Friday, October 1, 2010


Luce Price is shipped off to dilapidated Sword and Cross reform school after surviving a fire that killed her boyfriend Trevor and having no memory of what happened. Whenever she’s alone near water or trees, there are these menacing shadows that appear and follow her. If having no memory what happened wasn’t enough, the crazy talk about shadows sealed the deal. The school is outdated and horrible to behold. Plus, since she’s the newest of the students, she can’t seem to avoid being picked on and humiliated. She’s mysteriously drawn to Daniel and feels as if she’s met him before. He exhibits erratic behavior: one minute being nice to her and the next being rude to get her to stay away. Another boy, Cam, is clearly interested and really nice to her, but there’s something odd about him as well. Are these two boys who they seem to be? Which one should she trust?

I had been looking forward to reading Fallen for quite some time. It seemed more steeped in horror like Simon Holt’s The Devouring with the evil shadows that seem to cause accidents and kill people. At the beginning, the mystery about Luce’s reason for being at reform school is hinted at and finally revealed, which is pretty horrific. I was hoping this trend would recur throughout the book, but I was wrong. The story is more about star-crossed lovers and description of hot young men than anything involving horror. Sure, there are a couple of other deaths in the book, but they mostly occur out of the sight of the main character and are described to her later. I was disappointed that this book had more in common with Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight then with The Devouring.

The pacing of the novel is a bit weird. The big revealing moment happens in the last 50 pages in a 450 page book. It seems tacked on and it interrupts the flow of the novel. If it had occurred earlier in the book, there could have been a lot more detail and more time to go through the event. I would have preferred that to the back and forth between liking and hating Cam and Daniel. The teen angst and melodrama got a little old after 400 pages.

The book isn’t all bad. I like the colorful characters that populated the reform school, including the fellow delinquent students and insufferable teachers. Luce is an interesting character to follow with her own unique voice. The novel is generally well written and kept me engaged for most of it, but there’s only so much mooning over boys I can take. I did read the entire book in the course of a day, so I’m still going to give the second book a chance.

My rating: 3.5/5 fishmuffins


Misty said...

I've had this almost since it came out, and though I lovelovelove the cover, I haven't been able to bring myself to read it. I'm almost positive I'm going to be let down. But my book club has it scheduled to read for December, so I guess I'll be finding out soon...

Vampires and Tofu said...

Torment is SO much better, stick with the series, I'm pretty sure you'll like the next one a lot =)

Sullivan McPig said...

I got a sampler that contained the first chapter. can't say it intrigued me and reading your review makes me even more certain this isn't a book for me.