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A book by Lauren Kate

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Fallen Asleep - Spoiler Alert

  • Nov 16, 2009
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In "Fallen," young adult author Lauren Kate attempts to create the first in a grouping of novels that will do for angels what "Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)" does for vampires and werewolves. Knowing that supernatural themes capture the young teen girl audience like no other, Kate capitalizes on a formula that already works. However, she struggles a bit in her inability to generate the type of passionate, believable bond between her lead character and her love interest that will whip up her fan base to the type of frenzy that will vie with the Jacob/Bella/Edward triangle beloved by the readers of Meyer's "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" and "Eclipse (The Twilight Saga)."

As "Fallen" deals with themes of reincarnation and forever love, Kate does little to elaborate on illustrating the histories of her couple. She needs to generate a sense of the magic of their chemistry so that her audience clamors for more of their togetherness and roots for their eventual reunion. Instead she concentrates on presenting the confused and angst-ridden life of seventeen-year-old Luce, new to a strangely atmospheric reform school in the low country of Georgia. Troubled by her past and the weird shadow manifestations that haunt her, Luce tries hard to make her new circumstances work and to keep it all together until she lays eyes on blonde teen god Daniel Grigori and her focus cannot help but shift.

Kate spends nearly all of her 400 plus pages on describing the minutia of Luce's day, the girls that she perceives as either her friends or her competition and her attraction to Daniel and Cam, two of the school's hottest boys. But what should give the story its drive--the actual mystery regarding Luce, the school and its inmates and how her past life relationships with Daniel--is not really touched upon until the last hundred pages. Instead, Kate seems to focus on a portrait of a young girl with a typical young girl's questions and problems. However adequately Kate presents this aspect of Luce's persona, it slows the feel of the entire novel, making even climatic scenes seem dull. Because of this the story's big moments that should be anticipated are rushed and play out a bit falsely; Kate simply doesn't build up the feeling of the supernatural or the sense of timeless love too effectively. She doesn't make the reader weak in the knees, eager to turn the next page and swoon at her dialogue while savoring the couple's reawakened chemistry.

Unfortunately, I didn't feel any chemistry until it was almost impossible to ignore towards the very last pages. In fact, I found that I was reading the novel's most exciting scenes with the same lack of excitement that I read most of the book's contents. It is not as if the story is a bad one, however similar it is to Twilight and other young adult novels with the supernatural theme. It could have been wonderful if only Kate had driven her plot in a totally different way.

Take note. What makes the Twilight series so powerful is its ability to depict teenage love with its nuance, innocence and "to death do us part" intensity. Edward and Bella "grew" up with different sensibilities, but Meyers takes the time out to explore their complexities. Not that her style is perfect, at times her scenes are downright corny, but let's face it, on the eve of the debut of the film version of "," she has created quite a little industry for herself. Team Edward and Team Jacob would die for their respective heartthrobs. Would something similar occur for the sake of Daniel and Luce's love? I doubt it.

Kate could have used the trials and errors of Twilight to fashion a perfect little series for herself. But she did not. The reader is told Luce and Daniel are long-time lovers, but we do not feel their passion until it is blatantly depicted at the end of the novel. Kate almost had it right--she begins her story with a scene from the past--however, she abandons this technique once chapter one is underway. Why oh why didn't she continue with this flashback technique to give the reader the sense of forever love? Reliving chapters in this couple's multiple existences would have been both poignant and exciting. Plus it would have added to the pivotal moment of Luce's revelation in a way that would have solidified that "I knew it would happen" satisfaction that any reader enjoys if it is done properly.

As it stands "Fallen" has potential but it needs a lot of work. As a piece of literature, it falls short on many levels, most of which address the many loose ends that are never fully rectified. Even though it is the first in a series, the novel itself must stand alone in terms of its structure. This one does not. The ending cliff hangs over situations that are hinted at but never defined. Kate has her work cut out for her in the next installment.

Bottom line? Lauren Kate takes the idea of love lived over many lifetimes and like Twilight fashions one of her teen protagonists as a supernatural being. The potential for success is there if Kate structures her next installment in the series with a little more thought to the bond between her characters and intensifying the plot drive so that the reader stops yawning and starts turning those pages to find out what's coming next.
Diana Faillace Von Behren

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review by . June 25, 2010
In truth I bought this book thinking it was another one that I had wanted to buy. As I got to the quarter way point I realized this wasn't what I had thought I was getting myself into. Although I didn't fall in love with the novel at the first chapter I found that by the end I loved it! In the end I even ended up liking it more than the book I had originally intended to purchase. I am now waiting on the edge of my seat for the sequel that is due out in the fall, but I plan on re reading …
review by . August 15, 2010
  Review: Fallen is dark, mysterious, and interesting (despite it's flaws).      When Luce shows up at Sword and Cross, she makes only a few friends, and a couple instant enemies. Yet, she can't seem to stop thinking about Daniel (even if he is a complete jerk to her....repeatedly. But that's the new "sexy", right?), but then there is nice ol' Cam (maybe I'm the only one that gets the "creeper" vibe off this guy?). Needless …
review by . July 17, 2010
I don't know what is with the current obsession - comparing everything out there to Twilight, but I really don't see any themes here that make it the same thing. In its own right this story was quite captivating and well written, the characters weren't all black and white, you didn't know who to trust and it had such a great layer of mystery that it kept me turning the pages no matter how late it was at night. It has boys and girls and a bit of the supernatural (maybe? Who knows, have to read on …
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
Ick ick ick. A friend recommended this book to me. I couldn't put it down, but that wasn't a good thing. It was like watching a train wreck, I just couldn't look away. As the story spirals to a close, all I could think was Oh, the world hangs on these two lovers being together? Riiiiiight. Really stretched the limits of my credibility. If you want to read about angels, read Sharon Shinn's Archangel series. It's much better written.
Quick Tip by . June 30, 2010
This book follows the current trend in teens and tweens writing. The lowest common denominator to bring sales. But instead of vampires...angels. This was a quick read for me. Just a day. The world that was created for this book is fantastic. The imagery and the description really draws the reader in and it is a page turner. This is a beach read. I'm patiently waiting for the next book despite not being in my teens anymore. I will give in to this guilty pleasure.
review by . February 11, 2010
Review courtesy of [..]    Another beautiful YA cover yields yet another beautiful read.     Some Angels are Destined to Fall    Why did the back cover have to have that statement? Talk about spoiling your own book. The fallen angel element of this book isn't revealed outright until much later in Fallen. I realize that with the success of Hush, Hush, many people were already talking about the inclusion of fallen angels in both books, but …
review by . December 25, 2009
Everything in Luce's life has been off since the accident in the cabin. She's always had to deal with the shadows and was on medication for a while because of them, but now she is being forced to attend a reform school, Sword & Cross. There, she is virtually cut off from everything she knows and cares about, her friends, her family, communication with the outside world. There are too many things in Luce's life that she doesn't know how to explain and being surrounded by other possibly crazy kids …
review by . December 16, 2009
Luce can't remember a time when she didn't see the shadows--dark black moving shapes that come and follow her, usually near water or in dark areas. After years of attempting to "fix" their odd daughter, Luce's parents send her to a northeastern boarding school where the worst happens and Luce ends up involved in a mysterious death. At this point in her seventeen years, it's reform school as the only option, so her parents enroll her in Sword and Cross, which would have been bad enough if the one …
review by . December 10, 2009
Although Fallen starts at a slow pace - the characters and its descriptions of the derelict reform school - will give you the feeling that you are walking down the halls with Luce, or hanging out at the cemetery or taking a stroll through the school grounds.    I will confess that what originally attracted me to this book was its stunning cover art. Because yes, I'm fickle like that. But the story was captivating and I really liked its unique and clever plot twists (which I personally …
review by . December 07, 2009
Luce Price is still reeling from a terrifying night in which her boyfriend died. She can't explain what happened, and as a result, she's sent to a reform school where among her many odd classmates, she meets Daniel. She has a connection with him that she can't explain, but he seems to hate her. But the reason for his disdain is something she never could have guessed.     For many teens that yearn for more mysterious beings and the thrill of forbidden love in their stories, Fallen …
About the reviewer
Diana Faillace Von Behren ()
Ranked #167
I like just about anything. My curiosity tends to be insatiable--I love the "finding out" and the "ah-ha" moments.      Usually I review a book or film with the … more
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Grade 8 Up—Luce must spend her senior year at reform school after her boyfriend dies in a mysterious fire. She suspects that the dark shadows that have tormented her all her life had something to do with it. When she meets supernaturally gorgeous Daniel, she feels a familiar longing, making her believe they have met before. Although Cam is clearly interested in her, Luce only wants Daniel, who runs both hot and cold. He tries to keep Luce at a distance, telling her that the truth would kill her as it has many times before. The first chapter is gripping and foreshadows the supernatural elements to come. The plot revolves around lovers who find one another, only to lose one another over and over again in a story that spans centuries. Instead of vampires, though, these are fallen angels. Many elements are not resolved, such as the cause of the fire and why angels are at this school. Still, fans of supernatural romance will be lining up for this book despite its flaws, and begging for a sequel.—Kris Hickey, Columbus Metropolitan Library, OH
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ISBN-10: 0385738935
ISBN-13: 978-0385738934
Author: Lauren Kate
Genre: Teens
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
First to Review

"Almost too simple"
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