This month’s Brunch Book Club for our April read of Fateful, Claudia Gray’s Titanic-meets-werewolves read was held at the Drake Hotel in the Queen West area of Toronto. Of course, as this is a discussion post, here’s the big ol’ SPOILER WARNING (besides the fact that the boat sinks 😛 ) Jenn @ Lost in a Great Book and I were joined by Chandra (@sakuralovestea) and Kate (@kateplummer) for this surely-implied interesting discussion. Why “surely implied”? Because of Kate’s astute tweet the morning of the brunch which may or may not convey some of our thoughts on the book.
I force my way into a book club and only finish the book hours before we meet. I’m obviously one of their more esteemed members. #BrunchBC
— Kate Plummer (@kateplummer) May 5, 2013
Usually we order our food before diving into the book discussion, but right as we sat down, Kate & I launched into it. She mentioned how my review had talked about the insta-love and how we were SO done with that. The two of us were curious about how the book was going to be pulled off, as it had some potential to be interesting. I hadn’t read anything of Claudia Gray’s before and Chandra said she could have warned me about that. Kate made an interesting (and strong) point that she kinda wished the story was written by a different author. I hadn’t consciously noticed it, but Kate pointed out that there was a lot of “tell, not show”. A lot of explaining everything ad nauseum to the readers rather than have it explain itself.
The outrageousness of the werewolves lead us to wonder if the ship was actually even going to sink. Perhaps it was just going to go full out fictional since the ending of the book was nearing and they still hadn’t hit the iceberg yet. And when it does happen, I felt it so anti-climactic. It’s such a highly-anticipated moment throughout the book, with the dates appearing at the starts of certain chapters and when it actually happens, Tess is basically in a struggle with Mikhail and – oops! – there’s water filling the room. Speaking of which, Tess was a protagonist that some of us really couldn’t get on board (hah.) with. Mikhail, however, was a great creepy villain for this story. I didn’t really like that the whole basis of the story on why Tess was hunted by Mikhail was merely based on him wanting to have some fun. However, Jenn & Chandra made a good point that they DID like that – that it’s something as simple as wanting to mess with her rather than because she was “the most beautiful” or some other uber special quality.
It’s also interesting how strong and consistent of a theme there was in terms of relationships and pregnancies. It could not have been any clearer that the message was, if you sleep with someone – especially outside of your class – you WILL get pregnant and it WILL ruin you. Between Tess’ sister, Irene and – who knows – maybe even Tess(!) the moral of the story seemed to be quite evident. We did feel incredibly sad for Irene and Ned and figured that most of the men probably wouldn’t survive since it’s “women and children” first. Jenn agreed with me on the main Titanic-movie similarities, right down to Tess’ hand-me-down fancy dress described to sound exactly like Rose’s in the movie.
Overall we thought it was okay. There was potential and maybe because we were reading this on the heels of An Abundance of Katherines by John Green that it paled in comparison.
Will you join us for our May read of Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star?