Fates, by Lanie Bross

Lanie Bross's debut novel Fates aims to be an operatic YA paranormal romance, a wild fantasy adventure, and a compelling coming-of-age story, all at the same time and in less than 350 pages. None of it quite succeeds, but props to the author for making the attempt.

Bross's story shifts between two characters: Lucas, a teenage soccer player with a troubled home life, and Corinthe, a fallen Fate cursed to live among humans, doing whatever it takes to ensure their destinies unfold as planned—arranging accidents, meetings, even deaths. Corinthe wants nothing more than to return to her magical home, but before she can leave she must arrange for Lucas to die... despite their overwhelming and inexplicable attraction to one another.

Fates has significant flaws. Corinthe is burdened with a flat affect and general air of inhumanity, which makes her “great love” with Lucas feel less epic and more arbitrary. Bross comes up with some cool fantasy elements (vampire tree nymphs!), but mostly fails to develop them. The whole novel really needed to be twice as long: the fantasy stuff should have been more thoroughly explained, Corinthe's developing understanding of love and humanity should have felt harder-won, and Lucas's attraction to her should have been based on something greater than a gut feeling of connection (which persists, despite the fact that, oh yeah, she keeps trying to knife him).

Despite the above complaints, however, I couldn't write Bross's story off completely. The first scene in Fates hits with a visceral punch, the author has a gift for quick yet effective descriptive passages ("Blond hair flashed in the sun, like a coin under the water"), and hardworking, responsible Lucas is a remarkably engaging protagonist. These charms aren't enough to overcome the book's weaknesses, but I'm interested to see what Ms. Bross produces next—this particular literary recipe may not have worked, but at least she came up with some intriguing ingredients.

Review based on publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


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