Monday, November 22, 2010

Fallen, by Lauren Kate

Published by Delacorte Press, 2009

I was working as a bookseller when I first heard of Fallen, months before its official release. It was sold to me as the book that heralded fallen angels’ triumphant overthrowing of vampires in YA paranormal romance. Well, Fallen is a solid effort by Lauren Kate, but I didn’t exactly feel like throwing away my fangs for [clipped] wings upon first read. Its main competition was Hush Hush when first released, and I think that book was the better of the two. I haven’t picked up any of the numerous fallen angels stories that quickly followed after these two, and I don’t know if they piqued my interest enough to read on (even if I am being whammed in the face with them every vaguely bookish place I go).
Fallen starts off pretty well, with an unusual, appealing setting, a couple of interesting characters and a swampy, quasi-gothic atmosphere that slowly builds over the course of the book. I could not help but feel, however, that some set-pieces, like the lake and the pool-within-a-church, were tacked on just because the author thought they would be cool. Which is fine, but they need to be intertwined more seamlessly in the story and have more function, rather than just being a pretty place for characters to carry on a conversation.
The development of Luce’s big romance with Daniel was intriguing enough, but once it got into all the lovey-dovey stuff at the end I found myself totally unsatisfied. I really don’t feel we got enough of a connection between Luce and Daniel to justify all those grandiose statements of love. Their star-crossed lover deal has appeal, but we need to have more of why they are drawn to each other time and time again rather than just being told they love each other so much because it is meant to be. LOVE IS NOT BUILT ON HOTNESS AND A SIZZLING LOOK. I wish YA paranormal romance would get this.
Luce has her moments, but a lot of the time I found her to be a wet blanket. This is a problem in a lot of teenage supernatural fiction I’ve read – the female protagonist never really shows enough personality to justify all these ancient, powerful, beautiful creatures falling in love with her. Also a lot of her ‘flirting’ with Daniel and Cam came off as stilted when it really should have been cute and clever.
This book certainly kept me turning the pages, and the idea behind it is a good one. But ultimately Luce and Daniel’s love left me a little cold.

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