For someone whose comfort zone definitely does not lie in the Urban Fantasy genre, I seem to be unusually giddy every time I dive again into the enthralling world of the Fate series. And then just when you think a series could not possibly get any better, you find yourself inhaling page after page, delighting in every word, every uniquely weaved sentence, every unexpected storyline development from an author who not only consistently delivers exceptionally high quality prose, but whose writing skills are only matched by the sheer genius of her imagination. This third instalment of the series did not only live up to every expectation I had, it simply blew them away.
Chloe Lilywhite has left her entire world behind and escaped to a remote town in Alaska, a new identity concealing her past and giving her the chance to start afresh. She has abandoned the two men she loves the most in the worlds without even saying goodbye, hoping that her disappearance from their lives would help them mend their strained relationship and give them a chance to find happiness. But while her newly assumed name offers her the anonymity she needs in order to distance herself from her old life, her memories and dreams are not as kind, tormenting her and constantly making her question her decisions.
“Sometimes it’s hard to move on, when memories refuse to let you go.”
Loneliness would make her aching heart even heavier had she not found an unlikely new family who’ve quickly accepted her as their own and whose love has soothed some of the longing she constantly feels for her two Connections. Will and his father have become the family Chloe has never had at home, showing her the power of something her own parents have never given her – unconditional love. They sense Chloe’s emotional baggage but they give her the space to face her own demons, their unyielding support being the very thing Chloe needs the most right now.
The dangers of Chloe’s reality are never too far away, however, the Elders eventually tracking her down and renewing their attacks on the young Creator. With Will’s unexpected help, she succeeds in making progress in her fight against the vicious beings, but the Elders are not the only ones to find her. As her location is revealed, Chloe decides to return to Annar, not only with new knowledge of the Elders’ weaknesses, but also with less confusion in her mind and her heart.
“Connections don’t define you. Having a partner doesn’t define you. Love doesn’t define you. You have to do that yourself. You have to decide who you are, what you want, and where you want to go. But when you do find somebody you want to share your life with, it needs to be for the right reasons.”
But coming home also means facing the one she hurt the most with her sudden departure. Her time away might have helped her accept and make some sense of her conflicting feelings towards her two Connections, making her also realise the difference between them, but that knowledge came with a hefty price to pay – the pain of the one man she loves the most in the worlds.
“… forever is a really long time when your heart wholly belongs to a person who doesn’t reciprocate in kind.”
This is in so many ways Chloe’s journey of self-discovery on her path to becoming master of her own feelings. At the end of this book, Chloe is no longer a pawn of Fate – she has taken her future into her own hands and owned up to all her actions and mistakes. The romantic angle in this instalment is breathtakingly moving, we watch her choose the love of her life and fight for his affections, doing all that is in her power to become worthy of his love again. We watch their relationship gain new foundations, grow, take flight and become unshakeable. It is a sight to behold.
With the introduction of lovable new characters, new developments in their battle against the Elders and strengthened bonds between our key players, we are set on another rollercoaster ride and this time it definitely feels like we’ll need to fasten those seatbelt real tight.
I said it a million times before and I’ll say it again – this series is exceptional. Unique. Addictive. Compelling. You will become part of this world, you will grow to love these characters, you will wait for the next instalment with bated breath and you might even find yourself telling the author how the story should end. Not that I would “ever” do something like that.
“You’re the person I’d want to be with even if there were no Connection.”
Minutes later, functioning on autopilot, I’m on a bus across town, until, nearly an hour later, I find myself on the outskirts of Anchorage. It takes another hour before I locate a payphone. Thanks to cell phones, they’re hard to find in the wild. I’m an idiot, because this is the stupidest, riskiest thing I could possibly do, but I keep telling myself it’ll be just this one call. I just need to hear him say one thing. Just hello. It’ll be enough to help me get through the coming months. Maybe it’ll recharge me and my resolves rather than weaken me—because I’ll know I did the right thing if he sounds happy, that everything I’ve done and gone through will be worth it.
My hands tremble when I pick up the receiver. I force myself to take a breath before I clean the black plastic with an alcohol wipe. I drop my coins twice before I get them into the phone. My heart jackhammers in my chest, but, as nervous as I am, I’m bursting with excitement, too.
One word. I’ll take just one word. He’ll say hello, maybe once, at the most twice, and then he’ll hang up. I won’t say anything in return. Better yet, if I’m lucky, I’ll get his voice mail. I’ll get a whole bunch of words then.
Each button is pressed slowly. The call will go fast; it needs to tide me over for months. The ringing in my ear competes with the thundering in my chest. His phone is ringing. Gods, I’m going to pass out. My breathing, my heart—everything is fast and hard right now. I’ve got to get myself under control. Can’t have him think I’m some deep breathing stalker or anything. Can’t raise any of his flags.
The butterflies in my chest break free. My ribs open up, my skin parts, and that muscle in my chest flies right on out. Jonah! Jonah’s answered and he’s said hello! He sounds . . . well, not happy, but tired. Which could be work or—
Elation morphs into searing pain. I miss him. I ache for him so much right now that it takes me physically biting my tongue until it bleeds so I don’t answer him back.
If I could, I’d say: I love you I’m sorry I miss you I want you I made a mistake I wish you nothing but happiness are you happy please tell me you’re happy that everything I’ve put us through is worth it you deserve so much more than a broken girl like me are you happy Jonah do you miss me have you moved on is your life good please tell me that this has all been worth it please please please—
Everything around me hazes. I can’t see my surroundings. Why is it I always break down in payphone booths?
A dial tone fills my ear.