Title: Falling Out Of Fate
Author: Madeleine Ribbon
Cover Artist: Ginny Glass
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Larissa
Review Summary: Ever wondered what happens on the other side? Falling Out of Fate weaves an interesting tale about a ‘soul collector’ and the potential other half of his soul. The story is an interesting mix of angst and romance.
Kyon works hard as the second in command of the soul collectors, but his own soul is starting to crumble. He needs to bond with a compatible partner, or his mind will collapse and he’ll turn into a shadowy ghost. Death and Fate rely on Kyon for far too much to let him break, and they conspire together for a solution. When Kyon falls in love with Patrick, the only human who can see him, Death and Fate take it upon themselves to play matchmaker.
Patrick has been dreaming about Kyon since puberty. Constantly under the scrutiny of a violently controlling father, he doesn’t expect to have any choice in his own life. When everything goes a little unexpectedly during what should have been his death, he finds himself with a new and unusual future. Luckily, this one might include the handsome Kyon.
Kyon is determined to avoid the man he loves. He believes Patrick doesn’t need to live life with a reminder of his death hanging over his every move but he finds it harder and harder to stay away from his perfect match. Especially when Patrick keeps getting sexier and Kyon keeps falling deeper…
Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices
Falling Out of Fate is a story that is many layers of interesting. It has a spin on the theme of ‘soul mates’ while also focusing on how far someone would go to protect the one they love, even if it will cost them dearly.
Falling Out of Fate takes the reader to the ‘Other Side’ where the author has created ‘Death’s realm’ or the ‘Gray Realm’ and we get to see how Death and his reapers – or Soul Collector’s as they are called in this story – work.
The focus is on one Soul Collector in particular: Kyon, Death’s second in command. Thousands of years old, Kyon takes managing to a new level. In fact if you look up the word ‘manager’ in the dictionary, there will be a picture of him there. Only his age and work come at a price. Without his ‘Unfated’ – the other half of his soul and those who’ve fallen out of Fate’s web – he’s beginning to go shadowy and fade as his mind and heart are no longer in it.
This is where Patrick comes in. He is Kyon’s Unfated. We first meet him when he’s 18 years old. He lives under his father’s iron fist and has no choice in anything he does. As Patrick’s father is rather unstable, Kyon is assigned to watch him and as a result he watches Patrick grow up. Patrick has been able to see Kyon since puberty, though he doesn’t understand who Kyon is.
When Patrick time comes, he’s given a choice due to Kyon’s protective nature. Stay and become a Soul Collector or go back and live an uncertain life until his next death and come to work for Death. At Kyon’s urging and much to Death’s frustration, he chooses to go back.
Personally, I think Patrick choose wisely. At the time of his death Patrick had only lived according to his father’s rules and knew nothing of the world. He’s essentially still a child. While he would have grown under Kyon’s care, he wouldn’t initially be the man Kyon needed. It’s a big age gap between 18 and 2000 that is not only just about age.
Throughout the story we get to see how Patrick grows and becomes an independent man who is caring, smart and has a lot of strength. At the same time, he’s also very stubborn.
We don’t get to see as much of Patrick as we do Kyon as the story is told of Kyon’s POV. It would have been nice to get a peek into Patrick’s mind to see what he thinks of all of it and especially Kyon.
There is a lot more information on Kyon, though the story is very focused on Kyon and Patrick as a whole. Kyon is ancient, but a man with a lot of self-control and stubbornness. He’ll protect Patrick whatever the cost, even if it means he’ll become a shadow. While the souls of people who die get the choose their afterlife, there is none for Soul Collectors who fade. They either retire or become a shadow. I thought it was both admirable and stupid.
Kyon never tells Patrick the whole story and as a result Patrick doesn’t know about Kyon’s fading when he makes the choice to go back. Admirable and understandable as Kyon wants Patrick to life a full life.
Flowing from this choice is the niggle I had near the end. It’s basically a character assassination for Patrick. The entire story it is clear that Patrick has become this smart, independent man and then he goes and ruins it.
When Patrick finds out what Kyon has done, he’s understandably a little angry. However, he’s now aware that Kyon is fading. Yet, he completely ignores Kyon and Death in his personal pout fest – that lasts a week – and Kyon almost fades as a result. Not the Patrick we’ve come to know throughout the story. While it creates some fun angsty scenes, it takes a bit of the ending away.
Apart from Kyon and Patrick, there is a good cast of secondary characters. We get to see a lot of Death and Fate and both characters are a hoot. They functioned as both comic relief and solid, integrated characters.
Despite the above mentioned niggle; the writing in this story is solid with some interesting world-building. The author creates a fascinating take on the afterlife, which in my opinion was a bit Utopian. I liked the part where there is no heaven or hell. Instead, the soul gets to choose its own afterlife. While this is perfect, there is no form of punishment. The author builds heavily on the philosophy that there is no evil but people are victims of circumstance. Hence a pedophile becomes so because of a traumatized youth or a serial killer because his grandma was terrible to him when he was little. That doesn’t quite work for me. In a perfect world, yes, but not the one we live in. However, since this story falls in the fantasy genre, everything is possible.
All in all, Falling Out of Fate is an enjoyable read. There are not many layers to the story and not a whole lot of depth, but there is a lot of creativity and originality to the story, well balanced with angsty and romantic scenes.