"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 Sword & Cross boarding school in Savannah. He's the one bright spot in a pace where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are screwups, and security cameras watch every move.
Except Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce - he goes out of his way to make that very clear. But she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, Luce has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret...even if it kills her."
Lauren Kate knows how to entertain, let's just put that out there before I complain about some other aspects. You'll want to know what happens next, even as the book continues to drag with lengthy descriptions of simple things that don't have a whole lot to do with the plot. The book is 452 pages long...and it easily could have been 250-300 pages, without losing the actual plot line. Too much "extra," definitely, though again, you'll want to know what everything is building up to, so you'll keep turning the pages.
As a main character, Luce is not nearly as strong as I would have hoped. She is portrayed as a weak girl, pining away for a boy that doesn't give her the time of day, and ignoring the only friends she's made to follow him around. That was annoying. But, the whole point was that she didn't know who Daniel and Cam really were, so of course she was written as slightly clueless.
I was completely annoyed with the whole "reform" school thing, being that the kids could basically do whatever they wanted, including drink/smoke/take a walk in the woods/etc. I get that Sword & Cross was somewhat of a cover for some of the students, but the reform school aspect could have been done a bit better, if that's the cover the author chose to use.
One other thing that bugged me (and then I promise, we'll move on to more good) was the cover image chosen. I think it's beautiful, with a dark, and gothic feeling, just like the story, but Luce's hair is super-long and it's mentioned about 20 times in the book how she has been forced to chop it short after the fire. Like pixie short. Not waist length. Just a minor issue, but an issue the same. Maybe it's not even Luce on the cover...who knows.
Ok, so I DID like some aspects of Fallen, even though at the moment it probably doesn't seem like it. I really enjoyed the whole "fallen angel" theme, which seems to be the up-and-coming new subject of choice. The concept was intriguing, the descriptions of the school and the surroundings (though incredibly lengthy) were detailed and made for beautiful images.
I think Penn was an excellent character and I liked the way Arriane was written, so the reader didn't quite know if she was good or bad. And again, I wanted to know what happens at the end, so even though I was irritated about a lot of things, I still kept reading. And I'll read the sequel (Torment, out in September).
Rating: 3 out of 5
Overall, it entertained me and would hand it to fantasy-loving teens.
Review copy received from publisher
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