Author: Marlene Perez
Genre: Urban Fantasy, PNR
Publication Date: March 5, 2013 (Orbit/Hachette – North America)
Source: NetGalley Review Copy
Summary: The first in a line of three exciting new urban fantasy novels blending elements of Greek myth and forbidden romance against the backdrop of Minnesota’s magical underworld.
Brooding, leather jacket-wearing Nyx Fortuna looks like a 20-something, and has for centuries now. As the son of the forgotten fourth Fate, Lady Fortuna, he has been hunted his entire life by the three Sisters of Fate that murdered his mother.
Fed up and out for revenge, Nyx comes to Minneapolis following a tip that his aunts have set up a business there. His goal to bring down his mother’s killers and retrieve the thread of fate that has trapped him in the body of a twenty year old unable to age or die.
But when a chance meeting with the mysterious, dangerous and very mortal Elizabeth Abernathy throws off his plans, he must reconcile his humanity and his immortality.
☆: 1.5/5 stars – incredibly disappointing.
Review: Oh you guys, this one had so much potential, but it was so very disappointing in so many ways. I had such high hopes for “Strange Fates” – it sounded like one of the more original takes on Greek mythology, but very early, things came crashing down, and not in a good way. Maybe it was the fact that I feel that this needed at least two more drafts before even making it to the ARC stage of things, but I just can’t recommend “Strange Fates”.
I think my largest problem with this book was the fact that Nyx did not sound like a guy. He sounded like a girl. I understand cross-gender narration is hard to pull off, especially in urban fantasy novels, but this was almost ridiculous in how obvious it felt that Nyx was a guy, but the author could not make him sound like one. She tried the tough guy tact, the immortal guy tact, pretty much every tactic one can use for successful cross-gender narration and it just kind of failed. On every level. And that, quite frankly, is painful to read.
And then there’s the infodumping interwoven with very awkward and stilted dialogue, and the random mystery of why Elizabeth takes Nyx in in the first place. It was too much too soon, and not separated and clarified well enough to be interwoven back into each other again. The secondary paranormal world that’s so important to Nyx (and this book) was pretty much non-existent in that first third of the book. And by the second third, I was too far gone to really care. I understood what Nyx’s purpose was, and why I should care about him, but all I felt was indifferent. And that’s not good.
The sensory imagery…well, the only time that really shone was during the bar fight in the first chapter. And from there on in, it kind of faded away. There was so much telling, I found myself continuing to ask “but where’d the showing go” repeatedly the longer the telling (and infodumping) went on. The infodumping even went on in terms of characters – even though Nyx has a strong base to build on, it feels like Perez just didn’t do it in favor of giving us his backstory instead, up front. Which is a nice idea, but with everything else going on, where she inserted things was pretty random and clashed with other things at the time.
Bottom line: This one needed SO much more editing. So much more. However, the premise was absolutely brilliant, but the execution…not so much. And that was the most terrible bit of all. I hate wasted potential like nothing else.
Final verdict? While “Strange Fates” has a wonderful premise for an urban fantasy genre novel, its execution needed so much more work. But that’s just how I feel about it. “Strange Fates” is out now from Orbit in North America, so check it out when you get the chance!