'Fateless' by Meli Raine
'Fateless,' the most recent release by Meli Raine, was my first exposure to her Stateless series. It's the third book in the series, and I feel like I might have enjoyed it more if I'd already been familiar with them, but it's still a page turner and if you don't mind first person narratives, this is a good quick downtime read.
From a writing standpoint, the story is solid. After all, Raine is a USA Today best selling author, according to the bio on her site. She's the author of several series, which lends her plenty of experience and she really does have some interesting ideas. I'm just not a fan of the writing style.
The story flip flops back and forth between the POV of two characters, Kina and Callum. Literally, every chapter it switches up. That feels a little too formulaic for me and everything is conveyed through the book pseudo-directly from those POV characters. It's not just passing through their minds as they observe this or that, it reads as if they're deliberately explaining it. In fact, it feels more like a tag team narration, than a story to experience.
There are some really intriguing plot points that could be great scenes, but they're a bit thin and seem to dissipate as they near their peaks. Kina and Callum are very likeable though and I found myself rooting for them quickly, which considering their backstory, is kind of amazing.
Though I feel the pacing is a bit off, I still burned through it in about a day. I think in an attempt to convey the action sequences, it often came across as hurried explanations and too frequent use of a couple important terms, but it's entirely possible that Raine intends for us to feel rushed due to the urgency of what's happening around her characters.
Unfortunately, after reading the premise, I'm afraid I went into the novel expecting something wholly different. The pitch just came across as more of a delusion based situation. "The future isn't real. The past isn't real, either," isn't literal. It's the psychological state these people exist in.
One big information dump does occur about two-thirds of the way through the novel, which I would have preferred to get in snatches as I read.. but at least it was handled well enough. Utilizing the militaristic themes, Raine was able to get away with one big meeting, but even I occasionally lost track of who was whom and how they were connected.
I was pleased with where the story went, for the most part. The things I hoped would happen, did, even if they didn't happen in the way I would have wanted. Ultimately, though it's a quick, average read, that's not a bad thing. There are some lovely scenes as well.
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