Saturday, 14 April 2012

Book Review 16 - Fallen, by Lauren Kate

I have a minor EEEKS moment
every time I look at this cover...

If you've read my review for Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, you'll know that I read this at the same time, and their similiarites were hard to ignore, but I'll do my best to do Fallen justice without comparing (too much). It isn't a book I would have immediately picked up of my own volition. I should let you know that I prefer kick-ass action to undiluted romance, and this book seemed to have a whole lot of the latter and not enough of the former. But, I got started with it anyway, and found that the hype wasn't all hot air. I perserved, and my patience was definitely rewarded. It's a story about angels, about light and dark, good and evil, and most of all, about love - love that can't be changed, only saved, or destroyed. It's compelling, and brilliantly-written.

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.

It is the characters, and more importantly, the characters' past, that make this book work. This character and setting build-up is vital to the storyline. They characters are fascinating, and most of them leap off the page with such intensity I was completely envious of Lauren Kate being able to keep them in her head (Not in a schizophrenic way. In that writer-y way where when you write the protaganists - and antagonists - are dictating what happens right in your ear. Except when revising, where they have to be rudely shoved aside so the practical editor side of your mind can wade through all the impassioned rubbish and make some kind of sensible plot). Arriane - bad-ass and insane (my favourite!). Cam - lecherous, and slightly evil. Gabbe - sickly-sweet and underestimated. Luce herself - confused, lonely, but smart, and growing throughout the book.

And then there's Daniel. Oh, Daniel, Daniel, Daniel. Perfect, awe-inspiring, drool-worthy.

And also, completely implausible.

I wanted him to be the person he should have been to end up in a place like that, like the only centre secure enough to hold Luce without her killing anybody. And for a long time, he seemed to be that, with just a hint of something else underneath - his true self; kind, sweet, sacrificial, devoted. And I didn't believe it. I wanted him to be more tortured. I wanted him to be thinking; if I get anywhere near this girl I'm going to send su both up in flames at every waking moment. But when he did think like that, it was so half-hearted it was practically non-existent. And I understand that that's part of the nature of his love for Luce, but I just wished he was strong enough to hold out a little longer. (So maybe I like torturing my characters. A little. Or a lot. So what?) However. I won't drag out that particular annoyance too much, because frankly there is too much good about this book to ignore.

We need to be very involved with Luce to believe her, and to keep up the chain of events that follow, and as we learn her history - or what she knows of her history, to be more specific - the pieces of the puzzle come together, like they have been dotted carefully throughout the chapters without us noticing. That was my favourite part about Lauren Kate's writing - she doesn't underestimate her readers' intelligence, and you feel respected. I certainly enjoyed the fact that the mixture of obvious and not-so-obvious hints allows us to guess, predict, and gasp at the scenes that we see unfolding before our very eyes. Her writing is so amazing it's scary. Even if I didn't like the way the plot had turned, or the situation she had put her characters in, I couldn't deny the way she was wrote was not only realistic, but it was flawless, and flowing, too.

Okay, so it's not exactly the kind of book you're going to read over and over again, it is the kind of story you're either going to absolutely love or absolutely hate, and the plot isn't necessarily unique - after all, it kind of started the angel-fanatic trend that cursed our shelves not so long ago - but taking the risk was definitely worth it for me.

I sought out the sequel, only to find out it wouldn't be released for months, and had to make to do with imagining everything that would happen in the second book. As you've probably guessed I've read Torment by now, and Passion, but my opinions on those will have to wait - this review is for people who haven't read it yet, or are just about to, or are considering buying/loaning/grabbing it from the nearest bookshop, shoving it under their jacket and running away as quickly as possible (not that I condone stealing in any way, shape or form...not at all. Except in books. Or videogames. Or movies. Or if you're a totally awesome thief from the streets who helps Sherlock Holmes. But I digress.)

Anyway. Onto my short round-up...

Re readability: 3.5/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Overall: 4/5
In five words: angelic! Well-written, unputdownable, dark, seductive.


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