Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fallen [Review]

Title: Fallen by Lauren Kate
Series: Fallen, #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
What They Say:
There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

What I Say:
Wow. Okay. So I read this one right after I finished with Mockingjay, looking for something mildly interesting to get into. Um. This is one of the first books I’ve read that has literally put me to sleep. Multiple times. It started out as a quiet story about an troubled teen at a boarding school; which was boring, but not so bad. Then, in the last few chapters, it became a completely different kind of story, which was boring and bad. That said…

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Plot: ugh
So Lucinda Price is being sent to reform school. Why? Her parents think she's crazy because she sees dark shadows all the time, and oh yeah, her boyfriend mysteriously combusted one night in the woods. Poor Lucinda thinks it's her fault because this is a teeny novel and therefore the protagonist must be entirely self-centered. So. At the new school, Luce makes a smattering of colorful and crazy friends, including one cute guy (Cam) who’s all charming and wants to get to know her better. Then, because there has to be a love triangle shoved in my face right away, there’s another cute guy (Daniel) who hates her and flips her off the first day. Reading from her Bella Swan textbook, Luce decides she’s going to pursue the boy who hates her, because she feels a mysterious connection to him. Mysterious things happen that don’t necessarily have anything to do with Daniel, but Luce decides they do. So for about two hundred pages we read about Luce going to class, being bored, being socially awkward, and obsessing over Daniel Grigori. Then, suddenly! All this supernatural stuff starts happening for no apparent reason! What?

'Ugh' is right. Had this book been just its first two hundred pages, it would have been okay. Boring, a little bland, but okay. Maybe three stars if I was in a good mood. Luce has friends, has an admirer, and is living her life. Maybe a coming-of-age story? But then, suddenly (and I really mean suddenly) the entire story changes course. (We'll call this The Break for future reference). One minute everyone’s human, the next practically no one is human. Not just that, the author decides that we need to have the climax of the story right now even though nothing has been explained and the reader is like Wait, what…? (And even then, it’s boring). I get that this is going to be a series, and so the author needs some loose ends to hold interest into later books, but this was just terrible. An example: every five minutes Luce mentions her boyfriend who mysteriously caught fire and died, and then there’s a fire at the school (so you think Oh, maybe they're connected?) but then you don’t get a single answer about either of them. Not even a little clue to show us that the author has any idea what she’s doing. Why, then, are these things mentioned at all? It was very frustrating. Maybe Lauren Kate needs to take a class on brainstorming and making those little charts before writing a story, because this was just ridiculous. I saw a comment online by a girl who said this was one of her all-time favorite books (like, OMG yeah!). I wanted to find her parents and bludgeon them to death. I didn’t drop the rating to one star, because this book wasn’t so bad that I actually got angry while reading it, but it did come close.

Characters: meh
So despite being as interesting as a box of rocks (though sometimes a box of rocks can be interesting, if they’re shiny), Luce wasn’t such a bad main character. She fulfilled all the absolutely necessary jobs of a protagonist, including but not limited to: being present in the story, sometimes having an opinion about what’s going on, and speaking on occasion. Other than that, I just wanted to throw a box of rocks at her.

Arriane is my favorite character of the bunch, or she had the potential to be. The first time we see her, she reveals that she wears a tracking bracelet because she’s one of the crazier, more dangerous students at Sword and Cross. I thought, Ooh, she’s gonna do crazy things. Yeah, no. After that scene, Lauren Kate apparently felt she had adequately characterized Arriane and she needed no further substance. She’s the “fun one”, I guess, but she’s just as mild-mannered as the rest of them. Don’t even get me started on after The Break, when everyone decides to just drop their personalities and adopt new ones…

Cam also started out interesting as the Cool New Guy, but once we’ve determined that he wants to woo Luce, he’s just boring and predictable until he’s not (that stupid Break again…)

Was Daniel supposed to be attractive? Or romantic? Or interesting? He was none of those things. Or better yet, he was a little bit of all of those things, but not enough. I mean, he’s supposed to be the main event and yet he doesn’t have a single line of worth for about two hundred pages. At least I can say that his personality doesn’t change with The Break, because he didn’t have much of one to begin with.

Relationships: meh
Luce and Cam - While I noted that this book would have been okay without the Breaky supernatural parts, these two would not have been. Cam may be good-looking, but their “relationship” gets annoying. Cam buys Luce shiny things and almost desperately tries to get her attention, and Luce notices but doesn’t care because she’s obsessed with Daniel who doesn’t even like her (pre-Break). What’s the point of a love triangle when it bores you to tears?

Luce and Daniel - This book is the gold standard of Fast-Forward Romance. These two go from being outwardly indifferent to each other (if you discount Luce stalking him on the internet and dreaming about him all the time, and Daniel hating her stupid guts) to suddenly in love. They don’t even have a full normal conversation before professing this undying love. What the hell?

Special Features: meh
I was impressed when Hush, Hush did fallen angels (not a spoiler: the book’s called Fallen, what do you expect?), not because they’re crazy-amazing or anything, but because it fit the story and added a unique supplement to the average teenage relationship. In this book, it’s like Lauren Kate got writers’ block after her forbidden love story got boring and decided Hey, let’s throw all this other angel-y shit in there and see what happens! Word of advice to writers: just because the formula doesn’t blow up and singe your face when you add your crazy new plot device to it, doesn’t mean it isn’t a bad idea. Shame on you, Miss Kate (if that is your real name).

Parting Quote:

The only way to survive eternity is to be able to appreciate each moment.
Oh, gag me with a spoon. I beg you. I need to go wash my hands and read an awesome book to wipe my memory of the likes of this.

1 comment:

  1. You know, I've been reading such good reviews about this book, and yet couldn't be persuaded to buy it after reading a few pages. It's nice to know someone else didn't enjoy it.