Strange Fates

Author(s): 
Release Date: 
March 7, 2013
Publisher/Imprint: 
Orbit
Pages: 
256
Reviewed by: 

“Minneapolis certainly isn’t a place one associates with magic. Perhaps it has something to do with the water.”

Nyx Fortuna has been on the run forever . . . literally. He’s lucky to be alive, but what can one expect since he’s the son of Lady Luck herself?

As the only male child born into the House of Fate, Nyx was destined for death but his mother disobeyed and ran away, taking her son with her. Now he’s on a mission to kill the three remaining Fates, his aunts the Wyrd Sisters, before they can find his life-thread and sever it. After that, he doesn’t care. Immortality’s getting to be a drag. He’s going to kill his aunts . . . then find some way to die.

Anyone who likes Greek and Roman mythology will enjoy this novel with its themes of magic and unrequited love and the thirst of a son to avenge his mother’s death.

Told from Nyx’s point of view, the story’s straightforward, slightly dark, and often irreverent, with snippets of flashbacks relating to what’s happening.

Nyx has been circling the globe since his aunts’ assassin killed his mother, waiting to grow up so he can begin his revenge. Currently he’s in Minneapolis where he’s heard his aunts are living.

He learns his aunts have started a manufacturing venture . . . soda pop . . . specifically a distillation of the nectar of the gods. Selling ambrosia to humans is strictly forbidden but the Fates like power and money equals power so perhaps they’d dare break the rules.

Minneapolis certainly isn’t a place one associates with magic. Perhaps it does have something to do with the water as Nyx is told.

In some instances this is more a tale of revenge and retaliation than of magic and the supernatural since it delves into the reasons behind the various characters’ motivations.

Things don’t work out as Nyx wants. He meets a girl and falls in love when he swears he’s never going to do that. As in a Greek play, the sex with Nyx’s sweetheart Elizabeth, as well as with a naiad named Willow, is mostly off-stage and fairly low-key. Being involved with Elizabeth makes Nyx promise to find her missing brother who just happens to do research for his aunts.

He also learns more of his own background, including meeting the man who might’ve been his father if Fate, specifically his aunts, hadn’t interfered, and he becomes friends with that man’s son who’s in love with Nyx’s cousin Naomi, a Fate-in-training.

As Nyx gets deeper and deeper into confronting his murderous aunts, he runs head-on into naiads in Minneapolis’ lakes, trolls, wraiths, necromancers, mages, and his aunt’s murderous assassin, Gaston, an ambrosia-guzzler driven mad by the heavenly drink. All want only one thing, the blood of one Nyx Fortuna.

Magic abounds in all its forms. As Nyx gets closer to realizing his goal, he’ll have to make a very desperate choice that may end that immortality he’s so long despaired. Now, however, he discovers he might actually have something to live for after all.

Not thoroughly dark urban, this very entertaining tale is set in a most mundane location. No aspersions on the city of Minneapolis, but it’s definitely not the place one would expect a battle between mythological Roman characters to be carried out, since Chicago, New York, or especially New Orleans are the usual battlegrounds of choice for such events.

There’s only one jarring moment in the story and that’s the rather abrupt ending. Since it’s the first entry in a series, perhaps that’s to be expected. Nevertheless, the reader isn’t let down gently.

In spite of that, Strange Fates is a page-turner, evoking more than a little sympathy for its main character. Definitely an appealing read.