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THE FETCH by Laura Whitcomb


by Laura Whitcomb

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-618-89131-3
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Whitcomb (A Certain Slant of Light, 2005) again tackles possession, spectral romance and reconciliation with the past, with a decided lack of oomph. Fetches are dead souls who usher others from their “death scenes” through “the Aisle” to their final resting place; this Christian-based vision of the afterlife is fresh and engaging. Fetch Calder breaks his vows when he falls for a mortal woman and ends up possessing Rasputin in order to meet her, only to find she is the doomed Tsarina. He gifts two of her children (Tsarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Anastasia, here a winsome teen) with immortality but has unleashed mayhem by setting Rasputin’s spirit free and cannot re-enter the Aisle until he sets right these wrongs as well as those of his mortal lifetime. Sadly, the promising setup gets lost in a literally circular journey, and the romance is a bore. Also, the 2007 discovery of bones that definitively proved that Alexei and Anastasia Romanov died with their family makes the choice to use that mystery as an underpinning suspect at best. (Fantasy. 12 & up)