December 16, 2009

Review: Fallen

By Lauren Kate
Available Dec 8 from Delacorte
Review copy provided by publisher

Book Cover

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.)


  1. I hate that... I had it on my Christmas list too. -_- Oh, well. Thanks for letting me know.

    Happy Holidays!

  2. Great review! I've seen many not-so-good reviews of this one so this really confirms I probably won't be reading it. Too bad, cause the cover is really pretty!

  3. I couldn't help laughing at the end of your review. I actually was about 2 buy this book, but now I'm not so interested.
    I also read that they're gonna make a movie about the book.
    Anyway, thanks 4 the warning.

  4. I have read it and honestly the story became interesting in the last 20% of the story...realy hope the next book would answer the hang-ups on this book.

    I do agree, majority focused on stalking Daniel...I just wished the story developed after a couple of chapters and not after the last 3 chapters...

  5. this review is terible, you simply tell us the whole story, no one needs to buy it now but you are also only telling the bads parts just because you personally think that it should have different parts. everyon would rewrite it differently but sorry to say you aren't the author, i found the fact tht he loves her so much to try and save her by staying away romantic. Otherwise he would simply go and kill her everytime and to the untrained eye like yours i believe yes it appears that Cam is a good guy but i saw it from the start which made me want to keep reading.

  6. @Anonymous

    I completely agree with you that I tell the whole story and only the bad parts. I do think it should have different parts, aka the good parts.

    I can't rewrite it as I didn't write it. Lauren Kate should write what makes her happy. People should read what makes them happy. My review is a statement of my opinion, and my opinion is that reading FALLEN didn't make me happy. I have no opinion as to writing it.

    I'm all for Daniel staying away to save Luce, except he's done it in the past and it didn't work (as stated in my review). If a solution doesn't work, it isn't a solution. He kills her everytime whether he stays away or not. Why not have some happiness first?

    So . . . you saw that Cam was a good guy from the start? I'm going to assume that you meant you saw he was a bad guy from the start. I did too - that's what I meant by, "Kate sets him up to be bad," but if that didn't come across it's my fault. I didn't mean that I couldn't tell he was a bad guy. I just meant he spent most of the book acting like a better guy than Daniel. His bad guy attributes felt tacked on for the sake of the plot instead of a part of his character.

    I hope you enjoy TORMENT. As I said in this comment, read what makes you happy.


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