It's easier to stalk your perfect woman when you can be invisible.
That's what Fabio learns in S.G. Browne's novel "Fated."
Fabio is the alias used by Fate when he's among us mortals. He lives in a nice $3900 a month Manhattan apartment, and spends his workday assigning lifepaths to most of the million or so babies born each day, as well as keeping tabs on some of "his" charges. Fate counts 80% or so of humans on his rolls. His are the ones who lead lives of mediocrity or worse.
Fate has an ongoing lust/hate relationship with Destiny. Destiny's list has life's big winners: Nobel Laureates, sports heroes, movie stars. She's a voluptuous redhead, too, whom Fate finds irresistable.
Until, one day, Fabio sees Sara. Sara is a mortal who sells expensive real estate properties. They meet, and there's immediate chemistry. They fall in love. Which leaves our hero in a quandary: does Fabio keep gently dancing around Sara's questions about his job? Or does Fate break down and tell Sara the truth? Also, oddly enough, Sara is not on Fate's radar, which means she's on Destiny's roster. It leaves Fabio (and us) wondering, just what Sara's destiny will be.
Jerry ("Jerry" is the real name of God, Jehovah, Yahweh, etc) has a strict edict about not getting involved with mortals. The occasional one-night stand is tolerated, but under no circumstances is Fate supposed to engage in an actual relationship with a woman, much less reveal his immortal nature to a human.
Jerry breaks those rules, and then a few more. The result--his fate, as it were--is terrible for him. However, his destiny...that's a different story altogether.
"Fated" has some interesting ideas, and I liked the way some of Fate's coworkers are portrayed (Gluttony eats constantly, and when he passes small-g gluttony on to a mortal, it's by belching and blowing it at them (my brother does this, too)).
Also, I liked the relationship between Fabio and Sara, even after he reveals that he is Fate, and I was blind-sided by the excellent ending.
Generally, I enjoyed "Fated." It made me smile, and even laugh a few times (especially Karma being an alcoholic with a temper). However, I felt a sense of overkill in the first two-thirds of the book. Many of Jerry's workers only warranted a comical sentence or two, then disappeared from the story, having done nothing beyond serving as a punchline. Maybe "overkill" isn't the right word. "Overreaching?" or "Overexplaining?" The plot and story are fine on their own. It just felt like there was too much effort put into selling us the world of Jerry, Fate, Destiny, Dennis (Death), and friends; we'd have bought into Fate/Fabio's world with less explanation.
The ending earned "Fated" a fourth star. That's where we see how intertwined Fate and Destiny can be, and not just while having "non-contact sex" in a Times Square fountain.
If you liked Christopher Moore's "Lamb," I'd recommend this to you. If not--if you thought "Lamb" was blasphemous--you probably wouldn't appreciate "Fated" either, even though I didn't find anything especially sacrilegious about either book.
"Fated" is a good, thought-provoking read, even though--as do we all--it has its flaws.