Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Title: Fallen
Author: Lauren Kate
Series: Fallen Novels #1
Rating: ★★★★★
Genre: YA/Teen paranormal romance
Description: (from Goodreads) Seventeen-Year-Old Luce is a new student at Sword & Cross, an unwelcoming boarding/reform school in Savannah, Georgia. Luce’s boyfriend died under suspicious circumstances, and now she carries the guilt over his death with her as she navigates the unfriendly halls at Sword & Cross, where every student seems to have an unpleasant—even evil—history.

It’s only when she sees Daniel, a gorgeous fellow student, that Luce feels there’s a reason to be here—though she doesn’t know what it is. And Daniel’s frosty cold demeanor toward her? It’s really a protective device that he’s used again . . . and again. For Daniel is a fallen angel, doomed to fall in love with the same girl every 17 years . . . and watch her die. And Luce is a fellow immortal, cursed to be reincarnated again and again as a mortal girl who has no idea of who she really is.

I picked up this book not really knowing what to expect. As a YA novel, I'm out of the target range and I'd heard pretty mixed things about it. However, the cover (and an awesome offer at my local bookstore) encouraged me to take a chance and I am so incredibly glad I did! I got sucked straight into the book and really enjoyed reading about Luce's experiences at Sword & Cross. The book is written with a really gothic feel, which the desolate surroundings only add to.

I'd heard that people felt the book takes too long to get started, but I found the gradual nature of the story to be great at drawing out tension. As I read little questions kept popping up in my mind, and as soon as the author started to answer these I was finding more questions. Luckily the book answers all the questions it raises, and yet somehow still manages a cliffhanger ending. At the end of the day, the blurb and tagline 'some angels are destined to fall' makes it clear exactly who and what Daniel is from the start, but I enjoyed watching Luce try to figure it out.

I really liked Luce and the author's done a great job of creating a variety of characters to fill the school with. These aren't all the kind of characters you would expect in a reform school either, and each is pretty distinct. I must admit it took me a while to warm up to Daniel. He was incredibly cold to Luce, at the same time as Cam (another student) was being really nice. I did worry the book would then descend into some kind of cheesy love-triangle, but again the author managed to twist the storyline to keep the reader interested.

All in all, Fallen was a great read and I'm really looking forward to Torment, the next book in the series, due out this autumn.

Content Description

Sex and nudity - Nothing in the book progresses past kissing, although there is very mild suggestion that more is going on with some of the couples.

Violence and gore - There is a scene where a character is bullied by another student, culminating in a plate of meatloaf being smashed into their head. There are two fist-fights, and a battle scene at the end of the book between two groups of characters. One character is wounded (although the wound itself isn't discussed in great detail). One character murders a character and attempts to murder another.

Alcohol and drugs - One party scene with teens drinking alcohol, one bar visit by two teenage characters and a couple of references to/by a character who can smuggle alcohol (and it is implied drugs as well) into the school.

Profanity - None

Frightening/intense scenes - The lead character is followed around by shadows only she can see which is disconcerting at best and disturbing at worst. The final battle scene and it's lead-up are quite intense. The lead character ends up in a situation which is both intense and dangerous.

~ Claire

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