Saturday, January 16, 2010

Review of Fallen

Fallen 
by Lauren Kate
Published: 2009
Pages: 452
Genre: YA Fantasy
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

What Amazon says: 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. Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.


You know the story. New, shy student goes to unfamiliar school and has to adapt. New, shy student sees hot, mysterious James Dean-esqe guy across the hall. She is immediately attracted to him even when he blatantly isn't interested in her and/or sends a series of exhausting mixed signals. It made me want to throw up my hands in disgust and cry out, "He's just not that into you!" Anyway, continue to insert the usual fantasy elements + possibly a vampire or some creature + a love triangle = the basic plot of most of the YA fantasy novels currently out there. I'm not going to lie. Fallen posseses many of these characteristics; however, there are some new and interesting aspects that make this book stand out.

I personally loved the fact that this book, like
Beautiful Creatures, takes place down south. The descriptions of the spanish moss, live oak trees, and decrepit cemeteries, were extremely vivid. I just visited Savannah last spring and fell in love with it so needless to say, I was in my glory.
For example, "She followed Cam to the bottom of the bowl-like graveyard and the more ornate tombs and mausoleums.  On the slope above, the headstones seemed to be looking down at them, like Luce and Cam were performers in an amphitheater.  The midday sun glowed through the leaves of a giant live oak tree in the cemetery , and Luce shaded her eyes with her hands. It was the hottest day they'd had all week."  pg. 145
I also loved that this book didn't include any vampires, because if you've read my blog before, you know I'm done with vamps...for now. The novel also seemed dark to me and a bit scary at times. I don't know if this is because I just watched Paranormal Activity, which by the way scared the be-jesus out of me, but some of Lauren Kate's descriptions of the shadows were eerie. Just take a look at the cover! It's beautiful, but very ominous. Lastly, I must say that Lauren Kate's ending was superb. Yes, I was extremely confused and there were many, many questions that I wanted answered; however, she does end it masterfully, because I know that I will be picking up the sequel, Torment, which will come out in the fall.

There are two reasons I didn't give this novel four out of four stars. The first reason being the fact that parts of it follow the cookie-cutter format of many of the YA fantasy novels out there. I truly long for original plots (AHHMM.....Hunger Games) and although there are many new concepts in Fallen, parts of it seemed derivative. As I was reading it, I was thinking that it was a lot like Evermore by Alyson Noel, which by the way I wrote a review of and liked it more than Fallen. But I digress.... the last and final reason is because Luce wasn't tough enough for me. She was another co-dependent Bella Swan-ish character. Luce said herself that she had problems standing up to people (Hello?! The whole incident with Cam) so I found myself relentlessly yelling at her to put on her big girl pants . And what about Cam? Trying to understand his motives was like trying to figure out the DaVinci Code. I simply didn't "get" him. Scratch that. I am still unsure about him. Can anyone clue me in?

Other than that, I found it entertaining and a fun read. I think my students will enjoy it and I can see why it is on the
New York Times Bestseller list. Word on the street is that Disney Studios secured the rights to Fallen; I think it will translate well to the big screen. It seems that everyone is "loving angels instead" of vampires and I must say that is music to my ears. I think vampires have had their day in the sun....errr...spotlight and I think the YA literary world is ready to move on.

Book Trailer:


4 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this one although I thought a lot of things could have been more fully explained. I'm hoping it's because it was setting up for book 2 and not that it's going to have unfinished threads all over the place. I agree it's very formualaic but I still found it an interesting read.

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  2. I agree, Debbie. I am hoping all my questions will be answered in book 2! Thanks for the comment!

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  3. I'm not bothered with cookie-cutter plots. Never have been. The only time this bothers me is when the author repeats this same thing in their own books. If her next series is the same thing and only the names have been changed, then I will be upset. The author's voice stands out as the original aspect of the book and that's what I focus on.

    What I didn't find was the severe emotional pull. I connected and there was excitement, but nothing like I've felt in some others I've read. That's when a book gets the max rating. It's OMG and the facts don't seem to matter...lol.

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  4. I agree, J.Kaye. I couldn't really connect with any of the characters. There wasn't that huge WOW moment that I got when I read Hunger Games.

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