In today's post, I'll review a book I read recently called The Fetch, which has a fantastic premise about Anastasia Romanov but (in my opinion) a rather flawed execution. A word of caution: this book is the first in a proposed series. While it stands alone acceptably enough, the story is not quite complete by the end of the novel.
Title: The Fetch
Author: Laura Whitcomb
Page Count: 384 pages
Stars: 3 of 5
- 3 = enjoyable. May have minor content issues or flaws in the writing.
Teaser: Calder is a Fetch, a “death escort” who brings the souls of the dying to a decidedly non-Christian heaven (there is no Hell, as Calder explains). After falling in love with an earthly woman, he breaks his vows as a Fetch and stays on earth to try to find her. The woman happens to be one of the Romanovs, on the way to her death on the eve of the Russian Revolution. The story “solves” the mystery of why Anastasia and Alexei’s bodies were not found with the rest of their family.
Age level: Mid-teens and up (15+)
Violence: 3 of 5
- 3 = between PG and PG-13 violence that plays a major role in the story
Romance: 2 of 5
- 2 = romance is minor but present (for instance, one kiss at the end of the story)
- Note: this book is technically classified as "supernatural romance." However, I felt the romance was really a side issue and hardly came up until the very end.
Language: 1 of 5
- 1 = replacement swear words
Christian worldview: Clearly, the idea of a Heaven without a Hell is contrary to Christianity at its heart. If everyone is saved, then how can God have any justice or integrity? To be honest, God was really brushed aside in the story as an unsolvable mystery. The book did mention a historical Flood and Tower of Babel, but its explanations were again not entirely Biblical.
My thoughts: My favorite part of this story was the incorporation of the Russian Revolution and the Romanovs. By setting it in such a specific time and place, Whitcomb managed to surpass the ordinary clichés of supernatural fantasy and add suspense in regard to how she would clear up the mystery of Anastasia. The idea of Fetches was also intriguing, although I don’t think the philosophy of them stands up at all against the Bible. Still, not a bad idea.
As far as the romance goes, even though the book is billed as “supernatural romance,” there really wasn’t any romantic interaction between the characters until nearly the very end. It almost left me wondering whether there would be any after all.
The book’s biggest weakness, in my opinion, was that it was far too long. The characters spend half of the book on a chase around the world that seems pointless, and then the ending breaks in abruptly. If instead the author had ended the story about halfway through the book, with the excitement of death and danger still in the air, I might have been a lot more satisfied.
Overall, The Fetch was an enjoyable read but not outstanding. I’d recommend it to those interested in Anastasia or in the modern genre of supernatural romance.