Book Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

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Title: Fallen
Author: Lauren Kate
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars

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.

Whether or not Fallen is an excellent YA novel, or the worst piece of fiction ever written, is a debate that is going on all over the bookish world. You have people who praise this novel into the seventh heaven, and you have others who would think even the fifth circle of hell isn’t low enough to rate this one. Some say it is unoriginal and boring and totally like Twilight (which does raise quite some question marks with me) while others say it’s the next best thing after the invention of the universe. My opinion is somewhat in the middle

Opening curtains. We see a glimpse of Lucinda “Luce” Price, heroine of our story. Luce is pretty much like any normal girl – except she isn’t normal. Far from it. Her previous sort-of boyfriend Trevor died under mysterious circumstances, and up until now the authorities still aren’t convinced that she doesn’t have anything to do with it. Keep in mind the fact that Luce has been seeing shadowy-like creatures crawling over the walls her entire life, that’s enough to make anyone wonder about their own sanity. Luce is sent off to Sword & Cross, a reform school; where she – surprise, surprise – meets Daniel Grigori. Daniel is as gorgeous as they get in fantasy novels, and immediately captures Luce’s heart. The only problem is that he’s continuously mean towards her, and doesn’t want to have anything to do with her. Like the teenage girl she really is, Luce isn’t willing to give up on her new crush, and even pries into his private life. But did I mention that there isn’t just Daniel who’s giving Luce the hot and cold treatment? There is another boy interested in our little heroine as well, and he goes by the name of Cam. Twenty thousand times as civil as Daniel, and – gathering from the descriptions in the novel – equally as good looking and charming, he might give ol’ Daniel a run for his money. However, this wouldn’t be a fantasy novel if there wouldn’t be something strange going on, and no one turns out to be who they pretend to be.

You know what? I will admit it. I couldn’t stop reading this book, and I had to finish it in a one day reading session. To be honest, it’s not like I even tried to put it away. It just swept me off my feet, a bit in the same way like The Hunger Games captured me. So many secrets, and the slow pace at which they unfold – which is a good thing, because it adds a continous sense of mystery to the novel – was enough to keep me reading at the wee hours of dawn. Considering how this novel totally captivated me in any possible way; who am I to give it a low rating then? Of course I must admit there were some upsides and downsides to the story and the characters, but in the end I thoroughly enjoyed reading Fallen. And that’s what is important.

Trying to compare this novel to Twilight is like trying to compare apples and bananas. Twilight is about vampires – this one is about…well, take one lucky guess and remember the title ‘Fallen’. The storyline in Twilight is unoriginal, uneventful, flat and predictable. I mean, can anyone honestly say that they didn’t figure out practically everything that was going to happen in Twilight from page one? If you think Fallen is anything like that; think again. The storyline, although also involving a pretty normal highschool girl falling in love with a supernatural creature, is unpredictable, fast-paced, moving and interesting. There is tension and suspense everywhere; mysteries get unravelled, secrets get exposed, and all the way through I kept on waiting for the big break-down. The big moment when I realise I finally know everything there is to know, and I can safely put the novel away and never worry about it again. Wrong. Lauren Kate holds up the tension in such a marvellous, delightful way that you never get to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Instead, you’re on the edge of your seat throughout the entire novel, encountering surprise after surprise after surprise.

Not only is the storyline developed in a way Twilight could only dream of, the characters have actual depths and personality. Alright, so our heroine is a little air-headed when it comes to Daniel Grigori. But at least she isn’t being courted by half the male population of Sword & Cross, and at least Daniel has the sense not to watch a girl as she sleeps. Because dear ol’ Edward certainly never read the “how to let a girl know you love her without stalking her” manual. The storyline of Fallen makes a lot more sense too, because in Twilight I was constantly wondering why the hell anyone – let alone a hundred year old, drop-dead-gorgeous vampire – would fall for a blunt, clumsy, pathetic excuse for a human being like Bella. Luce on the other hand actually has a personality of her own. Alright, and maybe she could have been a bit more witty, intelligent and determined; but we’re not all hero-material. I actually like the fact Luce doesn’t have the typical hero-personality-traits. The stereotype feisty, witty and highly intelligent but ravenously beautiful heroine gets boring after a while as well.

Without giving any spoilers away, I must add that Daniel actually does have a good reason to stay away from Luce – not the old school Edward “I am dangerous and you should stay away from me…although in reality I am a vegatarian vampire who doesn’t drink blood and SPARKLES in the sunlight” crap. Plus, the supporting characters had an actual personality as well. None of the generic “everyone loves Bella” attitude we see all too well in Twilight. Some people like Luce, others detest her. C’est la vie, and that’s what actually makes characters interesting. Their behavior around each other, the way they interact. Lauren Kate really got that part spot on in this novel. Somewhere along the way, you don’t even have to read their name to know who’s talking anymore: you get that just from what they’re saying. And that, my dear people, is some decent character building.

I must also add that Lauren Kate’s writing is a couple of levels more advanced than Stephenie Meyer’s. She combines gorgeous and realistic descriptions with a fast-paced and brilliant writing style. What’s not to love?

The only thing that bothered me immensly is the fact that I now have even more questions than I had at the start of the novel. Cliffhanger, much? Yep. But that’s all the more reason for me to buy the next novel in the series, Torment. Can’t wait.

Comments

  1. I had a really hard time getting into FALLEN. The beginning was so slow that I considered just putting the book down. Someone told me the action picked up later, so I pushed through. Honestly it took about half-way through the novel to get into it. While it got better, I was able to predict everything that happened in the second half of the novel. I still enjoyed it though. I have TORMENT on my TBR list and I’m really hoping it’s better.

  2. I had mixed feelings as well on this book. Alhtough it had me wanting to know what was going on I didnt like the authors style of writing. But I dont think it was bad. To be honest the plot and the potential the book had is what kept me interested.

    This was my review on the book
    http://paranormallyromanced.blogspot.com/2011/01/review-fallen-lauren-kate.html

  3. I had a love/hate relationship with the book. The cover is so gorgeous, I was expecting more from it. I felt kinda “eh”….after reading it. I’m about to start Torment and hopefully will enjoy it more!

  4. I agree completely with your Twilight comparisons. Why do people love that series so much? Pretty much every paranormal book I’ve read since Twilight has been infinitely better, Fallen included. I plan to read this one again soon, as I don’t remember it well enough and want to be prepared for Torment!

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