105 of 128 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Fallen (Hardcover)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.
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Initial post: Feb 26, 2010 7:06:24 AM PST
Once again, you've written a very fair and balanced review. :)
I think the fact that nothing was explained was what bothered me the most in this story. I felt like I was being manipulated - that if I wanted to know more, I had to shell out another $17.99. And I think you're absolutely right that the reader would still anxiously await the next book if a few things had been explained. Because we're still going to wonder what's going to happen next, and how these explanations fit in with the rest of the story. But, for me, a lack of explanation puts me off and makes me not want to read further.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2010 9:27:38 AM PST
Thanks again! :)
The lack of explanation, or what even felt sometimes like an intentional witholding of such, was so frustrating to me too. Even if it was "too much" for Luce to understand and survive, the reader could have been told more. That's the beauty of using third-person narration; you can do that!
I was equally bothered by what I saw as contradictions throughout the novel. The kids go to a very strict school, but they can disable a camera with a feather boa or a switcheroo of batteries and never get caught? They can have male students living right across the hall from female students unsupervised? Luce's parents are so loving and concerned, but they ditch her at the hospital and they send her off to Sword and Cross without first checking out the facility? Trying to create a Southern setting with flora and fauna that don't occur there? (That's the nature nerd in me talking, b/c most people wouldn't know that.)
Those things, plus the editing snafus, were just too much for me.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2010 11:29:04 AM PST
The parents drove me insane. Having two kids myself, there is NO WAY I could ever ditch my kids at the hospital they way they do. Luce's parents aren't bad people, but only uncaring parents could do what they did.
I was also bothered by how she got to Sword and Cross in the first place. The beginning of the story says she was ordered by the court to go there, and that she had a parole officer (which means she was convicted of something). Then, later, it says that the court strongly suggested she go there, and that her parents were complying because they wanted what was best for her. Doesn't make sense.
I read an interview with Kate not long ago, and she said she always struggles with plot. That's fine because we all have our weaknesses, but I really wish her editor would have paid closer attention to these things. And it's really a shame that the editing snafus made it into the final book (I read an ARC, so I just ignored them and assumed they'd be taken care of).
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2010 8:07:57 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Jun 15, 2010 9:15:23 AM PDT]
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2010 2:39:04 PM PST
Nope, can't stay away. I'm obsessed with all book discussions, both where I loved the book, and where I found issues with them. I'm not here just for Fallen. :)
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2010 4:01:46 PM PST
Tabitha - Unfortunately, I don't think most, if any, of the editing snafus were fixed in the final print. I looked at the first chapters before returning it today and found that it did reference the court order at the beginning, which I know changes later only to a court recommendation. I don't remember anything about the parole officer though.
Oh well. Just not our cup of tea, I guess. :)
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2010 3:11:57 PM PST
You're obsessed with all book discussions?!? Wow, you must be busy. There are quite a few book discussions going on in the world. Where do you stand on the Luther/Zwingli relationship as it's discussed in various theologico-historical studies?
Nope--it's Fallen you can't get over.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 28, 2010 5:28:59 PM PST
Well, now I am doubting myself...I am almost positive that I read about the parole officer early in Fallen, but I gave away my ARC so I can't check it.
Okay, B&N allows searching in Fallen, and I found where she mentions that she has a parole officer. It's on page 228. It's mentioned in passing and is easy to miss.
(yes, I realize I'm a nutball for looking it up) :)
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2010 4:22:38 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2010 6:29:15 AM PST
Ha, I don't think you're a nutball at all for looking that up! Had I known that B&N had such a function, I would have used it. I skimmed the first 40 pages just to find the part about the court order. :)
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2010 1:42:53 PM PST
Amazon has this feature, but it's not been implemented for Fallen. For whatever reason. I'm glad I remembered the search feature, or else I'd have gotten the library's copy and then skimmed through 228 pages looking forthis tiny reference. :)