By Lauren Kate
Available Dec 8 from Delacorte
Review copy provided by publisher
I was excited about FALLEN, considering fallen angels are still fresh and I enjoyed HUSH, HUSH. Unfortunately, FALLEN is boring and there's no payoff.
Now, I know authors have little control over titles, so it may not be Lauren Kate's fault that the book is titled FALLEN. However, in a story in which you leave most of the plot threads dangling, what you resolve is important. Letting one of the reveals be that several of the characters are fallen angels just doesn't work in a story titled FALLEN. Nor does revealing that the heroine is a reincarnation doomed to die work when the prologue sets up the fact she is a reincarnation doomed to die.
However, I could forgive that if the plot and/or characters were interesting. Then I'd want to read the next book (tentatively titled TORMENT) in order to see how everything plays out. As for characters . . . well, everyone sympathetic is dead or evil by the end of FALLEN. Luce and Daniel, the leads, have no recognizable motivations.
Luce pursues Daniel (to the extent of stalking him) because she feels drawn to him. Daniel avoids her when possible and is rude when she's too persistant. I've gotten used to the mean urban fantasy crush, but that usually leads to witty banter (a la HUSH, HUSH). FALLEN plays it like Daniel needs to get a restraining order. And Luce's other option? Well, Cam invites her to social events as well as dates, gives her gifts, and generally acts nice. She sometimes gets a bad vibe, which I could buy, except she leads the guy on. FALLEN would be a lot more fun if it had the guts to make Luce a crazy obsessive who perhaps really did kill her former boyfriend. Instead, she's making the right choice by choosing the boy uninterested in her because he's secretly into her due to their past relationship. The supernatural elements make everything work out for her. (I believe nurture does affect nature. It would be neat if Daniel wasn't interested in her every life.)
Then there's Daniel's motives. He needs to be Luce's boyfriend or something bad happens. (Her dying is apparently better than the other bad thing. It's not explained why Luce's boyfriend is important.) She dies young, after falling in love, in every life. He's tried staying away before, and it never stops the cycle. So . . . he acts mean and keeps both of them unhappy even though it won't work and gives someone else a chance to step in and seduce her. That makes sense.
Cam's motives as the other guy are unexplained. Kate sets him up to be bad, but there's really only one scene where he acts it. Heck, the ending makes it look like he really does care for Luce. He's basically the bad guy because the good guys say he's bad. (Why are they good? Because they fight him.)
As you can see, pointing out the flaws in making the characters sympathetic also points out some of the plot holes. While there is some excitement in the end action scenes, they come too late. The rest is interminable Luce moping with perhaps two mysterious accidents. It would help if Luce acted worried and threatened instead of preoccupied with stalking someone.
I'm really not sorry for any spoilers. Just back away from the pretty cover before it's too late.
ETA: The writing isn't particularly great either. I think I lost it when Kate described the forest as "bosky." (For those who don't know, bosky is a great SAT word that basically means there are trees and/or shrubs. Y'know, those things that make a forest a forest.)