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Fated by S.G. Browne

Fated (edition 2010)

by S.G. Browne

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1982859,376 (3.71)23
Authors:S.G. Browne
Info:NAL Trade (2010), Paperback, 368 pages
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Fated by S. G. Browne


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Originally Published On My Blog www.thebookavid.blogspot.com

In "Fated" the personified Fate, also known as Fabio, falls in love with a mortal.

S.G. Browne is one of those authors that wants to provoke. He deliberately chooses topics that might offend a lot of people, or manages to make a socially acceptable novel plot offensive. I'm in love with that, but in "Fated" he just failed. Yeah, writing about Gods and showing alternative versions to what actually happened 2000 years ago. might be a little on the profane side, so I'll advise everyone that is strictly religious and doesn't like people to mess with religion in a humoristic way to stay the hell away from this novel.
Throughout the entire novel I had the notion that the sole purpose of it is to deliver social critique. I get it, humans are horrible and driven by consumerism, show little to no compassion and are basically a waste of oxygen. I get that, S.G., no need to repeat this at least fifteen times. Another thing that Browne does that drives me nuts sometimes, is repeating jokes that he thinks are so funny, they're worth being written down at least five times. There's thing one striking thing in "Fated" when he introduces a To put it straight: Character XY is ..." - and it makes me want to kill someone. If you're introducing fifteen characters in one page, you can't write this fifteen times, for the love of God, WHO edited this?! I'm rambling.

Now to the characters. Fabio is a remarkable and interestign character that is definitely worth getting his own story and I loved how he went through significant character development. However, his character development is extremely obvious and you coudl've guessed what's gooing to happen already on page five. His love interest Sara is a major Mary Sue and has no personality whatsoever. I was annoyed by her being beautiful and perfect and accepting and everything and it made me want to strangle her. The fact that he confesses his superantural nature to her and she just nods and accepts it, is lazy writing. Browne made no effort whatsoever to give her personality. Her entire character is defined by being the perfect match for Fabio and not even once acting like a rational human being. Wherever she goes, people smile. Whomever she talks to, has a perfect day. Come on. Come on, here.

It's almost impossible to keep up with all the characters in "Fated" - every single human emotion has a correspondign character and yet again, this is lazy writing. Browne NEVER states at no point in the novel what these characters actually are besides personifications of certain emotions. Also the fact that they are not always present when people act according to these emotions makes me think that there is no purpose? Or are they just necessary whenever something big is going down? And yeah, despite explaining five times what the difference between Fate and Destiny is, I still didn't get it. So, you can mess with your destiny but not with your fate? How come people managed to change from fate to destiny? Because of Fabio? Plothole.

Browne manages to tease the reader extremely by not giving answers to the most interesting things. The actual plotline and love story between Sara and Fabio is boring and somewhat annoying. I rather would have read about Teddy, the personification of Death and his relationship to Fabio. Or about the Devil! How come the Devil didn't get an appearance? If you're going to write about heavenly matters and basically angelic creatures, you have to include the devil, unspoken rule I just made up. (Characters 2/5)

Some of the resolutions in the novel make absolutely no sense. Fabio's Fate in the end is stupid and I don't understand why God wasn't informed about that. If God is as almighty and allknowing as he is portrayed like in the novel, he must have known and there should have been foreshadowing in the novel. It just seems like a very convenient conclusion for the story that doesn't make the author have to make any effort at all - just by ending it like this, the novel doesn't come full circle and just leaves me as a reader confused and angry. And come on, this is too incestuous for a comedic novel.
Another convenient coincidence is how Fabio finds out about Destiny's involvement. I'm not going to go into any detail in order not to spoil the novel for anyone, but it makes NO sense for her to leave clues that obvious especially not given the fact that she has such a skilled accomplice. (Plot 1/5)

While I do love S.G. Browne for his cynical I-don't-care-Attitude and the fact that he just writes about whatever might upset people, I feel like this novel chronically suffers from Shitty-Second-Book-Syndrome. "Breathers" was almost too brilliant for a first novel and this disaster just had to happen. Fate, I guess.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Overall: Do I recommend?

No. It's fine if you're exploring S.G. Browne's works, but other than that, there is no reason for anyone to read this novel. It left me unsatisfied, the characters are all over the place and it generally feels like a rough draft. - ( )
1 vote bookavid | Sep 22, 2014 |
About a week ago, The New Yorker's Page Turner blog featured a post by Joan Acocella that discussed the reasons behind books ending badly. Not sadly or routinely (as deaths and things that might occur at the ends of many books are in fact appropriate and moving and cause you to cry for hours - see: The Musketeer Trilogy) but, as Acocella says, "inartistic—a betrayal of what came before."

Acocella goes on to cite Wuthering Heights, David Copperfield and Huckleberry Finn as perfect examples where a large chunk right at the end of these previously outstanding novels, the authors have chosen to switch gears and tell stories that no one wants to hear (specifically here, the plight of Catherine and Heathcliff's children, a boring marriage, and Huck resuming stupid antics as directed by the comically inappropriate Tom Sawyer).

The two novels I want to talk about today are very different in tone, complexity and literary appeal. But, when boiled down, they're actually pretty similar. And both of them have terrible, awful, no good, very bad endings that, I think, they should be called out on.

The first of these is Pete Hamill's 2002 best-seller Forever.
From the publisher's website:
"From the bestselling author of Snow in August and A Drinking Life comes this magical, epic tale of an extraordinary man who arrives in New York City in 1740 and remains...forever.
From the shores of Ireland, Cormac O'Connor sets out on a fateful journey to avenge the deaths of his parents and honor the code of his ancestors. His quest brings him to the settlement of New York, seething with tensions between English and Irish, whites and blacks, British and "Americans," where he is swept up in a tide of conspiracy and violence. In return for aiding an African shaman who was brought to America in chains, Cormac is given an otherworldly gift: He will live forever -- as long as he never leaves the island of Manhattan.
Cormac comes to know all the buried secrets of Manhattan -- the way it has been shaped by greed, race, and waves of immigration, by the unleashing of enormous human energies, and above all, by hope.
Through it all, Cormac must fight a force of evil that returns relentlessly in the scions of a single family whose path first crossed his in Ireland. As he searches out these blood enemies, he must watch everyone he touches slip away. And so he seeks the one who can change his fate, the mysterious dark lady who alone can free him from the blessing and the curse of his long life
Drawing on Pete Hamill's bone-deep knowledge of New York City, Forever is his long-awaited masterpiece, a Shakespearean evocation of the mysteries of time and death, sex and love, character and place. It is both an unforgettable drama and a timeless triumph of storytelling."
Sounds pretty good, right? It is. It's a fantastic novel. And I mean novel. It's over 600 pages long. It's dense. It's beautiful. I loved....almost every second of it. Because if there's one thing I love more than a novel that is just plain beautiful, it's one that's impeccably researched and just plain beautiful. And this is a prime example. Until the end.

You see, according to Hamill (I think it's in the interview in the back of the edition I have) he lets us know that he completed his final draft on September 10th, 2001. The next day, the world changed. He spent the next nine days working for the Daily News and requested an extension from his publisher, which was granted, and he spent the next year changing a huge chunk at the end. Because, as he says, you can't have "a New York novel that ha[s] the 1835 fire and the cholera and smallpox epidemics, and not include September 11." And while I agree with that, I have to wonder at Cormac's decision making in a post-9/11 world.

In the very end, he has a choice: he's been on a journey for centuries now, everything has led up to this moment at the very end when he can either follow his loved ones on the path to the afterlife that awaits him, or he can hang out for the next fifty or so years with his baby mama until everyone he knows this century dies and he has to start all over, still never leaving the island of Manhattan, and still never being reunited with his parents. One is a beautiful and cathartic ending, the other is the let-down to let all let-downs down. Guess which one he chooses. Think Juliet waking up and deciding to marry Paris.

And you can bet that those last hundred words or so that totally ruin the entire book were something that Hamill wrote in the original draft. That's the worst part. Even with the re-writes and the terror of 9/11, he always intended to let everyone down.

The other novel I want to talk about is S. G. Browne's 2010 novel Fated.
From the author's website:

Over the past few thousand years, Fabio has come to hate his job. As Fate, he’s in charge of assigning the fortunes and misfortunes that befall most of the human race—the 83% who keep screwing things up. And with the steady rise in population since the first Neanderthal set himself on fire, he can’t exactly take a vacation.
Frustrated with his endless parade of drug addicts and career politicians, it doesn’t help watching Destiny guide her people to Nobel Peace Prizes and Super Bowl MVPs. To make matters worse, he has a five hundred year old feud with Death, and his best friends are Sloth and Gluttony. And worst of all? He’s just fallen in love with a human.
Sara Griffen might be on Destiny’s path, but Fabio keeps bumping into her—by accident at first, and then on purpose. Getting involved with her breaks Rule #1, and about ten others, setting off some cosmic-sized repercussions that could strip him of his immortality–or lead to a fate worse than death.
I almost don't want to even talk about this book. That's how much of a disappointment it was. The first 95% of it was great. And then Browne pulled what the Buffy fan in me would like to call an IWRY.

Fabio has completely screwed up. Jerry (God) decrees that Fabio will no longer be immortal. Fabio can't bring himself to tell Sara what's about to happen. Next day, Sara remembers nothing: not who he is, not what he was, not what they were to each other. The ensuing chapter is unfortunate and pretty pathetic. Fabio, now as a mortal, ruins his human life, makes Sara hate him, and then kills himself. All so that Browne can have him become, wait for it, the next Messiah.

And wait, it gets worse, Sara is the mother of the Messiah. So when Fabio, after he kills himself, regains consciousness within the womb, he's inside the love of his life. In the grossest way possible. Sure, when he's "born" again, he will lose all his memories and will have no consciousness of having ruined everything with Sara, etc. But...seriously? This is how you want to end this book?

It was a good book. It was enjoyable. It had some annoying stylistic problems, but I glossed over every single one of them because I was enjoying myself. But then this happened. Also, I was cool with the weird religious implications of that first 95% of the novel. And then it got a little too preachy right there at the end, losing all secular appeal.

Hamill's offense was greater. Clearly, this was the ending he'd always intended and, clearly, it was very rude for him to make us sit through over 600 pages of gorgeousness just to do that. But Browne's is more annoying, possibly because the book isn't as good and I was hoping the end would redeem itself a little. Instead it's just got a creep factor of 9 and a boring factor of 11. Both endings were pre-meditated and, unlike Wuthering Heights and David Copperfield where I think the authors kind of felt like they had to keep writing just so that they could eventually find the ending, they make the stories feel kind of cheap.

Alternately, there is Don Winslow's Savages which got a Hollywood treatment this summer. The novel itself isn't much. Winslow writes like a screenwriter for the most part and he keeps both the dialogue

and the prose pretty sparse. There's not a whole lot in the way of character development. But it's an insanely quick read if you get the chance. It's not Forever in its size or density or beauty, but the ending is such a great piece on its own, and it's so gorgeously written. It's the kind of ending that I would have wanted Forever to have. It's the kind of ending that Fated should have had. And if Don Winslow could have cobbled that together just for the end of his book, Pete Hamill and S. G. Browne have absolutely no excuse.

www.theliterarygothamite.com ( )
  laurscartelli | Jul 19, 2014 |
3.5 stars! This is a story of a love so powerful it can heal broken people. An abused girl grows up unable to feel emotions. When she takes a temp job for a hot wealthy photographer she never even considered they would have a connection so deep they cannot resist a slow build up of heated desire. the story unfolds from Laurens POV and her healing from the pain of her past and her brave lay it all out there honesty was refreshing. Caedan is a paradox, hot artsy womanizer that has never had anything more than sexual relationship with a long list of women. All that changes in a lust at first sight moment. His father had obsessive love issues that ends in tragedy and Caedan has made it his job to not ever fall in love.

I don't want you to miss out on the emotional roller coaster of this book so I will not discuss the ending. I will say that it is satisfying and hopeful.

( )
  sharonhd | Mar 13, 2014 |
What if you were Fate? You could see what is down people's paths based on the choices they make? Your best friend is Death and you have a frenemy in Destiny. You hang out with Gluttony, Sloth, Temptation, etc....and answer to the big guy... This is the premise of Fated. So funny and touching. Fabio is fate and is in a rut. His people just make bad decision after bad decision and he just can't bring himself to care anymore. After all, it's their decisions to make. Until Fabio meets a mortal that changes his life completely.

I loved this book. It is so touching and funny and just amazing. I highly recommend it. Better than Breathers, which I also loved. ( )
  bookwormteri | Feb 14, 2014 |
This is a clever combination of Greek/Roman mythological gods shown as underlings working for the Christian God, who goes by the name Jerry. Fate is getting a little complacent, a little sloppy in his work, and then he falls in love with a human. The ending actually surprised me yet made sense - I guess you could say it was "fated." ( )
  michellebarton | Dec 11, 2013 |
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For my parents. Thank you for believing.
First words
Rule #1: Don't get involved.
The thing about Destiny is that she's a nymphomaniac.
The thing about Sloth is that he's narcoleptic.
The thing about Gluttony is that he's lactose intolerant.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451231287, Paperback)

From the acclaimed author of Breathers--an irreverent novel about fate, destiny, and the karmic consequences of getting involved with humans.

Over the past few thousand years, Fabio has come to hate his job. As Fate, he's in charge of assigning the fortunes and misfortunes that befall most of the human race-the 83% who keep screwing things up.

Frustrated with his endless parade of drug addicts and career politicians, Fate has to watch Destiny guide her people to Nobel Peace Prizes and Super Bowl MVPs. To make matters worse, he has a five- hundred-year-old feud with Death, and his best friends are Sloth and Gluttony. And worst of all? He's fallen in love with a human.

Getting involved with a human breaks Rule #1, and about ten others, setting off some cosmic-sized repercussions that could strip him of his immortality-or lead to a fate worse than death.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:57 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

It's a grind, working the Fate Radar and the Fate Generator program and reporting to Jehovah--known here as Jerry--who believes Fate's work has grown sloppy. Even his no-contact romance with Destiny has become distinctly unfulfilling. Then he falls in forbidden love with human Sara Griffen, and once he reveals his true self to her, their relationship is drastically transformed, and, naturally, big consequences threaten to crush him--Booklist.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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