review: fallen + music

Book Description:

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.

My Opinion:

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."
This equates to saying that a girl's sense of worth should be defined by a boy's approval. Am I the only one who has a problem with this?

  • "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."
So kissing is the only thing that's going to get you, Luce, to move your butt and do something? This again shows that Luce needs a boy to motivate her into action. Which goes directly against my ideal of a strong female heroine.

  • "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!


Monster of Books said...

A lot of people have mixed reviews about this one. I in particular really enjoyed it. What can I say, I'm a sucker for cute boys.

Bidisha said...

I read an excerpt of Fallen and yeah, the writing's really beautiful, especially where descriptions are concerned, but somehow, though I'm a sucker for paranormal romances, the summary itself didn't exactly make me want to go out and get the book.

Brill, review, Choco! It's insightful..and, well, I totally get your perspective.

Lauren Kate writes well, but give us something new! We've had too much of the damsel in distress and dazzling hero of late.

Angie said...

Very good review, and I think that I'll probably take your recommendation and pass on it. The cover was pretty, but like they say....

Anonymous said...

Yeah, a lot of these books have that kind of all encompassing die for one another relationship. I think if you can hold that separate from real life than it's okay to dive into a book like this and enjoy. The die for you line would freak me out if someone in real life said it after just meeting some guy but the fact that Luce and Daniel have known each other for centuries is a little different. As much as I enjoy books like this, they are quickly becoming redundant.

One thing is I didn't like Luce after she and Daniel started to be together. It's like she lost who she was and all of a sudden it was always about Daniel. She was too mushy for me.

Nice review! It definitley made me think. :D

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Thanks for such a thorough and honest review. You had some good observations and I loved the quotes of text you included. :)

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

I linked mine because, gah, I didn't like Fallen either. Awesome review as usual though; it made me laugh, haha. I think you captured my thoughts perfectly with those quotes. With the whole swimming pool incident, I was covering my face and going "no, no, no" because Luce was acting so insecure and dependent on Daniel's opinion. Frankly, she baffled me too with her constantly changing thoughts, and ugh. I can't express it. *sigh*

ANYWAYS, I adore the new layout + header, and I've never heard of the band, though it was pretty good. :D

in which a girl reads said...

@Book Monster: Hahaha! But it’s always good to have lots of different views on a book, which is why I included the Mr. Linky :D

@Bee: Thanks! And I agree, I’m just so tired of the same storyline and I wish authors would try to get away from it more.

@Angie: Thanks! And I know, the cover is GORGEOUS! It’s so bad, but half the reason I wanted to read it was because of the cover. *sigh* Hopefully I learned my lesson :)

@Michelle: That’s true, about stepping away from a book while reading, but at the same time I just wish YA books didn’t have those types of relationships...it doesn’t really send a good message. And I agree, she totally got lost in the story when Daniel came around.

@Shannon: Thanks! Glad you liked the observations :D

@Jenn: Lol, me too. I was cringing for Luce and wishing she’d get a backbone, most especially during the swimming pool scene. And thanks about the new layout! And Franz Ferdinand is AWESOME, glad you liked the song :D

yuan said...

LOL you know what's the funny part? Is that this is the first time after reading a review that I felt like checking something out by Lauren Kate. Not Fallen, because I knew from the get-go after seeing the summary that this book would make me want to bash my brains out, but I think I'll try out that other book by her, The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove. The reason why I'm interested is because of that parentheses line is a veryyyyy interesting metaphor, and I'm weak for interesting metaphors. Did you read her other book? You think it's any better?

Also, awesome review. =D The day when these YA paranormal triangle romance die can't come soon enough. *SHOT*

Emilia Plater said...

I heart Franz Ferdinand and The Fallen is on AC's playlist. Whatwhat!
I heart this review and I hope Insecure Boypendent MC goes away soon. Boooo.
I heart Choco and she is the epitome of Awesomeface Book Blogger. Whoooo!

Amelia said...

Hi Choco, I'm Amelia, an extremely new blogger :D
I love the way you write your reviews - they're so eloquent but hilarious at the same time!
I can't wait to read more!

in which a girl reads said...

@Ah Yuan: I haven't read her other book yet. But I agree about the parentheses line, such a cool metaphor (and I'm sucker for them too :D) so maybe I'll give her other book a try :)

@Emilia: Woot for FF :D And lol <3 "Boypendent" as a word and I couldn't agree more. And thanks *huggles* I heart you too.

@Amelia: Hi! Thanks a bunch :D *goes to check out blog*

Sarah said...

Great honest review :o) I've not read this one yet but it is in my TBR pile. All these mixed reviews aren't helping it jump to the top of the list LOL but I think I'll get there eventually & give it a try

Unknown said...

What a fab review! I happen to disagree fairly significantly but that's why I enjoyed it so much. Your points are so well-argued. The thing that I loved most about this book is the angel mythology. Your point about Luce's weakness is interesting. I didn't butt an eyelid. I think this could be because in real life girls know that life is more than just about being with a hot supernatural guy. But maybe some readers are influenced by this and that is a scary thought. Impressive review.

Misty said...

Tell us how you really feel... ;p
I won this in a contest, and I intend to read it (and probably keep it, if only for that gorgeous cover), but I'll be honest, I don't have high hopes. I've heard too many negative reviews that call it rambling and poorly fleshed out, and I know that will irritate me, possibly more than it does most people. I just don't have the tolerance for lazy, self-indulgent writing.
Great review.

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