Reading level: Adult
Mass market paperback: 368 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: St. Martin's
Release date: December 24, 2012
Series: Mystwalker #1
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed by: Jenn
My name is Hedi Peacock and I have a secret. I’m not human, and I have the pointy Fae ears and Were inner-bitch to prove it. As fairy tales go, my childhood was damn near perfect, all fur and magic until a werewolf killed my father and the Fae executed my mother. I’ve never forgiven either side. Especially Robson Trowbridge. He was a part-time werewolf, a full-time bastard, and the first and only boy I ever loved. That is, until he became the prime suspect in my father’s death…
Today I’m a half-breed barista working at a fancy coffee house, living with my loopy Aunt Lou and a temperamental amulet named Merry, and wondering where in the world I’m going in life. A pretty normal existence, considering. But when a pack of Weres decides to kidnap my aunt and force me to steal another amulet, the only one who can help me is the last person I ever thought I’d turn to: Robson Trowbridge. And he’s as annoyingly beautiful as I remember. That’s the trouble with fate: Sometimes it barks. Other times it bites. And the rest of the time it just breaks your heart.
I have seriously mixed feelings about THE TROUBLE WITH FATE. There are things I really admire about Evans' debut and there are things that really bugged me. I don't often have such strong love/hate feelings about books so I'm a little confused about how to react to this book. But any book that sparks strong feelings -- even polarizing ones -- is definitely worth talking about!
Let's start with the good. There is some great worldbuilding in THE TROUBLE WITH FATE. Hedi is half-Were, half-Fae and it makes for some interesting inner turmoil. Hedi pretty much denies her Were heritage and she's not a very strong Fae, except when it comes to mystwalking. She's good at that, though untrained, but it's a dangerous power and she has no one to teach her since her family is pretty much all gone. I really like stories that have the main character(s) discovering things about themselves and Hedi's journey with respect to her powers was quite interesting.
I also appreciated how real the stakes were in THE TROUBLE WITH FATE. Evans doesn't shy away from serious (and sometimes gruesome) consequences and that's another thing I appreciate. Serious stakes suck me in and there are points in THE TROUBLE WITH FATE were folks were in serious peril and taking major damage.
Evans also injects some really humorous moments in the story, which was great. Comedy is always welcome in my world, particularly when there are so many serious scenes in the novel. And Evans strikes a nice balance between action, drama, and comedy, which takes a lot of talent. In fact, her writing style really worked for me and I did really enjoy THE TROUBLE WITH FATE as a whole.
And now for the not so good: There were points in the book where I really, really didn't like Hedi. She kept harping on how she's not the ideal size because she's plump and how she is much in the looks department and I found it really depressing. She hates how she looks, rather than embracing her different body type. I appreciate Evans featuring a character who isn't a statuesque, gorgeous creature but I'd much prefer it if Hedi wasn't always down on herself. There are curvy women in literature who embrace their shape, the most famous example probably being Anita Blake, and I much prefer Laurell K. Hamilton's approach to a curvy heroine, which is to say it's okay. Anita is admittedly not plump but she does have a refreshingly sensible approach to her body. There's enough stuff about bad body image in the media and I don't want a main character who's constantly putting herself down because she's not some sort of glorified ideal.
THE TROUBLE WITH FATE is very much the beginning of Hedi's tale and I'm looking forward to THE THING ABOUT WERES, despite my issues with aspects of Hedi's personality. The writing and overall story of THE TROUBLE WITH FATE is more than enough to have me curious about the next installment in the Mystwalker series, particularly since THE TROUBLE WITH FATE ends with something of a cliffhanger. (Main storylines are resolved but larger ones emerge, much like in a Secret McQueen novel.) I have a review copy of THE TROUBLE WITH WERES downloaded and ready to roll so you can be sure I'm going to dive back in Hedi's world. I can't wait to see what Evans has come up with next.