Fallen by Lauren Kate
|Fallen by Lauren Kate
|Reviewer: Robert James
|Summary: Supernatural romance which stands out from the many other recent releases in the genre due to excellent characterisation and good writing.
|Date: December 2009
|Publisher: Random House Kids
A 17 year old girl at a new school meets a mysterious and impossibly good-looking boy, who she's immediately drawn to. He seems determined to either ignore her or be outright rude to her, until he saves her life, and the two of them end up drawn together. This isn't Stephenie Meyer's Twilight, but it certainly has striking similarities.
Of course, there are tons of books out there which, if not influenced by the Twilight series, are certainly carefully aimed by publishers to appeal to the same readers. This is the next in a long line, but it stands out from the rest by virtue of compelling characters, a great gothic setting in a reform school, and surprisingly strong writing.
Main character Luce is especially clearly portrayed - she's been sent to Sword & Cross as a result of a dark incident which left her boyfriend dead, and is the victim of mysterious shadows which appear to her but which no-one else can see. She's far from being the only strange person at Sword & Cross, though, as her new friend Arianne, potential boyfriends Daniel and Cam, bitchy love rival Molly, and the beautiful Gabbe all appear to be holding secrets of their own.
One of those secrets is the main thrust of the book - that Daniel is a fallen angel. I've been trying to decide for the best part of the last week, since I read the book, whether I should actually say that in the review or whether to let readers find out for themselves, but publicity on Amazon and elsewhere is making his true nature really clear so I'll assume that the vast majority of people will already know by the time they come to read it. Regardless, I don't feel that knowing it was a major spoiler as even though it's not stated until late in the book, there are a huge amount of complexities I could never have begun to imagine coming from it.
If anything, Fallen is more ambitious than Twilight. This isn't just a supernatural love story. There are dark forces at work here, and it gradually becomes clear that a lot rests on the relationship Luce forms. If anything, maybe too gradually. When the revelation of Daniel's true nature finally comes, it's massively impactful, but the book seems rushed from then on in, despite doing a superb job of setting up what is going to be a must-read sequel.
The aforementioned rushed ending brought this down from 5 stars for me but make no mistake, it's a seriously excellent book, with a huge amount of really interesting characters - all of the six students I mentioned earlier, plus a couple of members of staff at the school, are vividly drawn and stand out as very realistic (for a fantasy novel, at least!) I can't wait for the follow-up, Torment, as I think with the characters already established and an intriguing starting point, it will be even better than Fallen.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of this book to Bookbag. We also have a review of Kate's The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove.
Further reading suggestion: Twilight, obviously. Fans of supernatural romance going for a less well-known book would also be advised to try Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr, and/or Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires series. You might enjoy Ghost: Blood and Fire by Phoebe Reeves Murray but we had our reservations.
You can read more book reviews or buy Fallen by Lauren Kate at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Fallen by Lauren Kate at Amazon.com.
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