Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

Found via: Rachel in the comments to my review of Devil's Kiss

Holy crap this book is popular. I put it on hold at the library in mid-January and I was the 50th hold request. I only got it a week ago. So...people like this book. Angsty supernatural romance doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

Luce has been sent to the Sword & Cross boarding school after a mysterious fire at her last boarding school left a boy burned to death. On her first day at her new school, Luce meets the usual sort of characters one runs across at reform schools: mildly-psychotic girls that want to be BFFs, girls that appear to be total goody two-shoes and make you wonder why they're in reform school, and, of course, darkly handsome brooding young men. Luce actually gets two of that last category: Cameron Briel and Daniel Grigori.

Cameron is charming and handsome and latches onto Luce as soon as he can. Luce likes him well enough, but the real focus of her attention is Daniel, who alternates between giving her smoldering looks across the library and flipping her off. But Luce is determined to get closer to Daniel - she feels an immediate connection to him, like they've known each other before arriving at Sword & Cross. Luce is determined to find out more about him, and recruits her new friend Penn, the lone sane-person in the school, as an accomplice, while trying to avoid the attention of Arriane (an all-around trouble maker, Luce's guide on her first day and the closest thing she has to a friend at Stone & Cross before Penn) and Mary (whose sole purpose in life appears to be making Luce miserable).

As if adjusting to a new reform school and juggling boys and friends weren't enough for poor Luce, she also seems to have hallucinations. Since she was a child she's seen apparitions of threatening shadows, but until she arrived at Sword & Cross that's all they've been: hallucinations. Now the shadows are getting a lot bolder, and might even be able to hurt her, or her new-found friends.

There is a huuuuuuuuuuge Twilight vibe throughout this book, even though Rachel described this as one of the less-Twilight-esque angel stories out there. From the creepy atmosphere (perpetually overcast Forks vs. humid and creepy southern US reform school) to the plain Jane but irresistible main girl. She's even clumsy like Bella! The prime candidate for being a not-human cute boy saves her from a lethal accident! Aside from cuteness, Luce's continued attraction to Daniel is only slightly better than Bella's to Edward; at least Luce is convinced she knows Daniel from somewhere else.

Over at Teacozy, Liz suggests that this is the sort of book where you're not supposed to think too hard about the story. Just accept that it's a rather fluffy and angsty romance and roll with it. I can see her argument on the one hand, but that doesn't quite work for me with this one. I can overlook many of the small questions, like why the hell is there such an emphasis on the black uniforms? Co-ed dorms at a reform school notorious for being strict? Easily-evaded cameras in lieu of supervision from actual adults? (Okay, I really want an answer on the black uniforms thing. It's seriously emphasized so much that I was waiting for the big reveal as a Chekhov's gun) But Luce is kind of a passive protagonist. Stuff happens to her, but she doesn't cause anything to actually happen. And after the big reveal that angels exist, Luce is treated a lot like Thomas was in The Maze Runner when he first arrived in the Glade: don't ask stupid questions (even if the audience is wondering the same thing) because we're not telling you anything until the next book.

Unfortunately, because I appear to be missing the gene that makes me love straight-up romances, I don't think I'm going to be sticking around for the next book. Unless someone promises me the black clothes are explained.

As for this whole angel trend? Unless it starts popping up in non-romance stories (like Once Dead Twice Shy, I think I'm done. I can see their appeal in some ways (Fallen is a more chaste love story than even Twilight), but they hold zero for me.

1 comment:

Tia said...

Although I've also seen Fallen everywhere, it just didn't seem to have anything new or different to offer--and your review confirms it! I also get annoyed when "bad" kids aren't bad at all (i.e. Neal Shusterman's Unwind).

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