Luce Price sees shadows. These aren’t the normal shadows cast by the sun, but entities that seem to follow her around. And when they’re near, bad things happen. Thus begins Fallen (released December of 2009), the first book in a mysterious, romantic series by Lauren Kate.
Luce is sent to Sword & Cross, a school for troubled teens, because of these creepy things that only she can see. Her peers are true juvenile delinquents, and the rules that keep them in place—no cell phones, video cameras around every turn—have to be followed by Luce too, even though her issues are a little different than the norm. She dreads the moment when someone asks her what crazy thing landed her in a hellhole like Sword & Cross, because the answer—shadows appeared, a boy died—make her sound truly nuts, even in a place like this.
Things start to look up when Luce encounters Daniel, a beautiful blonde with an attitude problem. Worse, Luce swears she’s seen him before, but she can’t place where. Even after bringing it up to him and him denying it, she still doesn’t believe him. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that Daniel seems to know things about her, personal, intimate things that only someone familiar with her and her life might be privy to.
If I’m speaking honestly (and I try to in these reviews, or they truly can’t be an accurate opinion of mine), this book was hard for me to remember. I read it when it first came out, and I only had glimpses in my mind when I read it again to be reviewed. Even after going through it recently, I had to flip back to recall certain details. Perhaps this is because this book left me with a feeling more than anything else. Curiosity, romance, betrayal, these were the emotions that wrapped together and were left with me after I closed the back cover. I think this is part of what makes this series so popular with the bibliophile who is a romantic at heart.
The story was a familiar one: girl becomes instantly drawn to a brooding guy who pulls away, but that doesn’t stop her feeling pulled to him. Even the supernatural element was one that recently has been done a lot. Having said that, Lauren Kate wrote Fallen in a time of over-saturation in the vampire genre, and this was a refreshing change of pace. The story is well-written, and for those of you who like romance, that is the driving force of the series.
Another wonderful part of the book is the way the author writes the secrets. Things are exposed slowly, and even after major revelations are made, there are layers and layers of secrets that have yet to be discovered. This definitely made for fast page-turning and curiosity about where the series was headed.
Any drawbacks might be the fact that, reading the stories now, I am already bored by the concept. But that’s not the author’s fault, that the genre has become so full of similar books in the past few years. And I don’t like that this book was more forgettable to me than my bad memory usually allows for. I’m not really sure why this is, perhaps the familiar concept, perhaps the YA love triangle saturation. Either way, I struggled at points trying to remember bits and pieces that I’d recently read. It wasn’t for lack of interest though!
This book is for a certain type of person, one who likes romance-heavy fiction. The characters are well-developed, Luce’s voice is clear and strong, and the world (including the fantasy elements) is distinctly visible in the mind. The way Lauren Kate twists the fantasy in with the reality is done well, and it surprised me the way things were revealed. It wasn’t typical, even in a familiar theme, and I think that’s what makes all the difference. However, at the end of the day, this book is about long lost love and what someone will go through to be with their soul mate, which Lauren Kate writes beautifully. If that is your cup of tea, you should definitely pour some Fallen into your literary teapot.