Thursday, November 19, 2009
Fallen by Lauren Kate
What if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours? 17-year-old Lucinda falls in love with a gorgeous, intelligent boy, Daniel, at her new school, the grim, foreboding Sword & Cross . . . only to find out that Daniel is a fallen angel, and that they have spent lifetimes finding and losing one another as good & evil forces plot to keep them apart.
SOME ANGELS ARE DESTINED TO FALL...
Author Lauren Kate has us meeting Luce - cleverly - just as one of the teachers at her new school, Sword and Cross, takes another group of newbies around the campus. We get intro'd to the other newbies in the group and shown around the truly dismal sounding school. Two of the group are returning students and one of them, Cam immediately seems fascinated with Luce. He’s got the bad boy thing down to a “t”.
There is a mystery about Luce - something we’re not being told. There are referrals to a fire and to someone losing their life. As the story continue we learn that a fire took the life of a boy Luce had grown close to. She managed to escape. And because she can’t tell the authorities how she did that, and after some evaluations, she’s been sent to Sword & Cross for her sins.
I have to admit that Luce was by far not my favourite character in Fallen. She’s maybe a little too nice, too shy and quiet and too immediately obsessed with Daniel, the second boy she notices at S&C and feels disturbingly drawn to. Daniel however treats her like rubbish and I felt that Luce had drawn the short straw as she focuses so much of her attention so immediately on Daniel and figuring him out. Cam’s interest in Luce does not wane. She likes him, likes the fact that he notices her and buys her small gifts. When he sees her, she gets cuddles. She feels that she belongs. Daniel acts temperamentally towards her, even when they happen to be alone. He makes no sense, at all – but of course there’s a bigger reason behind all of this and one which is easy to figure out. Or so you would think.
One person who I really liked and felt empathy for is the new friend Luce makes – Penn. Penn is invisible and likes it that way. Not genuinely invisible just not someone anyone else at the school really notices. She has free run of the place as she’s been there that long. Her dad had been the groundskeeper and when he died she got to stay behind at Sword & Cross. She’s a bit geeky, a bit nerdy and knows almost everything about everyone at the school as she sneaks down into the records room to find out about others and merrily hacks computers.
Another friend Luce makes is Arriana who is either the coolest kid you would ever want to meet or completely and utterly bonkers. You aren’t quite sure if she’s playing with a full deck of cards and it makes her character surprisingly likeable. She struck me very much as being modeled on Angelina Jolie’s character in Girl, Interrupted. She defends and cajoles Luce in equal parts and at one stage called Luce her “pet”. This immediately set alarm bells ringing because I know my angelic lore pretty well as I’m a bit weird and nerdy that way too. So my suspicions were immediately aroused.
With Penn by her side, Luce tries to figure out Daniel’s history. But there’s nothing to discover. He’s an orphan and has one miserable sheet in his folder with very little information about it. They enlist the help of the school librarian to help figure out who Daniel is. But try as they might, they don’t find anything much except for an obscure reference to a book written by someone with the same name as Daniel and it’s about angels…
Fallen is definitely going to have a lot of fans – there is a lot of tension between the three characters of Luce, Daniel and Cam. And although you know Luce and Daniel are these star-crossed lovers and somehow meant to be, I couldn’t help but like Cam and wishing he would beat up Daniel for being such an eejit. There, I’ve said it. I’m a fan of the truly bad boy. Not entirely sure what that says of me!
I know other readers may mention the violence and the action in their reviews but to be honest, it’s not more and no less than I’ve read in other YA novels but I would say some of it descriptions used were lovely and cinematic in a Sam Raimi/John Carpenter kind of way. Make of that what you will! *g*
There is a lot of uncertainty in Fallen – the whole who are the good guys / bad guys, is Luce actually going mad, was she genuinely responsible for the fire that killed the friend she was with before the story starts and subsequently the second fire that caused the death of someone else she is with later in the story, who is to be trusted, are the presumed good guys really as snowy white as you would expect? Is the school genuinely that creepy and are her parents seriously that odd that they don’t notice how peculiar the school is they’ve sent their daughter to? A lot of questions are thrown up and I am keen to see if Lauren Kate’s going to sweep us off our feet in the two follow-up novels and answer all of these. It’s definitely a slow-burner and I hope that Luce becomes more active in books 2 and 3 as it would be sad to see a character that holds so much potential just frizzle out.
Fallen is published on 17th December here in the UK by Random House.