Monday, January 9, 2012

Fate Fixed by Bonnie Erina Wheeler

Title: Fate Fixed
Series: The Erris Coven
Author: Bonnie Erina Wheeler
Length: 2261 Kindle units
Rating: 2 stars

The Plot

Lexie isn’t quite sure how she feels about her new stepfamily. Her stepfather Dragos makes her mother happy, but he is also insisting that the entire family move to Maine. Plus, her three new stepbrothers are overly protective.

Things get even stranger for Lexie when she arrives in the small town of Erris. She meets local bad boy Torin and realizes that he is the boy she has been dreaming about for months. But Torin has problems of his own, and he knows that meeting Lexie so early in his life is evidence that danger is lurking just around the corner.

The Good

Some of the mythology for Fate Fixed was very interesting. Instead of having straight-up vampires, we had dhampirs with a Nordic heritage. (FYI, for the purpose of labels in this blog, dhampirs count as vampires. Nephilim will also count as angels, and all people who turn into animals are werewolves. I don’t want an absurd number of labels.) The werewolves were also based on Romanian werewolf legends. I actually had to look up some of the words being used to describe the supernatural creatures and found that they were references to regional legends, which always scores points with me.

There were parts of the book that were also seriously creepy. Lexie’s new family slowly takes control of her life, and she loses her privileges – especially communication with the outside world – one by one without even realizing it. I find the idea of being so trapped and helpless rather terrifying, and, even though my parents are nothing like that, it makes me extra glad not to be a teenager anymore. No matter how frustrated I get with my life, I can at least be content that no one can legally take away all my choices.

The Bad

Fate Fixed begins with Lexie having a weird Romanian-werewolf stepfamily, who decide to move to a new town since they are a new family. As far as I can tell, they picked the location using a random geographic generator. And then this town has a bunch of Nordic half-vampires. The two supernatural elements and the new town are the three things that form the base of the story, but they have absolutely nothing to do with each other. That they all happen to the same girl at the same time is a bit too much of a coincidence to be plausible.

We had chapters from different perspectives, primarily Lexie and Torin, but also occasionally from our villain “Wolf.” It is made clear to the readers early on that “Wolf” is one of the members of Lexie’s step-family. There is some effort at misdirection, but there are just not enough potential suspects for the ending to be that surprising.

The Romance

This trope of soulmates meeting each other in dreams before meeting in real life is growing increasingly common. So common, in fact, that I can call it a trope. I’m not necessarily opposed to it. I like an epic love as much as anyone, and dreaming of each other is a pretty good indicator that fate wants the pair to be together.

But here’s the thing: It’s an indicator, not an absolute declaration. Were I to dream about a guy for months and then suddenly run into him on the street, my immediate impulse would not be to kiss him and start planning the wedding. First, I would ensure that I had not had a psychotic break, and then I would want to know whether this mystery boy was messing with me. After the initial shock, I would want to get to know him, and I would slowly realize that we are, in fact, perfect for each other. This is the normal progression of such a romance, and skipping straight to the happy ever after is not only ludicrous but also taking out the best part of the story.

Will I read more?

There are a few things I am curious about, particularly how Lexie’s family is going to deal with the aftermath. But it’s only flip-through-the-book-in-the-bookstore kind of curiosity, not investment in reading a whole other book. Also, I believe that the next book is about Lexie’s friend Liz and on of Torin’s many cousins, so I’m not even sure I would get the information that I wanted. Plus, you know, the book wasn’t all that good, so I’ll likely be skipping on the continuing adventures of the Nordic dhampir cousins.

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