Monday, January 24, 2011

Book Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Language: English
Source: Books-A-Million
Cover: This cover leaps off the shelf. It sets the tone of the novel perfectly (though not the character). I love the model's pose, her long dark hair falling down her back and the fact that they added gloves to her hands because Luce mentions she did. The background is also gorgeous. I really like the birds flying through the dark woods. An amazing first cover for an amazing debut novel!
First Sentence: "Around midnight, he eyes at last took shape."

Mini-Review: You're bound to fall for it!

Book Summary:
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.

The Review:

In a crowded market, Fallen sets itself apart from the others with a great leading character, a balanced love triangle, an interesting plot line and exceptional writing. Right down to the last page, Fallen had me by the wings and wouldn't let go.

Luce was in a really bad way at the beginning of the novel and her situation had me hooked. I felt like she was fleshed out and capable of complex emotions. Her feelings of confusion and grief seeped off the page and I was able to identify with her confusion. One of the things I really loved about Luce was that no matter what, she trusted herself even when her instinct was almost unbelievable. That made her decisions, even her decidedly stupid ones, feel plausible because she was trying to do what she believed. I can see how some people would dislike Luce because she did lead Cam on a bit but I also understand why she did that, even though she was attracted to Daniel. I thought her interactions with both Cam and Daniel worked well to showcase the confusion she was feeling on the inside.

The love triangle is getting to be a staple in YA paranormal romance and as thus, can be a bit tiresome. It was good to read about another balanced one. Even though Cam turned out to be not all Luce originally thought (though I'm elbow deep in the second book by the time I'm writing this and know a bit more about him), I still felt I could see Luce choosing Cam. I liked that both boys were drastically different towards her but in intriguing ways. I'm enjoying figuring out where Cam's character is going to take us further into the series. Daniel is the atypical bad boy character with a heart of gold but he's believable in the role and he's got the added bonus of falling for Luce over and over again. Though I knew Daniel would her choice in the first novel, I'm not sure where Luce will ultimately end up going (though I do think Daniel will be it in the end as well).

The supporting character were all really fascinating too. I found myself drawn to Arriane the way Luce was and I wanted to know Penn from the moment she showed up with a bottle of shampoo in the girl's bathroom. Even Gabbe had her own appeal and I was dying to figure out more about Roland. 

I really liked the pairing of reincarnation and angels and demons. It's not something I've seen mixed before but it made for a really interesting plot. What would you do if you had to fall in love and watch the one you love die over and over again? However, I'm still a bit confused as to why Daniel just can't break to her the details of their relationship, especially since touching is so well... touchy. I'm just not loving the "because she'll burst into flames" excuse without a reason why she'll burst into flames. But I loved not knowing what was going to happen and this novel was great at not revealing too much at once.

The atmosphere really lent itself to the plot. I could see Sword & Cross perfectly in my head. With the sweltering heat, the sticky stagnant air and marshes surrounding the school and the colors leeched from the land, it was depressing to be there. I liked how Kate was so skilled at adding things of beauty in between the terribly bland and depressing landscape-- the cementery with it's bowl-like ground and intricate fence and the church that is falling apart with the beautiful stain glass.

What I was most impressed about though was Kate's writing. There aren't many novels that I enjoy in third person but Kate is so effortless with her point of view that I barely even notice. I feel like I know Luce as well as I know any of my favorite first person characters. A lot of times there is this wall between the reader and the character in third person but in Kate's novel, this literally doesn't exist. The writing is fluid and easy to read with details slipped in at the right time to give the reader a complete understanding of their surroundings.

I highly reccomend Fallen to fans of YA paranormal romance. The only reason this is getting a 4.5 is because of some of the plot things but I can tell already from Torment that these things are working themselves out. Can't wait for the final novel in this series!



  1. Now I really need to read this book! It's been on my shelf way to long :(

  2. Glad to hear you liked this book! It's one of my faves :) I think you'll like Torment. However, it's a little different. I'm still a somewhat confused about Heaven and Hell, the Fallen Angels in the story and the why's. But it's a great series!


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