Sunday, April 5, 2009

Book Review: The Fetch by Laura Whitcomb

Calder has been a Fetch, a death escort, since his own death at 19 hundreds of years ago. Struck by the beauty of a woman present at a couple death scenes he is sent to, Calder implusively steps from Heaven back to Earth. Doing so strands him in the chaos of the Russian Revolution and tears a wound in the ghost realm where lost spirits begin a revolution of their own.

The Fetch is billed as a supernatural romance, but I would hardly describe it as such. Calder is much too restrained and detached to be a romantic hero, and though he and Ana do seem to care about each other, they never generate any real heat.

It does succeed on many other levels however. The earthly setting is a world ripped apart by World War I and Whitcomb makes Rasputin and the deposed Romanov family major characters in an globe-spanning adventure that blends fact with inventive speculation. History buffs have a lot to chew on here.

Whitcomb’s vision of the afterlife is never completely revealed since these scenes are all through Calder’s eyes and he seems to have missed the official employee memo about a lot of the specifics, such as what exactly hell is, but what we do see is certainly thought provoking.

The end verdict? I enjoyed it and admired it. But I could have used a tad more emotional investment to be truly passionate about it.

The Fetch is available in hardcover now.

18 comments:

charley said...

My co-worker read this recently and had a similar response. It's probably not one I'll read, but the premise seems interesting.

Elizabeth said...

I'd totally read this, but books set in the Russian Revolution often kind of annoy me. (I happen to know a lot about it, enough so that it bugs me when I feel like they get it wrong.)

This was one of several reasons I couldn't get into Marcus Sedgwick's much-acclaimed Snow White, Blood Red.

So I'd read it, but I'd steel myself up first!

Lenore said...

Charley - It is a great premise, and I see the difficulty in making a spirit who has been dead for so long NOT seem detached. So I don't really criticize it for that. I just don't think it's a proper romance. Which is fine with me.

Elizabeth - I've been meaning to read Snow White, Blood Red. I'm not an expert on the Russian Revolution but I have read a fair bit about it and I thought the author did a great job. I'll be interested to read what you have to say about it once you read it.

robin_titan said...

I really liked this one! :D

I agree I do not think this is a supernatural romance, they should just take that off the cover tsk tsk

Steph Su said...

Hmm, I just got this in the mail this past week. I didn't really enjoy A Certain Slant of Light, but I'll see how I feel about this one.

Lisa said...

Interesting premise and I do like books with a lot of history. And if it's not really a romance then I agree - take it off the cover. I am not a fan of romances and that would definitely deter me.

Emily Ruth said...

I thought it was really good but also a little different.. and I did miss the passion, though it gives an abstract air to Calder.

I could see some people hating it, and others loving it

Amy said...

okay I'm lost, I not THAT good at german. LOL:) Do you live in germany? I want to just for the school system(they get out in 9th grade).
great post! i actually own this one, but can't get past the first chapter. I keep wanting to skip around, which is weird because I thought I'd love it, being interesting in Anastasia and all...o well,
-amy

Jen said...

I see that book everywhere, but could never decide whether to read it or not. Think its a bit of a miss.

Thanks ^_^

Great reveiw!

Staci said...

very interesting premise that makes me want to read it. I liked your thoughts on it and will keep that in mind so that I'm aware that there really isn't much there to make me attached to it emotionally.

Elizabeth said...

Lenore: Thanks, that encourages me to read it.

Okie said...

Since I first heard about this book, I liked the concept and plan to read it...though I'm holding out for the paperback or library. Still sounds interesting, but I'm glad I'm holding off. :)

infiniteshelf said...

I've read "A certain slant of light" from Whitcomb and I loved it! I've been waiting for "The Fetch" ever since, I'm glad to see it got, mostly, a positive response. The premise sounds exactly like something I would love! Thanks for your great review! :)

S. Krishna said...

Sounds interesting but I think I will pass. Thanks for the review!

~THE OPTIMISTIC PESSIMIST ~ said...

Ohhh I loved A Certain Slant of Light.. It was such an interesting book. I am looking fwd to reading the Fetch.. A very nice review.

Ladytink_534 said...

Sounds like an interesting plot and all that but I would have had a major problem with no passion :(

Zibilee said...

I like the idea of the speculative history, and the idea of the portrayal of heaven, but it sounds like the characters are a bit cardboard, so I probably won't read this one.

Lenore said...

I wouldn't say they are cardboard...most of the characters are very well fleshed out - even Calder. He's just detached.