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Friday, February 14, 2014

Blog Tour: Fates by Lanie Bross (Review, Guest Post & Giveaway)

Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology, Paranormal 
Publication.Date  February 11th 2014
Published By:  Delacorte Books for Young Readers
AuthorLanie Bross

Fates on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

What if your destiny was to kill the one you love?

One moment. One foolish desire. One mistake. And Corinthe lost everything.

She fell from her tranquil life in Pyralis Terra and found herself exiled to the human world. Her punishment? To make sure people’s fates unfold according to plan. Now, years later, Corinthe has one last assignment: kill Lucas Kaller. His death will be her ticket home.

But for the first time, Corinthe feels a tingle of doubt. It begins as a lump in her throat, then grows toward her heart, and suddenly she feels like she’s falling all over again—this time for a boy she knows she can never have. Because it is written: one of them must live, and one of them must die.

In a universe where every moment, every second, every fate has already been decided, where does love fit in?


When she was a Fate, she could commune with the Unseen Ones simply by standing at the river of knowledge and asking questions with her heart. She had asked them once if the sky moved or if Pyralis did. The answer had come back to her in silent pulsing waves: We exist nowhere and everywhere; therefore, we move with all and none.
He had made her question everything; he had made her see the world differently. He was stubborn and opinionated and selfless and loyal. She wanted to see him again, to tell him he was right, ask kim to tell her more about his family, his friends, his dreams. She wanted to show him she understood, now, why he had to save his sister. That she knew what it was like to care that much for someone else.
Humans concerned themselves with so much that didn't matter, with so much they had no stake in. Why? As a Fate, she and her sister Fates lived in perfect harmony. Each had a task and a role. They were like threads in a large tapestry. Each individual strand was insignificant, but together they made something whole and beautiful. That was the essence of Pyralis: balance, equilibrium. 
A horrible destiny: gripped by her own indecision, compelled to spin forever at the hands of those who wished to control everything.
"Seems funny to care about all this bullshit," she finally said, "when the universe is so much bigger than this... than us."
There will be chaos in Pyralis, Tess. There will be blood. One of their own carries, even now, the seeds of destruction back to its shores. 

       This was a really entertaining book and a unique take on the Fates (otherwise known as Moirai from Greek mythology). The worldbuilding was solid and interesting enough to really grab me from the beginning, and even though some developments seemed very "convenient" to say the least, I can honestly say that I had fun reading this one.

     The story is told in dual third person perspective, alternating between the point of view of Corinthe and Lucas.

     Corinthe is one of the sister Fates. She's been exiled from Pyralis for being "too eager, too curious, too questioning". And she can't go back until the Unseen Ones permit it. She and her sisters keep the universe in balance by making sure that all destinies are fulfilled - "most destinies would be fulfilled on their own, but the clouded marbles, the damaged ones that she and her sister Fates gathered, needed extra attention." Corinthe is now an Executor and her job on Earth is carrying out unfulfilled destinies. She lives among humans, blending in and pretending to be one of them.

     It had been ten years since Corinthe's exile as an Executor, ten years of completing assignments, and now it's finally time for her to return home. She has one last job to do and then she can go back to Pyralis. Only this job will prove to be the hardest of all. To live, she will have to kill the one she loves. And what she doesn't yet know is that there's a lot more at stake than just her and the boy's destiny.

     Now, if you're familiar with the Fates from Greek mythology, you know that they were three sisters: Clotho (spinner), Lachesis (allotter) and Atropos (unturnable). You also know that they controlled the metaphorical thread of life of every mortal (possibly even Gods). The Fates is this book, though, are a bit different. First of all, there are more than just three (though we only get to meet one, Corinthe). And second, their "jobs" are different. While Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos each had a specific "job" to do - one was responsible for birth, one for the length of life, and one for death - The Fates we meet in this story deal with destinies, making sure that everything goes smoothly and according to the "big plan". They intervene when their help is needed, they make people fall in love or break up, they cause seemingly accidental deaths, etc. In other words, they're like puppet masters I guess. I kind of liked that concept, though I wish we'd get to meet the other sisters, too. In a way, we only got to explore one side of the story. We met Corinthe and her guardian, Miranda, and we learned everything about Pyralis, the Unseen Ones, the Tribunal and the Radicals from them. We know what Miranda's take on the whole *predetermined fate* was, but we didn't get to meet a character that would explain/argue the other point of view. I thought that would've made the story more three-dimensional. Additionally, I really wanted to learn more about the Unseen Ones and the Tribunal.

     I liked both the lead characters - Lucas a little bit more than Corinthe - but I can't say that I felt a strong connection to them. I didn't find their story particularly emotionally engaging, or their relationship convincing enough. Their strong attraction to one another felt rushed, even odd at times. Consequently, while I wanted to find out how their story ended, I wasn't very invested in it all. I did, however, really enjoy the passages describing Corinthe's first experiences on Earth, how she perceived this "foreign, terrible world full of obscene noises and blasts of light" (Pyralis is more like a calm and pure oasis compared to Humana), and how she slowly adapted. She seemed lost at first - terrified even - but being a strong and resourceful girl, she learned to face her fears and overcome obstacles. And, inevitably, she became more and more human with each passing day.

     Luc was described as a regular run-of-the-mill kind of guy. Not stupid, but not particularly clever either. He lives in a small apartment with his sister and dad, isn't especially popular at school and his only talent is being good at soccer. His girlfriend, on the other hand, is a very popular and rich hottie who lives in a glamorous mansion with live-in housekeepers. She's smart, talented and beautiful. Lucas' family is slowly falling apart - with his dad hitting the bottle again and his sister doing drugs at the age of 15 - while Karen's family is picture perfect. Needless to say, they're worlds apart. He knows he is extremely lucky to be with a girl like that, and yet something is missing.

     I really loved Lucas' devotion to his younger sister. He really loves her and cares for her, and it kills him to see her fall apart in front of his eyes and not be able to do anything about it. He is a good guy with lots of baggage and little hope, but he stays strong and does everything to keep the pieces of their fractured family life together. He's very selfless and caring. I really admired that about him.

     Like I said before, the world building in Fates is on a decent level. There are two main realms in this book; two worlds - Pyralis and Humana (Earth). There are also other interesting dimensions, filled with intriguing, magical creatures (such as the blood thirsty Blood Nymphs). The part of the world building dedicated to these dimensions was intricate and breathtaking, even if a little bit over the top at times. I loved the mythology, especially the fact that so much of it was eerie and dangerous. Some passages - particularly those describing how Blood Nymphs were made - were downright bone-chilling and disturbing. Sick, even!

     Free will vs predetermined fate. The power struggle between The Tribunal, the Unseen Ones and the Radicals. Convoluted yet intriguing political games, backstabbings and deception. Ambition and revenge. Manipulation and seeds of destruction. Love and death. Fates has it all and more! If you enjoy books built around mythological concepts, magical settings and characters, and plot lines filled with adventure and drama, you will love this one!

Guest Post:

FATES Worldbuilding aka How I Make Things Up 
In Fantasy and Sci-Fi in particular, the world or worlds in which a story takes place can almost become characters on their own. They are vivid and complex and play an integral part of the story. A lot of books center around one specific world, but in FATES, the Crossroads take Luc and Corinthe through quite a few different worlds.

The hardest part of FATES was making each world its own unique “character”. It’s fun to think about how to create an alternate world where the normal rules don’t apply, for example, in the Blood Nymph Forest, the weeping willow trees were actually carnivorous creatures, but they also had ties to the weeping willows in the human world that you and I know. I tried to take what I knew and put twists on it that will hopefully make readers go, “cool!”

Each world that I had to create needed to be different, but all part of cohesive, bigger plan of the Universe. So I likened the Universe to the human body in order to develop each world I needed. Because in FATES, every world was connected, and a tiny ripple in one could create catastrophe in another, so being aware of that really helped me to define how they worked. I think the hardest part for me was actually coming up with the differences in each one! Imagination is great, but it can also cripple the effort when four-headed mammothlike creatures want to be included where none are needed. (No, there are no four-headed mammothlike creatures in FATES for the record!)

I didn’t use a worldbuiliding bible when writing FATES as some writers do. To be honest, those intimidate the heck out of me! I had lots of notes, scattered all over the place, with ideas on what might be a neat thing to include. I did a lot of image searching to find pictures of deserts or space or deep, lush forests to get into the mood. Sometimes, just closing your eyes and thinking about walking through a midnight black world, in a cold so sharp it almost cuts through your skin, will give you what you need. Do your feet make any noise? Does your breath freeze on each exhale? Does your body hurt because the cold sinks so deep? What do you hear, see, taste?

I think those tricks can be used in most any writing, honestly. Combining the vastness of a new, magical world with the up close of the characters reactions and expectations will help give the story the depth to really make it feel real, no matter how fantastical you make it.

About the author:
Lanie Bross was born in a small town in Maine, where she spent the next 18 years dreaming of bigger places. After exploring city life, she and her husband and two young sons ended up coming right back to the wilds of Maine where they now live just one house down from where she grew up. Fate, perhaps? She loves chasing around her rambunctious kids, playing tug-o-war with her 95 pound Lab, and writing for Young Adults. Fates is her first novel.

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Random House, one lucky winner will get a finished copy of FATES! Open to US addresses only (No PO Boxes, please!)

ENDS: 02/28
Enter via Rafflecopter below!
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