Tuesday, September 06, 2011

"Fated" by S.G. Browne--Irreverent Fun

I think I was fourteen when I discovered Piers Anthony. I don't know where he ranks among fantasy/sci-fi fans, but he had a lot to do with my adult taste in fiction. I loved his "Incarnations of Immortality" series, perhaps because of my earlier infatuation of Greek mythology, and the idea that there could be modern incarnations of Death, Time and Fate really resonated with me. So it's little wonder that Fated by S.G. Browne, which offers another take on the personification of Fate, absolutely tickled my fancy.

Fate, also known as Fabio, has been around since he was created by God (known as Jerry to all the immortals) in the early days of the universe's inception to help manage mankind. Fate's job isn't as fun as Destiny's. Average people have their fate laid out for them, but only the truly special people are the personal responsibility of Destiny. Fabio has gotten bored of looking after the drug addicts, sex offenders and over-consumers who end up in his care. And with a success rate of less than thirty percent of people who actually live up to their potential, who can blame him?

But when Fabio meets Sara, an exceptional human being on the path of Destiny, and falls in love, he begins to think he may have judged humanity a little harshly. So Fabio decides to take a more personal interest in his people (rather than just relying on the computer program he currently uses to assign fates) and goes from being a disinterested bystander to active participant in their lives. But Jerry reminds Fabio that he is forbidden to directly intervene in human affairs and Fabio learns the harsh lesson of unintended consequences.

"Fated" is a loopy, funny story with the same sensibility of a book by Christopher Moore. If you like irreverent humor, and it doesn't get more irreverent than calling God "Jerry" (the "oh my Jerry" moments never fail to crack me up), then you should like "Fated" quite a bit. The story has a brisk, infectious pace that make this a really quick read. The constant introduction of "new" immortals to the mix gives the book a feeling of newness that never goes away. And as you get into the flow of Browne's writing style you can't wait to see how each character is personified-- and it's not what you'd expect. It might be strangely appropriate that Justice is a sociopath, but I can't say I expected Karma to be an alcoholic.

Despite its subject matter, "Fated" isn't a deep book. If you're looking for insight into the idea of Fate, Destiny or Karma you might be disappointed as "Fated" is far too breezy to spend any time on anything too heavy. I like the way Fabio spells out the difference between Fate and Destiny, and how one might change their assigned fate, but it's not the stuff of religious epiphanies. "Fated" also isn't the kind of book that lends itself to intricate character development. Despite the fact that Fabio has been around, forever, and seen it all (literally) he's a simple immortal in a meat suit (made to order by Ingenuity). Humans largely baffle him and most of his existence has been spent entertaining himself with other immortals. Sara's character is also mostly one-dimensional. We know she's special because she's on the path of Destiny, but other specifics regarding her personality are limited to the fact that people smile when they see her and her fondness for take-out food.

But as a light diversion, "Fated" absolutely works. The pace is so skillfully done that the story never bogs down and it's one of those books that'll make you lose a day on the couch because you continually want to know what happens next. I don't know if Browne intends to spend any more time with the immortals introduced in "Fated," but if he does-- I'm in.

4 out of 5 stars.


Blodeuedd said...

Lol, sounds very weird, but then I do like strange

animewookie said...

Oooooo I believe I shall love this. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention ;)