December 28, 2009
Harsh, I know. But I’m being honest. I did not like this book.
Spoilers ahoy, and beware!
Luce is a troubled young girl who has just been forcibly enrolled into Sword & Cross, a reform school where she is expected to overcome whatever violent tendencies led to her previous almost-boyfriend Trevor to die a horrible mysterious death–which she is supposedly responsible for, though the authorities couldn’t prove that what happened was her fault, nor can they prove really what happened at all. Something to do with dark, swirling shadows.
Luce navigates high school usual (mean girls, gym class, detention) while being fought over by two boys, Cam and Daniel, to whom she is mysteriously drawn–Cam is gentlemanly and keeps giving her gifts, while Daniel is cold and aloof but she’s inexplicably drawn to him anyway.
There was one good and unexpected twist, a character who appears to be on on side but is really on the other. Lauren Kate, you really did fool me. Bravo.
Luce and Daniel have a supernaturally connected past–he seems to know everything about her already, while she seems to have no idea why. Instead of exploring this intriguing setup by elaborating on these many past-life romances (which, done right, would have been WIN!), the author enumerates them in 1 sentence about 3/4 of the way into the book, after boring the reader to death by falling into the treacherous Twilight-find-and-replace formula (epic FAIL).
For those who are not familiar with Twilight:
1 ) Girl feels an inescapable “pull” towards Cute Guy
2 ) Cute Guy treats her coldly
3 ) Something threatens to crush Girl–in this case, a stone angel statue falling in the school cemetery (yes, the school has a cemetery)
4 ) Cute Guy saves her from smushing, starts being nicer to her
5 ) Girl spends rest of book remarking on how cute Cute Guy is
6 ) Kissing
7 ) Peril–in this case two factions of fallen angels fight over Luce’s soul, no reason is given, although ostensibly there is one that will be revealed in later books
8 ) Cute Guy saves Girl from further death, then pushes her away “for her own good” leading into the sequel
Replace Girl and Cute Guy with the names you picked for you character and you’re set for a teen blockbuster!
Also, while the fallen angel mythology is fairly transparent to the reader, it takes the main character much too long to figure it out. The “dark shadows” that follow Luce around are inconsistent and are rendered so non-threatening that by the middle of the book, you’re not sure whether you’re supposed to be worried about them or not. And by then, I also wanted to just make someone else read the book for me, then have them explain what happened just to satisfy my curiousity.
Now we come to what I call “Lost Season 4 Syndrome”: when the Story poses more Questions than it Answers, and none of the Answers that it does reveal are compelling enough to make the Audience want to continue on further discovering Answers, you Lose the Audience. I, being a conscientious audience member, soldiered on (both with Lost, which I now like again, and with Fallen, which I finished but did not enjoy) and I really do hope that both creative parties make me glad that I did. Will I read the sequel, Torment? Probably, yes. Will I like it, now, that’s a different story.
If you know me, you know that while I like Twilight, I am not blind to its weaknesses–I know it’s poorly written and kind of silly. I also know that it is extremely easy for young adult authors to, whether they go into it knowingly or not, end up using the same formula–see also Evermore & Hush, Hush. I am still holding out hope that somewhere along the production line for whatever the author/publisher thinks will be “the next Twilight”, someone is brave enough to go, “Hey, you know, this sounds exactly like–“. I am still holding out hope that whoever worked on Fallen and the other two didn’t just see the similarities and, instead of pointing it out, rubbed their hands together and said “We’re gonna make millions!” followed by an evil laugh or two.
I am hoping that the author has a better idea for the second book. sigh.
What? You’re giving away your ARC? I thought you hated it and are telling me not to read it!
First of all, I’m not telling you not to read it. It’s a free country. Undoubtedly there will be people out there who do not have the same reading tastes as I do, and/or are looking for something that will hit the same nerves as Twilight (and unfortunately for this author, those nerves of mine have been beaten to a pulp by Twilight and no longer activate). In which case, Fallen will scratch that itch!
Secondly, there’s that whole FTC brouhaha (The Story Siren has a great blog post about that from a few months ago) about ARCs as compensation for favorable reviws–in this case, it was not a favorable review anyway, but I’m still getting rid of the book.
If you are still curious, and if you liked Evermore and/or Hush, Hush and think you will enjoy this book too, then enter to win.
Comment below and answer one or more of the following prompts:
– Are you still in the thralls of Twilight-mania, and do you think this condition will allow you to view Fallen in a more favorable light than I did?
– Are Angels the new Vampires? Why or why not?
– Is there a YA book that you enjoyed in 2009 that stood out as not being a Twilight clone? What was it, and why do you think so?
– If you read a negative review of something, will you still read the book? Why or why not?
+1 for every prompt you answer and +1 for subscribing or being a subscriber already <–edit: do this on Blogspot! I’m moving later this week.
+1 for friending me on GoodReads!
+1 for each tweet and/or blogpost about this review and contest. Here’s the shortlink: http://bit.ly/rnslfallen
Each point is assigned a number, and at the end of the contest I will use the random# generator to choose a number between 1 and the total number of points. If the number corresponds with one of your points, you win! The more points you get, the more chances you have of winning. I can only track the points you declare in the comments portion of this entry, so comment whenever you tweet or blog leading someone to this post.
The contest is open to US residents only (sorry, I’m poor on postage right now) and ends at 12 am on January 11, 2010.