Fallen (Fallen Series #1) Review

Fallen (Fallen Series #1) is a 2009 fantasy young adult supernatural romance novel written by Lauren Kate, published by Delacorte Press.  Set as the first installment in the Fallen series and centers on main protagonist, Luce Price, who is sent to Sword & Cross boarding school after being involved in a mysterious fire, her attention is captured by the strangely familiar Daniel Grigori.


Positives:

  • Premise is interesting
  • Some good writing
  • Great antagonists

Negatives:

  • Poorly written
  • Frustrating main protagonists
  • Poorly written characters
  • Uninteresting story
  • Unbelievably forced romance

Plot:   The novel revolves around a young girl named Lucinda Price who is sent to Sword & Cross Reform School after she is accused of murdering a boy in a fire incident. When she gets there, she meets the mysterious Daniel, who she is drawn to and believes that the two have met before.  She soon discovers he is a fallen angel who has battled over her for centuries.  The story does feel pretty bare bones and does start out a little slow.  Sure, Lucinda is sent to this reform school for a crime she didn’t commit but the bulk of the story are her interactions with the other students and her obsession of Daniel.  Nothing really interesting going on there except her constant humiliation at nearly every turn.  Now, as far as the story with the angels, the shadows, and the reincarnations throughout the centuries, I really enjoyed.  I thought it was a pretty good setting for the story, however I will admit that I didn’t see enough of those elements. (2 out of 5)

Characters: Lucinda “Luce” Price is the main protagonist and probably one of the most pathetic characters I’ve ever read about. Now, that’s not say that she isn’t a likable character, however she is probably the most useless and stupid female protagonist in a book.  It was hard to sympathize with her because she was so pathetic. Daniel Grigori is an alright character and although he does come off as a dick initially he does show more to his character.  It was hard see their relationship develop because she has so little going for her and agonizes over him all the time kind of like Yuki Kuran in Vampire Knight when it comes to her obsession with Kaname and Zero.  She basically stalks Daniel despite him rejecting her again and again and treating her like trash.  Don’t really like Daniel much either because he’s a troupe, an extremely mysterious guy that doesn’t want to be involved with the main protagonist though she takes an interest in him. I do somewhat sympathize with his position. Most of the other characters are crappy, and less than two-dimensional with no depth. Gabbie is just as bad as Luce.  Cameron (aka Cam), Arriane, Molly, and Penn actually have some personality despite being douchebags.  Cam was awesome.  If Daniel is the poor definition of a douche then thumbs up to Cam fir his brilliancy.  As far as characters go who aren’t dumbasses or assholes, Penn is probably the only one and she was great. (2 out of five)

Writing: Lauren Kate is good with keeping the mystery and romance well balanced, though the actual reveal does leave much to be desired.  I would’ve liked to have had more description to the school, characters, and action to help build substance for the book. Lucinda is revealed to be reincarnated early in the book but she learns that she is reincarnated later on.  It’s an interesting twist, however, it would’ve played better with the story had we both learned that she was reincarnated.  I don’t really like the whole true love or love at first sight writing because it’s cheap, especially the way Luce becomes obsessed with Daniel.  The setting doesn’t really seem important.  The story is taking place in a reform school but it doesn’t really feel active.  There are hardly any adults around to make it feel…what’s the word…real.

Also, some aspects of the writing do feel poor such as the dialogue.  It seems like instead of edgy dialogue we get highly sexual/romantic descriptions of how characters look and feel. There doesn’t seem to be much depth to any of the relationships which makes unrealistic. I will say that I did like the symbolism which Kate did surprisingly well. Even with the whole thing of Luce being drawn to Daniel which isn’t presented right.  If Daniel is the immortal and Luce is reincarnated then why the hell does the story not follow Daniel pursuing Luce.  It would make better sense than Luce being “drawn” to Daniel and stalking someone she doesn’t know. Also, if he loved her but couldn’t kiss her and risk her life he could’ve just protected her and kept her at a distance.  Why was he written to be a douchebag? The whole angels and shadows don’t really feel prominent and I was building more questions the more I read with nothing being answered.  What the hell are the black shadows? What purpose do they serve? What is this battle between Daniel and Cam if neither side will ever be victorious? So much potential.  (2 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, Fallen (Fallen Series #1) just doesn’t deliver what it promises.  Sure, it’s an interesting premise and the antagonists are cool, but what holds it back are the decisions of the author.  The writing is good in some areas but bad in a lot of others, important descriptions are lacking, the forced romance between Lucinda and Daniel is unnecessary, and some of the world’s worst characters especially with its frustrating and poor lead.  This book is definitely a missed opportunity. Fallen (Fallen Series #1) gets 2 out of 5.

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