Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fated by Alyson Noel

Title: Fated
Author: Alyson Noel
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Pages: 3552 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: audiobook clip | book trailer | author website

Fated (Soul Seekers, #1)The first book in a magnificent new series about a girl who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead by #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël.

Lately strange things have been happening to Daire Santos. Animals follow her, crows mock her, and glowing people appear out of nowhere. Worried that Daire is having a nervous breakdown, her mother packs her off to stay in the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico with a grandmother she’s never met.

There she crosses paths with Dace, a gorgeous guy with unearthly blue eyes who she’s encountered before...but only in her dreams. And she’ll get to know her grandmother—a woman who recognizes Daire’s bizarre episodes for what they are. A call to her true destiny as a Soul Seeker, one who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead. Her grandmother immediately begins teaching her to harness her powers—but it’s an art that must be mastered quickly. Because Dace’s brother is an evil shape-shifter who’s out to steal her powers. Now Daire must embrace her fate as a Soul Seeker and find out if Dace is one guy she’s meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she’s destined to destroy.


Most readers know this author for her Immortals series and opinions about it vary. Some call it the best thing since sliced bread. Others think it's decent. Still others think it's gut-wrenchingly terrible. Then there's that contingent who think it's hilariously bad, and that's where I am. I spent months thinking over whether or not I wanted to read Fated and a few weeks ago, I decided to go for it. (You may notice that means I made my decision at the same time the cover for the sequel came out. Shut up! Whatever you're thinking, just don't say it.) I can't say I'm entirely surprised that I disliked Fated.

When Fated gets good, it gets really, really good. I love each and every one of the ideas in this novel, even if they're executed a little weaker than I'd like. Creative, fresh, and fun--exactly what I expected and wanted from it. One thing I love about this author in particular is that she always uses names most authors wouldn't touch because they're so weird. Marliz, Jannika, Django, Daire... Such strange and lovely names. On occasion, the prose is perfect for the scene and the imagery is astounding.

The rest of the time, however, this does not read like this author's eighteenth published novel. That's right: eighteenth published novel. That's pretty impressive, but it reads more like someone's second attempt at writing a novel when they've never been published and they're still trying to learn the ropes. The way most of the novel is written in sentence fragments made me ache for some sentence variety and adherence to the rules of grammar. Fragmented sentences? They're alright with me as long as they're not overused because it's not like everyone speaks or thinks with perfect grammar--not even a stickler like me!--but this novel went wild with them.

Fated is sluggishly paced and feels at least twice as long as it is. I had to force myself to keep reading half the time and that was no easy feat, let me tell you. The lack of characterization and an over-reliance on stereotypes when someone decided it was time to make an attempt at characterization made all the characters start blending into one gray, oozing mass in my mind. The insta-love between Dace and Daire? So over it. I've got to hand it to this book: it made the all-too-common insta-love a little more memorable this time around. How many books have their characters practically in love with one another before they ever meet?

Quite honestly, I was in it for the Foe Yay between Daire and Cade for most of the novel. I will never be able to explain why I love it so much. I just do. Maybe I just like the tensions between protagonists and antagonists so much that I start shipping it? Is it the result of my natural aversion to shipping normal/canon couples? You are better off asking a rock what the meaning of life is than asking me why I love Foe Yay.

I sound really unhappy with this book, don't I? Like I wouldn't touch the next book of the series in a million years. Well, I'm going to. In fact, I'm looking forward to Echo's release November 13th. I think Noel is really onto something with this series and I want to support her because even when I'm ranting and raving about the myriad of problems both are permeated by, I love the publishing industry and YA.

2 stars!

What am I reading next?: Scorch by Gina Damico