Monday, 30 August 2010

I'm back! and, Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

Dear Blog,
I'm back from the depths of the Italian countryside, with many reviews.  First off, Fallen by Lauren Kate.

Summary (from Goodreads):  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.

Review: Despite the fact that in truth I struggle to buy all the hype surrounding paranormal romance at the moment, as I read when I discovered Hush, Hush, there is sometimes awesomeness behind the covers.  And  Fallen is one such book-and there is even more awesomeness than in Hush, Hush.  The cover is deliciously gothic and really fits in with the atmosphere of the book. 
While I'm on the subject, I liked the setting of Sword & Cross, the reform school Luce goes to after the mysterious death of her boyfriend Todd.    It seemed fitting to the plot, and made everything seem even more dark and spooky.  All it needs now is a thunderclap and a voice-over booming "it was a dark and stormy night..." when Luce first turned up there.  S&C isn't exactly the riot that is Hecate Hall, but the hilarity of Hex Hall would probably not work as well in Fallen.

There are, I guess, several similarities between Fallen and Twilight, but one thing I prefer from Fallen is the characters.  As well as a backbone, Luce had hobbies (swimming) and annoying habits (cracking her knuckles).  I've read reviews of Fallen where people dislike Luce because of her obsession with Daniel, but, honestly, ask yourself: if such a creepy yet fascinating person was at the same school as you, somebody who you were sure that you had seen before, would you not be the least bit interested in him? 
Daniel and Cam were both pretty awesome characters.  Cam was deceptively nice for much or the book, and Daniel was as every mysterious, supernatural love interest seems to be.  He had a past, more of which I cannot say because it's prety important to his relationship with Luce, he was dark and brooding,  loved her without being overly stalkerish, and, well, he was an angel. 'Nuff said.
The supporting characters were equally likeable.  I particularly liked  Miss Sophia, while Penn and Arrianne too seemed like great people to have as friends.  So in short, they were all unique, 3-dimensional and had their own story to tell.  There isn't really any character that I can think of from the top of my head who I think could have been more developed. 

And the romance?  That was one of the best things about the book.  And I'm not a big fan of romance novels, which is saying something.  All aspects of the romance between Luce and Daniel was  described brilliantly, from the tension at the beginning between the two of them and the passionate kissing and such towards the end of the book.  Even the strange relationship between Luce and Cam was charming, until he turned out to be evil. 

One thing I didn't get was the ending. It was a pretty satisfactory conclusion, leaving things open for the second book, Torment, which I believe is being released in September.  The plot reached a terrifying and exciting climax, didn't make much sense.  Sure, the action scenes were thrilling, but why?  Why are the two different sides of fallen angel fighting, who or what for, etc.?  As exciting as it is, it's never properly explained and seems sort of  rushed and leaves you slightly confused and "huh?  What just happened there?"
That said.    Fallen is a very intriguing book and keeps you guessing for much of the novel.  It pulls the reader in right from the mysterious prologue and carries them along with the story until the last sentence in a compelling sort of way.  The book has an air of mystery to it, and there are twists and turns everywhere.  It certainly keeps you guessing. 

So, well, despite the rushed and somewhat unexplained ending, which I can forgive because I'm sure (or I hope) it'll be described more in the next book, it was a really enjoyable read.   Move over, Hush, Hush, for there is more originality and awesomeness here. 

Oh, and check out the book trailer.  There are several versions depening on which country you're in, but this is the UK one:

Reccomended for: teenage girls who like fallen angels, love and all things paranormal.
in three words: creepy, romantic, compelling.
Rating: 4.5  It would be five, but for the confusing ending.

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