313 of 359 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2010
Quick & Dirty: Ultimately this tale isn't captivating and lacks a real villain.
Opening Sentence: Around midnight, her eyes at last took shape.
Marketing almost sold me on this book, but the book itself couldn't close the deal. With a beautiful cover, the promise of a tragic love story, a creepy, gothic boarding school setting, and fallen angels, I expected a compelling read. Unfortunately, Fallen is a disappointment.
Fallen's protagonist, Luce, is a suspected arsonist, and claims that she's constantly stalked by malevolent shadows. Her parents, at their breaking point, send her to Sword & Cross, a boarding school. Once at Sword & Cross, Luce battles the typical "new girl" problems and immediately catches the eye of two hot guys at the school. She finds herself drawn to the mysterious Daniel and is determined to find out more about him and his past.
Fallen is a flawed novel and I had to struggle to finish. Fallen was crafted in such a way as to make the story predictable and ultimately doing little to keep the reader engaged. I knew Fallen was a series so I didn't expect the overall story arc to unfold at a breakneck pace, but I did expect something to actually happen. The pacing of the story is slow with little to no action. In my opinion, a lot of the chapters that were written really didn't do much to move the plot forward.
I think the most damning aspect for me is the author's inversion of the Show vs. Tell concept. Meaning, Ms. Kate did more telling than showing me what I needed as a reader. Daniel and Luce are supposed to have this amazing connection and be hopelessly in love, yet none of this is shown to the reader. Ms. Kate didn't establish enough background about Daniel and Luce's relationship to make this a believable or particularly compelling love story. I never established an emotional connection with the characters and their plights simply didn't resonate with me. The dialog was flat and character descriptions were inconsistent. There wasn't enough worldbuilding and as a result the story suffered.
My second gripe concerns the lack of characterization. The difficulty in writing immortal/supernatural characters for a sophisticated audience is that you have to respect their reality. For an immortal character, Daniel certainly lacks imagination, maturity, skill and purpose. His brooding and skulking around didn't make me believe that he was dangerous or a bad boy for that matter. Luce came off as a creepy stalker, pathetic, naïve, weak, and at times really annoying. The narrative voices of the secondary characters aren't particularly unique. With no real character development and growth, it was hard to care about them. I'm not sure if I will invest the time to read the second book in the series, Torment, because Fallen did not grab me.
Overall, Fallen falls prey to clichés. It's all buildup with no climax, and that left me more frustrated than satisfied. Ms. Kate seems to have left key elements of the story for later installments, and a bevy of plot devices weakened the story. With little depth to the characters or plot, I fear some seasoned and savvy readers of the genre will have a hard time falling for Fallen.
She looked up into a maelstrom of shadows. A spectrum of shades of gray and deepest black. She should only be able to see as far as the ceiling overhead, but the shadows seemed somehow to extend beyond its limits. Into a strange and hidden sky. They were all tangled up in each other, and yet they were distinct.
FTC Advisory: I purchased a copy of this book. In addition, I don't receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.
149 of 174 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2010
WARNING: SPOILERS. Not that you wouldn't figure them out yourself in a few pages, but hey, fair warning:
Wow, so with the vast difference in opinions I'm seeing in reviews of this book, I figured I'd throw my hat into the ring. I almost didn't read it, because of the negative reviews I saw, but I'm glad I did. Now there seem to be more positive than negative comments, but maybe I just misread the number of negatives the first time because I read them on my phone instead of a computer screen. Anyway, I liked FALLEN.
There were problems with this book. I'm not denying that. Most of the time Luce is searching for answers, but she really isn't figuring much out. The readers have pretty much figured out by halfway through, at least, that Daniel is a fallen angel and may well be among others of his kind at Sword and Cross. I mean, if the title wasn't a dead give away, there's the Paradise Lost references, and the whole "Los Angeles" thing. Coincidence? I think not. So, you're searching for a mystery that you already know the answer to for quite a while. Also, the first chapter let's the audience in on why Daniel might be fighting the relationship. I think that's the main problem: the audience knows WAY more than Luce, so it's easy to be exasperated by her ignorance. I left the book thinking of Luce as being a bit of a wimp compared to her hardcore angel retinue, but after some thought, I realize she braves a supernatural fire to save a friend; she hides the horrors of reform school from her parents to protect them and keep them from worrying; and she races into a cemetary of doom filled with creeptastic shadows and weird pyrotechnics of destruction to go save her boyfriend. Not bad for a human chick surrounded by supernatural beings. Luce turns out to be a pretty strong character, just not absurdly so. That's a good thing to keep in mind when you're annoyed at her for not figuring it out already. After all, she doesn't have an opening chapter or an obvious title to give her brain a hint. The fact remains that when the book reaches the falling action and these great mysteries are revealed, the audience already knows most of what is told to them. The majority of the information we want is left a mystery, to be revealed in a sequel. And that's irritating. However, there are several things keeping this book afloat.
-1) The Writing: actually quite solid. Lauren Kate really built good images of her story with her language.
-2) Romantic plot: this kept the story going. The readers may have figured out the central mystery: angels. But they'll stay to find out what happens between Luce, Daniel, and Cam. Speaking of Cam...
-3) Cam!! Thank goodness for Cam. It's not that I loved Cam as a person. The whole, 'I'm good, evil, back to being kind of good' thing was confusing, but Cam was a bit of a curveball. I didn't want Luce to end up with him, but I wanted to find out who he was and what his role was in all this. Cam is the main reason I will probably read the sequel: in lieu of the angel mystery which is obvious, the mystery of Cam is still beyond my grasp. Which is good. Cam constitutes a major redeeming factor.
-4) I'm really curious where the author is going to take this whole angel thing. Apparently there are good fallen andgels and bad fallen angels in this book, and that's new. I want to know how she's going to spin it...and what Luce's baptism or lack there of has to do with anything.
I believe I saw someone say there was nothing original about this book: that it was all recycled. I can see some parallels: Edward and Bella's whole, "We can't be together. I'll hurt you." dangerous relationship thing is in there. The reincarnation and repeated falling in love is reminiscent of EVERMORE, though, in my opinion, FALLEN does it better. However, a reform school for delinquents and crazies populated by humans and fallen angels? That, to me, seems pretty original.
Overall, I liked the story. Despite some flaws, I enjoyed it. FALLEN was pretty well written, and it kept me reading. I really wanted to find out what happens, and I still do. I guess I'll just have to wait for the sequel.
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2011
Take a look at the cover. Look at it. Do you see that lady covering her face with her hands? That's me after reading this book. Why? Why did I read this book? I AM FILLED WITH SHAME AND REGRET.
Again, we have another *Twilight* clone, but this book makes *Twilight* look like the Great American Novel. Reading this book is like entering a kind of prison where you are forced to hear every inane thought of the most shallow, dimmest girl in the world. Actually, it's not *like* that. It IS that. Luce, our heroine, has been sent to a reform school because a boy, like, spontaneously combusted at her fancy boarding school, and she was the only witness, so the police think she was somehow involved. *Fallen* follows Luce's year at this reform school, wherein she carefully examines the cuteness and dateability factor of every boy she encounters. Of course there's a *dark, tortured* guy who immediately attracts her attention. He flips her off when he catches her looking at him, so naturally she instantly falls for him. In fact, she becomes creepily stalkerish, using her one sort-of friend to steal his school file so she can learn more about him.
The pacing is abominable. We get more than 300 pages of nothing but "OMG he's cute, does he like me? Why doesn't he like me? Oh there's another cute boy! Is he cuter than Daniel? I don't know! Oh, what shall I do? Oh no, another boy caught on fire!" We are mired in boy-crazy teenage-girl minutiae and Luce's increasingly bad decisions. Then the final 30 or so pages are filled with many WHAT THE WHAT moments, hugely telegraphed plot points, and jam-packed with mysteries with no explanations only as an excuse to continue this drivel through not one, but two more books. Oh, we do get one explanation--a total "secret villain spends three or four pages talking about his/her diabolical plan and recapping everything [nothing] that has happened in the book so far" maneuver--but we wish we hadn't.
In addition, are we supposed to swoon over Daniel because he's broody and a bad boy? Not to spoil what happens in the book (since so very little happens), but given what Daniel knows about Luce and him and the history of them together, he is exceptionally selfish, or stupid, or both.
The writing itself is laughably bad. My favorite bad line might be: "Luce could hear the squish of her own mortification as all of Sword & Cross got its viewing of the meat-loaf-coated new girl." Yes, you read that correctly: THE SQUISH OF HER OWN MORTIFICATION.
I realize this book falls under "paranormal romance," but pretty much nothing in this book is believable.
And now let me once again mimic the cover image of this book, by hiding my face in my hands. Do you hear that sound? That's the squish of my mortification.
112 of 139 people found the following review helpful
Lauren Kate's debut novel, Fallen, has garnered very mixed reviews, so I wanted to check it out for myself. Unfortunately, I fall into the group that disliked the book. Following on the heels of other recent paranormal romances, FALLEN uses a fallen angel theme. After a devastating fire, Luce is pulled out of her high-achieving prep school and deposited within the rusted gates of Sword and Cross reform school in Georgia. Though plagued by visions of lurking shadows and the unexplained death of her classmate, Luce starts making both friends and enemies and drawing the attention (both good and bad) of two guys. Despite his cold behavior, Luce is inexplicably drawn to Daniel, and she slowly finds herself on a path of discovery about her past and her potentially devastating future.
Author Kate appears to be able to write well, as there are some good moments here and there in the novel. However, these moments were outweighed for me by the clumsy dialogue and forced attempts to create a dismal, southern Gothic atmosphere. While the author tried to create a strong sense of place, the descriptions of the South and the reform school were so filled with contradictions that each setting seemed implausible. Editing was also lacking in the book, and these mistakes pulled me out of the story. Further, character development was very limited. Luce came across as mostly inept and uninspiring, even though we're told she's smart, beautiful, and worthy. The romantic connection between the main characters felt superficial at best. Luce's love for Daniel may have been fated, but I never felt why the two loved each other so desperately. The secondary characters of Gabbe, Arriane, and Cam were more interesting, but they seemed like caricatures at most.
The book's story arc was mostly predictable, and the most interesting components, like Luce's constant hallucinations of shadows, were dismissed casually once they were finally mentioned. We're told the two main characters have a damned love, but it was never explained why. Nor was it ever explained why these angels had fallen and why some were now fighting for good and others for bad. All of these things, including Luce's involvement as a catalyst for events to come, were never explained. It seemed obvious that these questions were left unanswered to set up things for the forthcoming sequels (including Torment), but I feel that readers could still anxiously await the next installment while understanding why it's all linked and all so important.
Combined, these concerns made this book a very unsatisfying read for me, but I'm glad that others enjoyed it so much. In the three coming books, I hope that Kate better develops the connection between characters and that she provides more background about Daniel's and Luce's relationship.
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2010
Luce Price (who has a truly annoying family motto I have actively forgotten) accidentally killed someone. Or the shadows that follow her around accidentally got into arson one day. Whatever. It's not like we get any explanation on the shadows that follow her around, so I'm not going to spend more time than I have to on them. Shadows follow her, antagonize her, and, like me, want to set everything around Luce on fire. Because the shadows randomly killed someone and she can't quite recall how it happened, she is sent to reform school.
This is the only strong point of the book, so enjoy it now. Reform school, where the kids are not cuddly and no one dazzles, shimmers, shines, sparkles, or is slightly luminescent. We are escorted around school and Luce stumbles across the heavenly visage of Daniel, reform student with attitude, who is so gorgeous and blond and gorgeous and muscular and gorgeous. Then he flips her off, because she's staring at him and he feels this is appropriate. Luce, weirdly enough, decides he's perfect for her.
The book takes a sharp nose dive right about here. It never recovers. So in lust with this boy who apparently thinks she is crazy/stupid/weak/annoying/creepy/what have you, she begins to stalk him and act like a total loon whenever he interacts with the opposite sex. Daniel, hiding a terrible secret, keeps making really awful attempts to hide this secret while simultaneously treating Luce horribly. He abandons her, ignores her, talks down to her, speaks slowly so she'll comprehend the very short words coming out of his mouth, and then goes and broods about it in a super enticing way so Luce can fall more into lust. Boys who treat you poorly are awesome, clearly.
Meanwhile there's this other guy, Cam, who is devilishly charming if not for the fact that he gets into lots of bar fights in totally random ways. He almost wins Luce over, only because we have to have a love triangle to add tension in a weak story about two people with no chemistry whatsoever who are in magical love based on outer beauty and destiny...or whatever. After many of Luce's questions go unanswered by Daniel because she is apparently too stupid to grasp any explanation, it becomes pretty obvious that most everyone besides Luce is a fallen angel. Specifically, the Grigori, who, legend has it, mated with people and created the Nephilim. This is kind of screamingly obvious, given Daniel's last name is Grigori. Luce, who is self-described as intelligent, takes forever to realize this despite the fact she's been stalking him and internet researching Daniel's name for weeks on end.
Somehow Daniel decides to succumb to the tantalizing awesomeness that is the lust-fueled void of Luce's personality, and all hell breaks loose...not that we see that because Luce is too dumb to realize she's been purposely herded into a closet.
True to the form of these books, surface beauty rules the day. Personality, which Daniel and Luce both lack, isn't important. Not to mention, having a life outside of boys isn't really necessary, right? The whole thing reads like an elementary school saga. If these kids were about eleven, I'd believe their antics. As it is, their emotional depth doesn't match their worldly knowledge, especially in the case of Daniel and Cam, who should be old enough to know better seeing as how they've got to be a few millennia old by now.
Ultimately, Fallen is a dull story trying desperately to cash in on the Twilight phenomenon. Nothing more.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
After witnessing the horrific death of one of her classmates, Luce Price is forced to leave her old life behind and attend a prison-like boarding school in Savannah, Georgia. Called the Sword & Cross, the school is home to a student body of troubled teens. Cell phones are forbidden. Students are restricted to the same classroom for the entire school day. The dorms may be clean and modernized, but other aspects of the campus are just plain weird. The school's Olympic-size swimming pool, for example, is built in the middle of an old church that still retains its religious decorations and art on the walls. But Luce seems to settle quite comfortably into her new home; within the first few days she has made several friends and attracted the attentions of the two best-looking guys in the class; Daniel of the smoldering violet eyes and Cam of the rock star sensuality. Cam is friendly and sweet, always ready with a gift or a kind word; Daniel is the sort of boy who takes a girl to a lake in the middle of the woods, flirts with her, and then suddenly ditch her. Guess which boy Luce falls for? Both of these mysterious boys are clearly hiding something from her, but Luce has no idea that the supernatural can be found behind every corner at Sword & Cross...
This book? She sucks!
My first rant...Luce Price is supposed to be one smart li'l cookie. At one point she rattles off to Daniel a laundry list of her accomplishments:
"I spent three years on a full academic scholarship at the best college-prep school in the country...I had to petition - petition! - to keep them from wiping out my four-point-oh transcript...I know Latin and French, and in middle school, I won the science fair three years in a row...I also do the Sunday crossword puzzle, sometimes in under an hour."
But Luce can't figure out that Daniel and Cam and, it turns out, half the school are supernatural creatures - specifically, angels and demons - until it is patiently explained to her by Daniel over three-quarters into the book! I mean the author clubs the reader over the head with so much SYMBOLISM and FORESHADOWING that I think Luce must be walking around blindfolded and ears stuffed with cotton to miss the clues. Even after Daniel explains things, Luce can't/won't believe him. In normal circumstances, that'd be understandable. But all her life Luce has seen black shadows that are invisible to others. From the moment she first met Daniel, she felt a strong connection. She has even had prophetic dreams about Daniel and his angel wings. His explanation - which, admittedly, is very poorly explained in some of the most awkward, painful dialogue I've read in years - makes perfect sense! But she refuses to believe him.
Backing up a little bit, the fact that the Big Reveal doesn't take place until the book's nearly over really kills it. I think the author was trying to build up suspense by delaying this, but it's SO obvious that Daniel's an angel that it just aggravates. Also, with these supernatural/paranormal romances most of the entertainment comes in trying to reconcile the 'new world' that the existence of the vampire/angel/werewolf/whatever reveals with the dullness of regular life. But we don't really get to explore this because there's no time left. After the Big Reveal, we move to the Big Fight, Anti-climatic Surprise, and straight through to Blatant Sequel Foreshadowing.
Ugh. Sorry to harp on this again, but it really bugs me that Luce couldn't figure out that Daniel was an angel on her own. She makes Bella Swan look like a friggin' member of MENSA.
The dialogue. It is AWFUL. Conversations are stiff, stilted. The characters themselves are so flat and lacking nuance that I guess their interactions would naturally be dull.
When we finally learn about the angels and demons...we don't learn about them. NOTHING is really explained. I mean, Daniel says again and again that he's 'damned' for his love of Luce...but we don't know why this is. Why are the angels are on earth? Why do these immortal beings disguise themselves as troubled high school students? Why does Luce constantly reincarnate every seventeen years? How does this fit into the Christian mythology - or should I say, mythology of Paradise Lost - that seems to provide the reference material for the story? Why do the angels care that Daniel loves a mortal? Hell, why does Daniel love this mortal? Why does Luce see shadows? What are the shadows? I mean, I've heard of leaving questions unanswered so that you have a lead-in for sequels but this is just bad world-building!
This is a poorly written, badly edited, unoriginal novel. Given that it's a paranormal teen romance, a field currently overpopulated with Twilight-ripoffs and mediocre, rushed stories, that's saying something. DON'T. READ. IT.
125 of 161 people found the following review helpful
Have you ever tried to finish a book even though you felt as if your life was slowly fading away as you read the book? Unfortunately this was the case with Lauren Kate's Fallen. Here is yet another supernatural young adult book where the "hero", and I use that term loosely, is a fallen angel. I've come to the conclusion that using fallen angel characters in young adult books just doesn't appeal to me. The problem is that an author will use this fallen angel character as the ultimate bad boy, but one that isn't redeemable or has anything to be proud of. All that matters, and is so important in getting across to young readers, that as long as fallen angel bad boy looks like a god or an Abercrombie model, has a dark demeanor, is rude and at times crude to the lonely, pathetic heroine, it is perfectly acceptable for this to be a believable romance because their love is meant to be! Why is it meant to be? No real reason, just take it at face value and don't ask any questions.
The problem with Fallen is that the action and overall story limps along, much like watching water drip from a kitchen sink. By page one-hundred I was ready to throw in the towel, but I decided to give it another fifty pages. And around page two-hundred I wanted to bang my head against the wall from the sheer boredom I was feeling.
Luce Price is being stalked by shadows that follow her every move. These evil forces have caused Luce a life full of woe where she cannot be considered normal. Her parents have sent her to specialists and given her medication to keep her stable. They think she needs major help and enroll her in boarding schools where she can get the help she so desperately needs. But then over the summer, there is a fire and a young boy is killed and Luce can't explain who or why it started. Now Luce has been enrolled in a new school for her senior year in Savanna, Georgia called the Sword & Cross School where her parents hope the strict rules and being watched by the teachers and the warden like staff will help Luce get better. What Luce walks into is more of a dungeon type place near an old Civil War cemetery and buildings that give off a creepy gothic vibe. The uniform everyone must wear is the color black and the crimes of these unstable students are kept a mystery. Luce is not sure who she can trust because anyone she allows into her life ends up being hurt or killed by the evil entities that stalk her.
The first few days Luce is at Sword & Cross are horrible. Because she's the new kid, she is ridiculed and almost hazed by those students who know how to get around the rules. But soon Luce makes some tentative friendships such as Arriane, a playful but very strange girl who lays claim to Luce and Penn, an orphan who likes to dress in multiple layers of sweaters. Then there is Cam who is very friendly and all too willing to help Luce settle in. Luce is interested in Cam, because he seems to be the only normal on in this asylum type school. But then Luce forms a small crush on another student, Daniel Gregori who is like a golden god with his, "deep golden hair, high cheekbones and almost unblemished look". Daniel keeps his distance and makes sure Luce doesn't get too close by giving her the finger on her first day and making fun of her. Luce can't understand why Daniel seems so disgusted with her. But, something about him calls to her and she must find out why! And still those dark shadows come out of nowhere, searching for a moment when Luce will be weak, where they will have their revenge and steal her soul. And the only one who may be her salvation the one who keeps turning away from her and that is Daniel.
Fallen should have been a dark, on the edge of your seat gothic type mystery romance. Instead, Fallen is a limp, insipid telling that lacked enthusiasm and spirit in every single passage. The feeling of doom and gloom, where I expected thunder and lightening on every page did not deliver in any way. The characters had no personality to recommend, I guess because of the amount of drugs they were given, and the so-called creepy antics that should make you jump and drop your mouth in shock is comparable to fireworks that don't go off the correct way and fizzle out of the sky.
The writing is awkward and the revelations that take so long to get to should deliver but don't. Unfortunately I can't tell you why Luce is so important and why Daniel is the key because I simply didn't care. I couldn't decide if Lauren wanted to make Daniel such an anti-hero to a point where he is so bad, but then wised up because who would sympathize with a character like him? He reminded me more of a hunchback sidekick to an evil scientist in a science fiction B-movie from the amount of times Luce would come in contact with him because he was always off to the side or next to someone who overshadowed him.
Luce's characterization is of a poor girl who has already given up and if she could, would role up into a ball rock back and forth under one of those gravestones with the angel statues on top. I wouldn't blame her if she did because she is stuck in a desperate world where there is no help or exit plan.
I simply cannot find one valid reason to read Fallen. I had this desolate feeling as I read, but for all the wrong reasons.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2010
It seems I still haven't learned to not always trust beautiful covers. Evil comes with all kinds of covers, especially pretty ones. Oh, and tragic, sure-to-be-doomed, star crossed lovers? As if we haven't had enough of that during the last few years. I should have seen the signs, still I went ahead and bought this book.
The story starts with a flashback to another era, not a super strong beginning (or original at that), but enough to keep you intrigued. Luce, the main character, instantly grabbed my attention because of how different she appeared to be in comparison with the "heroines" on other young adult novels. I actually expected her to be a strong, smart and capable protagonist. Or at least to have a backbone and not wait to be rescued out of every bad situation. Heck, I wished she could at least make her own decisions. Well, I was wrong. The part when she waits for Daniel (love interest) to nod his approval for her to accept an invitation to a party almost made me close this book and shove it into the dark depths of my overstocked bookshelf.
Of course she meets an otherworldly beautiful guy who goes out of her way to let her know how much he doesn't want to be near her. Then he's nice to her. He hates her again. He saves her life. He stays away, comes back and finally declares his undying love for her. Dejá vú anyone? As expected of any protagonist of a young adult book since the dawn of Twilight, nothing says eternal love like a guy who treats you like crap at fisrt for you to start stalking him and make him the center and only important thing on your life. I'm tired, no, I'm exhausted of reading young adult novels whose protagonists fall for the guy just because he is beautiful. Seriously, are we really that petty and shallow? If you wanted any spark, any deep, meaningful connection between the protagonists, well you are not gonna find it in this book. In fact, Luce and Daniel have no real, important conversation until way after they have already "fallen in love". Of course, Daniel running away like a child the other 5 times she tried to have a conversation with him didn't help at all.
The plot is incredibly predictable. I actually laughed when after 400 pages, our protagonist finally realized Daniel was an angel. The wings, the flying, the dreams, the way he shined, the violet trail he left behind him, nothing ever gave it away for her. Even worse, she came to the conclusion that he had to be an angel because he was beautiful and could live forever.
And the bad guys. Oh God. I don't even want to get started on that. The death of one of the most important secondary characters in this book was completely unnecessary. It honestly looked like a bad attempt to make the "bad" character appear really evil. But truly, the worst thing about the book is that through the last few chapters you start wondering if the author really thought her story through. At the end you get the feeling the author just wrote this book, making it as she went and with no real idea of what she would do next. I understand that not every single thing will be explained on the first book on a series. But I'm really tired of the old "No, you have to learn it by yourself" excuse to delay the telling of what is possibly the only thing that could keep a reader going on the series, especially because it looks like a lame excuse to cover the fact that the author perhaps hasn't even come up with a real story line for the series.
The book it's too long when you consider just how little of all that is told is truly meaningful and contributes to the development of the story and the characters. Once again, I find myself really disappointed with a book that could've and should've been great. I really hate it when a book has the elements and the author has the talent to really make a story incredible and just decides to go and repeat the same clichés that we have drowned in during the last few years.
56 of 74 people found the following review helpful
In "Fallen," young adult author Lauren Kate attempts to create the first in a grouping of novels that will do for angels what "Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)" does for vampires and werewolves. Knowing that supernatural themes capture the young teen girl audience like no other, Kate capitalizes on a formula that already works. However, she struggles a bit in her inability to generate the type of passionate, believable bond between her lead character and her love interest that will whip up her fan base to the type of frenzy that will vie with the Jacob/Bella/Edward triangle beloved by the readers of Meyer's "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" and "Eclipse (The Twilight Saga)."
As "Fallen" deals with themes of reincarnation and forever love, Kate does little to elaborate on illustrating the histories of her couple. She needs to generate a sense of the magic of their chemistry so that her audience clamors for more of their togetherness and roots for their eventual reunion. Instead she concentrates on presenting the confused and angst-ridden life of seventeen-year-old Luce, new to a strangely atmospheric reform school in the low country of Georgia. Troubled by her past and the weird shadow manifestations that haunt her, Luce tries hard to make her new circumstances work and to keep it all together until she lays eyes on blonde teen god Daniel Grigori and her focus cannot help but shift.
Kate spends nearly all of her 400 plus pages on describing the minutia of Luce's day, the girls that she perceives as either her friends or her competition and her attraction to Daniel and Cam, two of the school's hottest boys. But what should give the story its drive--the actual mystery regarding Luce, the school and its inmates and how her past life relationships with Daniel--is not really touched upon until the last hundred pages. Instead, Kate seems to focus on a portrait of a young girl with a typical young girl's questions and problems. However adequately Kate presents this aspect of Luce's persona, it slows the feel of the entire novel, making even climatic scenes seem dull. Because of this the story's big moments that should be anticipated are rushed and play out a bit falsely; Kate simply doesn't build up the feeling of the supernatural or the sense of timeless love too effectively. She doesn't make the reader weak in the knees, eager to turn the next page and swoon at her dialogue while savoring the couple's reawakened chemistry.
Unfortunately, I didn't feel any chemistry until it was almost impossible to ignore towards the very last pages. In fact, I found that I was reading the novel's most exciting scenes with the same lack of excitement that I read most of the book's contents. It is not as if the story is a bad one, however similar it is to Twilight and other young adult novels with the supernatural theme. It could have been wonderful if only Kate had driven her plot in a totally different way.
Take note. What makes the Twilight series so powerful is its ability to depict teenage love with its nuance, innocence and "to death do us part" intensity. Edward and Bella "grew" up with different sensibilities, but Meyers takes the time out to explore their complexities. Not that her style is perfect, at times her scenes are downright corny, but let's face it, on the eve of the debut of the film version of "," she has created quite a little industry for herself. Team Edward and Team Jacob would die for their respective heartthrobs. Would something similar occur for the sake of Daniel and Luce's love? I doubt it.
Kate could have used the trials and errors of Twilight to fashion a perfect little series for herself. But she did not. The reader is told Luce and Daniel are long-time lovers, but we do not feel their passion until it is blatantly depicted at the end of the novel. Kate almost had it right--she begins her story with a scene from the past--however, she abandons this technique once chapter one is underway. Why oh why didn't she continue with this flashback technique to give the reader the sense of forever love? Reliving chapters in this couple's multiple existences would have been both poignant and exciting. Plus it would have added to the pivotal moment of Luce's revelation in a way that would have solidified that "I knew it would happen" satisfaction that any reader enjoys if it is done properly.
As it stands "Fallen" has potential but it needs a lot of work. As a piece of literature, it falls short on many levels, most of which address the many loose ends that are never fully rectified. Even though it is the first in a series, the novel itself must stand alone in terms of its structure. This one does not. The ending cliff hangs over situations that are hinted at but never defined. Kate has her work cut out for her in the next installment.
Bottom line? Lauren Kate takes the idea of love lived over many lifetimes and like Twilight fashions one of her teen protagonists as a supernatural being. The potential for success is there if Kate structures her next installment in the series with a little more thought to the bond between her characters and intensifying the plot drive so that the reader stops yawning and starts turning those pages to find out what's coming next.
Diana Faillace Von Behren
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2010
This book was just so horrible that I am not sure if I can find words for it. Luce Price is the most idiotic character that I have ever met. She is creepy stalking Daniel, when she barely even know him. And will do anything for him, when she only recently met him. Daniel is also a selfish and a complete asshat to Luce. Wait he doesn't even deserve that word, because he is worst then that. I didn't really learn anything about the characters, because Luce was only obsessed with Daniel. What you do learn about the other characters is rather bland and repetitive. The plot is also extremely slow. The real action only takes place in less then one hundred pages and isn't extremely interesting.. This book was really similar to a lot of the horrible paranormal romance that I have read. I would love it, someone came with a book, with a brooding paranormal character. Kate needs to put more detail into her books and also develop the story arc and characters more. You might like this book, if you enjoy paranormal romances, but I would suggest getting it from the library if you must