think everyone is going to die. Talk about depressing. But I picked up Fateful for the Dark Days Tour and I'm really glad I did. I've always liked Claudia Gray as a writer and this book doesn't disappoint.

I love the 1912 atmosphere that she creates for this story. Tess's employer is disagreeable and difficult. It's clear why Tess would want a different kind of life. I love the way that the Titanic isn't the center of the story. Yes we get to see what it looks like and how grand it is but the ship is not the story. The social status is certainly an aspect to it but it too is not the story. Tess and Alec overcome that as easily as Alec not caring what others think. Which I love about Alec). The story is a paranormal romance where a brotherhood of werewolves are all powerful and influential. They want Alec and they will stop at nothing to get him. Tess's employer has something else they want and Tess is something of a play thing for them. The complex drama of the story develops well before any events on the ship come into play. There were twists and turns as the brotherhood made their moves and Tess tried to stay away from them. All the while, Tess and Alec become close despite both of their efforts not to.

The characters are rich and full of depth. Tess is strong and bold, putting up with only as much as she has to keep her position as a maid. It's clear what draws Alec to her. I particularly liked Alec. He was in a difficult situation that caused his family a lot of pain. He tried very hard to do the right thing at a high personal cost. It is obvious that he has feelings for Tess but he tries very hard to set them aside so that she won't be drawn into the mess that is his life. When it becomes clear that Tess is involved, he tries to keep her safe and he stands up to social pressure as he spends time with Tess. At every step he chooses what is right instead of what is easy. Love that about him.

Now about the ending, I become very stressed as I reached the last fifty pages or so. I knew that boat was going to sink, even though the story didn't (thankfully) dwell on the events leading up to the impact with the iceberg. I clung to the idea that Claudia Gray is a masterful storyteller as I plunged on to finish the book. I cried. There were some really hard scenes for me to read but I also hoped. I wasn't disappointed with the end. I loved the end. It was perfect.

Try as I might, I can't find anything I didn't like about this book. It's a fabulous story and it's exactly my style. If you like paranormal romance, forget about this being set on the Titanic, read this book!
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on March 17, 2012
Reading this book was such an enjoyable experience! The author has brilliantly woven fact and fiction together to result in an amazing story. Mixing the paranormal aspect of werewolves with the historical events of the Titanic may sound outlandish, but believe me when I say that once you begin reading you will find that these two concepts work so well together! There's really never a dull moment in this book; the excitement starts immediately and just continues to flow throughout the plot, never wavering. Claudia Gray does such a splendid job of painting a clear and historical picture of 1912 and the Titanic. She also knows how to write one heck of a romance!

This story is told through the perspective of Tess Davies, who is a ladies' maid to a wealthy (and mostly snooty) family, the Lisles, in the year 1912. She's a young woman with a kind heart and big dreams of escaping the servitude of the Lisles family. The opportunity to start a new life in America arises when Tess' employers plan a voyage aboard the Titanic, and as you can imagine, gaining her freedom becomes the least of her worries after a while. Not just because of the peril she'll be put in aboard the Titanic, but also because of the chain of events that unfold after a chance meeting with a handsome stranger, Alec.

Tess is such a great character, and her situation as a poor citizen and servant seems like a very accurate depiction of what it must have been like for people like her back then. This is why when she meets the mysterious Alec, their growing attraction to one another is severely frowned upon because of his status as a wealthy young man and her status as a poor servant girl. Not to mention the supernatural circumstances that surround Alec could easily complicate a relationship on their own. But despite all of the obstacles, dark secrets, and anguish in their way, Tess and Alec are very strong-willed people, and it's clear that they belong together. I was certainly rooting for them throughout the entire book!

One of the things that is so fantastic about this book is that there is one thing the reader knows is going to happen for certain, above all else, and that is the sinking of the Titanic. You know whats coming but you have no idea how the author is going to portray it and what will become of the characters. There were times, though, when I would be so wrapped up in the intensity of Tess and Alec's situation, as well as the malevolent secondary characters, that I found myself randomly remembering, "Oh yeah, this ship is going to be sinking any day now! Holy crap!". That just goes to show you how much is going on within the span of almost a week. But approaching the end of the book and reading about the ship going down is truly a chilling experience, and the author makes you feel like you're right there in the chaos and tragedy. Knowing the outcome of the Titanic, however, still doesn't prepare you for the excitement and conclusion of the book!

So if you enjoy anything involving the Titanic (or even if you don't!), werewolves, seriously creepy characters, and a fantastic romance, then definitely pick up Fateful A.S.A.P.! It will far exceed your expectations.
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on January 31, 2012
Let me warn you now if you start Fateful by Claudia Gray make sure you have nothing to do until you finish the book, because that is all you will want to do.

We all know what eventually happens to the Titanic and what it looked like, but the way Claudia Gray painted the Titanic in my mind was so much grander than any picture I have seen. I also feel like I have a much better understanding of the class system in that time. It made me wonder how I would be considered during that time, what type of family I would have been born in? Would I be rich like Alec or poor like Tess?

What an amazingly resilient character Tess is. Tess has done everything she can to save enough money to break away from the Lisles as soon as she reaches America. Tess has lived a hard life working for the Lisles since she was 13. The night before she is to leave on the Titanic she stumbles upon some people she is not supposed to see. The thing I love about Tess is that she is always trying to figure out her next move. Of course, she could never figure Alec into the picture.

I loved Alec from the get go! He saves Tess the very first meeting they have, but he is also with the super evil of the book so it took me a bit to be completely sure how much I could trust him. Alec is dashing and wonderfully swoon worthy. But, there is a dark side that he can't hide for long and when it come out Tess' reaction surprises him. Their love story, even though it only goes a few days on the Titanic, was beautiful.

Even though I said before that I knew what was going to happen to the Titanic, it made it no less tragic when it started to sink. I could not read fast enough and I could not skip a word. I cried when characters I had grown to care about died because there was nothing more I could do for them. Claudia Gray did an amazing job of showing the character of people in horrific moments like the Titanic sinking.

I don't know how everyone feels about the ending, I have stayed away from reviews until I could read Fateful myself, but I all kinds of loved the ending. It left you able to hope, and that is all Tess needs. Like I said before she is resilient!

I highly recommend Fateful! I will actually be pushing/lending out my copy today because it is wanting to be read again I am sure.

Happy Reading,
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on October 3, 2011
Brimming with intense passion, all the glamor of the lavish first class and hardships of the third class in early 1900's, Mr Gray weaves an unforgettable romance aboard one of America's most infamous tragedies. Fateful has a little something for everyone with werewolves and beautiful dresses and passion and danger around every corridor. Tess and Alec and all their friends and enemies are incredible to watch but it's with bated breath that the reader turns the page, waiting for the moment April 15, 1912 shows up on the page and puts every life at stake.

I think Tess was the perfect character to follow through Titanic's tragic maiden voyage. Because of her lower class, I felt like her voice was much easier to relate to being a modern reader. I find that sometimes with historic novels the voice feels a little too formal for me and I don't feel as connected to the characters but Tess's voice was easy to connect with partly because of her experiences and station in life and partly thanks to the skill of the writer. I liked that Tess wanted to fight. She didn't just talk about it, she did when it was necessary. When she finally realized she was worth it, she dove in, risks be damned and I found that refreshing, especially given the fact that she's used to being trampled on. Tess was also intelligent enough to know when to keep her mouth shut and I appreciated that ability as much as the first. She didn't needlessly put herself in danger if she could help it and didn't withhold information from those who could help her solve her problems.

Tess and Alec's chemistry was electric. I appreciated the divide in class because it was a non-issue for Alec and his family. If that had been the main thing keeping them apart then it would have felt like a re-used trick but the fact that the one from a lower station had qualms about being seen in public and class wasn't a big factor for the other half, really made this stand out for me. I lied Alec as a character for his passion. It little sizzled out of his wild eyes and bohemian hair. The family Tess worked for also helped shaped the novel. It was great to see where Tess was raised and why she believes the things she does. I loved the dynamic of Lisle's and their servants. The characters of third class were just as endearing. It made knowing what was going to happen-- and knowing not everyone could make it out alive-- all the more painful.

Speaking of painful, I've got to commend Ms. Gray on her descriptions of when the Titanic actually went down. It left a pit in my stomach for the next fews days the way she described the screams and how horrific it was when they all stopped. I can't imagine living through something like that and through Ms. Gray's words the reader really gets a picture of how terrible it would be. The writing was wonderful and easy to read especially with such a gripping plot. You could really see how much time was spent in research by how visual the novel was. Now, I must admit that I was picturing James Cameron's rendition in my head (I even placed Rose and Jack on the boat at the different times in the novel because I really am that much of a NERD) but the customs and societal norms felt very real as well.

The horrifying occurrence of the ship sinking coupled with the intrigue of Alec's condition and the werewolves that are hunting him really made for a gripping fast paced read. These characters and their circumstances will certainly stay with me. I'd originally given this book a 4 because it didn't have that quality to make me think long after it was over but then over the next few days my mind would wander back to this particular story. If that isn't 5 material, I'm not sure why I'm doing ratings.With high stakes and gripping characters and writing, Fateful is triumph with the stuff to stay with the reader long after the story is over (dare I say that it stays in the heart and will go on and on?).
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on September 17, 2011
FATEFUL, by Claudia Gray, takes place on the RMS Titanic during its tragic voyage in 1912. Romance blossoms between two very different teenagers, but unlike the Dicaprio and Winslet version there are supernatural forces aboard the ship that will stop at nothing to get what it wants.

I really enjoyed this book. It's really hard not to compare it to the movie that I grew up loving: girl and boy from different rungs on the social ladder come together and build an epic romance only to be doomed on the sinking monstrosity that is the Titanic. But besides Tess and Alec being from different social backgrounds and on the Titanic, that's where the similarities ended. I loved the werewolves involvement in the story. The supernatural aspect of the book made it even more interesting to read.

The relationship between Tess and Alec was not love at first sight. Well, I think it was a little bit for Tess, I mean who can resist an adorable rich guy that actually acknowledges the help as equal? This brooding boy stole my heart away as he did Tess's. Their fight to protect the other during dangerous situations made their relationship strong right from the start.

The 'villain' in this book was definitely a bad dude with no regard for human life. I found myself forgetting Tess was on the Titanic, I just wanted her and Alec to be rid of the guy! Definitely gave me goosebumps.

Overall this was a fantastic book. I regretfully have not read anything else by Gray, but I definitely hope to start her Evernight series in the very close future! This book was another great/tragic story of those who were stranded at sea on that fateful night. The knowledge that the boat would definitely sink made me urgently speed through the book to make sure those I loved made it out alive. This is one stand-alone book that I highly recommend to round out your book-reading year!
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A compelling story with an enticing paranormal romance, an engaging story line and a beautiful retelling of the heartbreaking tragedy of the Titanic, Fateful is a book that I sat and devoured in one sitting. Claudia Gray has written a story that is captivating, well researched and incredibly written.

Aside from being a fabulous paranormal story, I loved the historical part of Fateful. Claudia did a brilliant job with her detailed writing and how she handled the entire voyage of the Titanic. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I was so engaged with the romance, the paranormal twists and everything else that was happening, that my worries and fears for who would survive subsided until the moment the ship hits the ice burg. Claudia threw in some fabulous twists that kept this story well paced and kept me hooked until the very end. I thoroughly enjoyed being taken back in time and feeling as though I was aboard the Titanic with this great cast of characters.

There's few books that I read and end up enjoying most every character I read about, and Fateful is one of them. Claudia's characters are so well written, in-depth, and despite some of them being paranormals, they felt believable to me. It wasn't hard for me to fall in love with some of the main characters and even the secondary characters, as they were easy to imagine, and even the villain was easy to despise. He was so well written. Talk about a fabulous evil guy.

The story is centered on Tess, a servant girl from England who's traveling with the family she works for to the US. I really admired Tess's strength. She's had to deal with a lot of crap in her life, but that doesn't stop her from wanting to fulfill her dreams. In fact it makes her that much more determined to follow them. Tess inadvertently finds herself in the middle of a world she had no idea existed, and that puts her life in grave danger. Her reactions to some of the events that unfold aboard the Titanic are really credible. I'd be in state of shock if I found myself witnessing some of the things she does as well.

The romance is so awesome! I love a well written time period romance. I really enjoyed the way Claudia developed the relationship between Alex and Tess. It's not a rushed, instant love kind of romance, but a well thought out, well written one that develops through out the course of the book. Alex is such a fabulous love interest. He's a tortured soul, but in a way that I totally understood why. He and Tess really bring out the best in each other. There romance is so addicting, I couldn't get enough of it! The sacrifices they make for each other totally made me cry! Not that I didn't except to cry since the story is set on the Titanic.

Fateful has the perfect blend of historical references, romance and paranormal activity that fans of Claudia Gray, romance, history and paranormal books will really enjoy this one. I am in love with this book and it's ending is fabulous! I'm not sure if this is going to be a series or have a sequel, but whether it's a stand alone or not, this is a book I highly recommend picking up. There is some very mild language and a implied sexual scene. This is a book I'd recommend to readers 13 yrs & older.
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