There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.
Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.
Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.
Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.
I'm baffled by Fallen. Completely and utterly baffled.
It's not that it's a particularly intellectually stimulating text; it's quite the opposite. In fact, Fallen is the run-of-the-mill paranormal romance that tells the story of a normal girl who comes to a new school, falls in love with a gorgeous boy (or two) that actually have [insert fangs, fur, horns, fish tails, wings, webbed feet, bad breath, etc. here] and whose special paranormal specialness is revealed by [insert the sliver of the moon, daylight in which they sparkle, furry v-shaped indentations in their backs, a stinky fish smell etc here]and then she finds out. And the love of course, has no basis, and most of the 400-500 pages are full of hopeless ramblings of an female main character who just loves the way their bodies move, and the kiss is only realized after drawn-out cold-shoulders and misunderstandings. Of course, none of these cliches stops the all encompassing hype for every new book with a pretty cover.
In this case, we'll insert the female main character. She's called Luce, and she has dark hair and white skin. And those are the only characteristics I can come up with, but of course, they're not important, because who needs fleshed out characters? Anyways, Luce is sent to reform school, and this is just a handy setup in which we'll be able to meet the two hot male interests: Daniel (the aloof one) and Cam (the warm friendly one).
The plot from there moves at a slow pace, while Luce encounters both Daniel and Cam, is occasionally frightened by black oozing shadows that only she seems to see, and grapples with the trouble of making friends in a hostile environment. Luce is barely there in Fallen, she wavers in every scene, generally has nothing interesting to say, and quivers quite a lot. Actually, one character sums it up nicely when they tell her, "Lucinda, most of the time, you're a downright bore." Because that's precisely what she is. Her interactions with other characters are half-hearted and irrelevant. But on the other hand, I acutally enjoyed the descriptions of the setting; there was plenty of them, which makes for an a strong atmospheric writing. Which I'm a huge fan of.
But what I'm baffled by: the inconsistencies in this book. I have mixed feelings about Fallen; in one aspect, I enjoyed the setting, and the some parts of the writing. And then for other parts, I completely disliked it. And unfortunately, in this case the dislike is more overpowering than the like.
The inconsistencies of character struck me when Luce is grappling with grief, bedecked in black in a schoolwide funeral, and blaming herself for everything. Her mind wanders and she starts thinking about the flowers she'd gotten from Daniel and if it omg did it mean he was interested in her? These strange jumps stretch out throughout the entire book: Luce will be thinking sombering, very serious and sad thoughts and then...BAM. Omg, Daniel/Cam is so hot! How can Luce like totally not be entranced by their gorgeous bodies and rippling muscles and golden skin and sparkling eyes?
The shifts in good to bad writing and messages is disconcerting, to say the least. Which is why I'm so confused. I feel like Lauren Kate is a better writer than this; there's bits of lovely writing interspersed throughout, and just when I was thinking hey, this book isn't that bad after all, there'll be a line or a paragraph or a scene that completely threw me off and soured my opinion of this book.
And in the end, what stood out is the things that really bothered me. I mean, there's just some lines like:
"Todd's shoulders caved forward like parentheses"
which are absolutely gorgeous, but for the most part there's writing that just bothered me to no end. And it was always in the romance parts where this happened. Somehow, I got the sense that if Kate hadn't been writing a book that was modeled off of Twilight, she could've come up with something much better.
But I figure my complaints aren't making much sense without concrete quotes:
- "Every single step he took away from her made her feel more and more freakishly alone."
So this translates to: [sarcasm] if you're rejected by a boy, you're a freak. God, you poor boyfriend-less freaks out there. [/sarcasm]
- "She could picture him looking buff in a sleek black bathing suit, waving her over to the crew with his big smile, making her feel immediately welcome, even important."
- "His kiss was the only thing that felt right, the only thing that comforted her, and reminded her there was a reason to go on."
- "She could, at the moment, have died for him."
I think this takes the grand prize for creepiness. Luce thinks this after she's been kissed for the first time. Umm...okay? You kiss a guy and, voila...you're ready to sacrifice your life for him? Talk about twisted messages.
The problem here is that the "true love" that endures over everything is based off of nothing but sexual appeal. Daniel is hot, Cam is hot, and Luce is pretty. The bulk of the book consists of descriptions of physical appearances, and Luce continually relates her love of a character back to their physical appearance. This is lust, clear and simple, and I'm not buying it as a love story.
Unless to you, lust is love, I wouldn't recommend this book. If you're a fan of Twilight or Hush, Hush, this book will probably appeal to you, since the elements that bothered me with Fallen probably won't irk you. But if you don't want to further the pervasiveness of helpless girl heroines, sick romances, and tired cliches in YA, don't pick this one up.
My Rating: I give it a 5.75/10. I can't agree with the messages, but the majority of the writing isn't bad.
And now, I'm pretty excited to post Fallen by Franz Ferdinand, one of my favorite bands. Lovely music :)
Did you do a review of Fallen as well? Link it here, don't be shy!