by Lauren Kate
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.
I'd been hesitant to read this one. On the one hand, it has a beautiful cover and I'd heard a lot of omging raves about it. On the other, I have yet to read an angel book I liked, and I never really trust the OMGers of the world...
(sorry. sort of.)
When I first started it, I thought maybe this was the angel book that was going to break the mold and live up to what it promised. Yes, I found the circumstances of Luce ending up at Sword and Cross a little iffy and forced, but I fell into Luce's voice and was willing to go with it. There was a lot of hinting at something dark that had happened at her old school, and at visions she'd had since childhood that resulted in her seeing a psychiatrist and her family thinking she was, um, a little cray-cray. I was looking forward to thr struggle and the tension this would produce, and I settled in, ready to be pleased.
And then Luce met Daniel.
And really, who needs tension of any kind, save faint, unwarranted sexual tension? Clearly not Lauren Kate, because once Daniel entered the picture, that was all that mattered. And yes, I know that this was because they have this long, angst-filled history (that Luce doesn't actually remember, but hey, who's keeping track?) -- but the fact of that matter is, there's nothing in the story to actually tell me that until well into the book (and Luce's obsession). I only knew because a) of course they did, it was an obvious cliche that had to be met, and b) spoilers in reviews.
So after that brief, shiny period in the beginning when I thought I was going to like this book,it quickly devolved into the typical freaky-obsessive-says-she's-strong-and-smart-but-acts-really-weak-and-stupid YA book. I'm fed up with this trend. And it may not be fair to take it out on Fallen and Luce, but since that's about all she had going for her, she's going to bear the brunt of my wrath.
What the hell is going on in YA today that the coveted storyline is a bland, supposedly strong girl who has perfected her damsel in distress act, stalking or being stalked by what may be the creepiest teenage boy to ever walk into a homeroom and give a smarmy smile? What is that? I get alpha maleness, and I get bad boy blahblahblah, but that is what's supposed to make teen girls quiver nowadays? I just get so --
Arrgh. No, I can't do it*. I didn't hate it as much as Hush, Hush, but I really don't like this trend.
I'm going to cut this review short and just end it by saying that the male lead is a douche until it is deemed Luce is ready for him not to be; the angel element is forced and hazy, and the reader is made to take ridiculous leaps knowing how the book is going to end because the cover and everyone has said so, and not because there's really anything there to make you go with it. The "bad" characters were actually the most interesting and endearing, or at least who have the most potential to be, if Lauren Kate would take advantage of some good ole Byronic hero stuff. (And I don't mean Daniel, who was a "good" character, supposedly; he just didn't act like it. I mean the "bad" characters who are being set up as Luce's foes, standing firmly on the Hell-black side even when some gray area would be much more interesting...)
But I did like the ending. And not just because it ended. Or not only...
*I'll save that little angry tangent for a rant. Which is coming. Soon.
On a side note: Something good did come of this book. A few months ago, in a group I belong to on Goodreads, we had a bookmark swap based purely on cover; I did mine on Fallen, and I thought I'd share with you the (somewhat blurry) pictures of the bookmark I made:
One side is Luce's dress from the cover, and the other side is the background of the cover, with the trees and little birds and the sky -- oh, I still love this cover, I'm not letting the story ruin it for me!
(ps. I destroyed a shawl to make the dress on the bookmark. ;p )
Here's my teaser:
And here's the trailer:
<--- I'm going to count this for partial credit in The Introverted Reader's Southern Literature Challenge. I technically read it at the end of 2010, but I am reviewing it this year, and want to help TIR promote her challenge, so partial credit it is!