047 – Fallen by Lauren Kate

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 the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret…even if it kills her.
Since the start of last year, the first time we saw this book, we’ve been dying to read it. The cover is gorgeous, how could you not want to? But look out…

Why is it that every time books have pretty covers, they end up sucking? It’s not fair, dammit.

So anyway, if it isn’t already obvious, we didn’t like this book very much. At all, actually. We had to think hard to find a single thing we liked about it, so we’ll get those out of the way, first: Cyna liked Arriane, and Kayla liked that Kate wasn’t afraid to kill people. Now let’s get on to the good stuff.

Fallen is a disaster on all fronts. Usually terrible books have at least one redeeming feature buried in there somewhere – good writing, interesting characters, or a good concept. Fallen has none of those. Instead, we spend 400-pages reading about an annoying chick stalking a total douche bag. And that’s all. What little mythology there is gets squished into the 50-page long confusing mess that tries to pass itself off as a climax, and that was about as unsatisfying and un-revelatory as a climax can get. All it left us with were questions, potential plot holes, and a lot of pent-up anger.

But let’s get on to the big stuff. Like the pacing. This is probably the first time we’ve read a book where the biggest issue is pacing. Even though the back cover – for once – doesn’t spoil it, we went into Fallen knowing that the prime love interest was a fallen angel, and that’s it. We didn’t know what the series concept was, or anything about the heroine and what role she would play in the series. We were Fallen virgins. And then we were horribly spoiled…by the first chapter.

Yes, Lauren Kate felt the need to hook her audience on her new series by telling you everything you need to know about Luce (she’s reincarnated), Daniel (he’s immortal), and their relationship (they’re irresistibly drawn to one another, but can’t be together because every time they kiss, Luce dies, but they keep doing it anyway HURRDURR) in the first chapter. The rest of the book Fallen is the long version of the same thing. The only difference – and you know this from page one because if it weren’t we wouldn’t have a series – is that this time will be the Exception: Luce won’t die when he kisses her, and because of that, stuff will happen. Sorry we spoiled it for you, but we just saved you a whole book of repetitive reading <3~

While Kate could have used her Spoiler Chapter to cut the bullshit who-are-you-and-what-is-our-connection part of the book and get straight to the more interesting who-are-we-fighting-and-why, she doesn’t. Instead, she dwells on it. Fallen is an entire book dedicated to discovering who-are-you-and-why-do-I-inexplicably-love-you, undoubtedly the most annoying part of any paranormal romance novel. But this is the only mystery the heroine concerns herself with, and we know all the answers by the second chapter. It’s boring. This is the only time we’ll say anything good about Twilight, but at least by the midway point, Bella had figured out what Edward was, and his last name didn’t fucking mean “vampire”. It’s called “Google”, Luce, use it. Christ, it’s pretty bad when Bella fucking Swan can out-research your heroine.

So yes, Luce Price is quite possibly one of the most irritating heroines we’ve ever read through. She’s useless and stupid, and literally spends the entire book thinking of nothing else but her love interests. We’re not exaggerating, that is her only focus. When she’s not thinking about the super-hot but inexplicably rude Designated Love Interest Daniel Grigori, she’s staring at him – like Edward Cullen staring, but longer and…freakier. For God’s sakes, there’s a scene where she stares at him while he jump ropes, for an excruciatingly long time. We felt awkward for her, damn it! That was the point where we were like, “Oh my god. You’re such a freak. Stop it and just walk away.”

When Luce isn’t staring at Daniel, she’s stalking him. Again, literally. At one point, she goes so far as to break into his private files to find out more about him. Another time, her class assignment is to look into her family history, so she spends the period looking up his instead. Even later, she MAKES A LIST of all of the times they’ve interacted, during nearly all of which she acknowledges that he’s told her to fuck off. This girl has PROBLEMS.

Not to mention that she totally lacks a personality. We don’t learn a thing about her because again, she spends the book thinking of nothing but her boyfriends. It seems like Lauren Kate realized this, because about halfway through she creates an argument just so Luce can scream at Daniel about how smart she is. She rants about knowing three languages and getting straight As and wanting to be a psychologist – the first we’ve heard about any of this by the way – but never shows an ounce of that sense she claims to have. And yeah, we couldn’t imagine a worse person to help people out with their mental issues.

When shit finally does hit the fan, Luce never lifts a finger to defend herself or her friends. During nearly every physical conflict, she just stands there, like while her two love interests fist fight over her, and when a confrontation between her classmate Gabbe and her other love interest Cameron comes to blows – because of her. She just gapes while her best friend gets stabbed, and even after that can’t be bothered to even try to resist the villain. She practically gives the woman her arms to tie her up.

There is so much more we could add about her (like how she’s so bitchy that she automatically hates Gabbe just because she has a private conversation with Daniel), but before we make this review ten pages long, we’d like to say a bit about Daniel and all of his faults.

Though we didn’t get to read through Daniel’s point of view and didn’t really get to know him as a character, he seems more than an archetype than an individual. He is the tortured love interest. The Angel, or Edward Cullen, or Stefan Salvatore, who is desperately in love with the heroin, but thinks he’s bad for her, so he tries to push her away by being a dick. But alas, his attraction to her is just ~too strong~ for him to follow through, so he ends up leading the girl on with his hot-and-cold mixed signals. And she fucking lets him.

We hate this. If Daniel really didn’t want to have contact with Luce, then he would have just moved away the moment they met again. But no, he’s so selfish that he just ~can’t help himself~, unfailingly kissing her even though he knows it’ll kill her. And we’re supposed to feel sorry for this guy? Because he’s just ~so tortured~ by his love? Like fucking Hell.

And can we just say that we also dislike how he keeps dropping hints about their previous relationships and then changes the subject, and Luce just lets him? Who does that?

Then there’s the “nice” boyfriend, Cam. We haven’t mentioned him much because, even though he was a love interest, his character doesn’t make very much sense in the end. He’s kind of unnecessary, clearly just there for the sake of a love triangle, but that doesn’t work very well because we know from the beginning that Luce is destined to fall for Daniel. And also because girls are automatically attracted to whichever guy treats them the shittiest in books like these. At any rate, when Lauren Kate doesn’t need him to perpetuate the love triangle anymore, he becomes “evil,” and even that makes no sense.

Cam and Daniel are both fallen angels, but they fight on different sides. Weirdly, while they aren’t friends, they seem to get along fine until Luce comes into the picture, and Cam starts pursuing her, which we don’t really get, but is understandable in a “friends-close-enemies-closer” way. What’s bothers us more is, why the Hell does Daniel let him? He knows Cam is evil and he knows that the easiest way for the bad guys to win is for Luce to die, yet he lets Cam con Luce and get close to her anyway.

At any rate, once we finally get to the ending, its sloppy and pointless. The bad angels and good angels get in a big fight that’s supposed to be of apocalyptic proportions, but it turns out to be something they do all the time, beating each other up until they get bored because neither side is powerful enough to subdue the other. So essentially, they just fight so that the good guys can be distracted while a villain-in-hiding makes off with, and totally justifiably tries to off Luce. Really, we sympathized with her.

In the end, we learn very little, because its supposedly “too much for Luce to handle,” which is the worst excuse for putting off exposition ever, and what we are told we already figured out ages ago. Kate doesn’t go into enough of the fallen angel mythology for it to be relevant, and leaves almost all of the mysteries that we were actually interested in unanswered. To name just a few:

What happened to Trevor?
How and why does Luce keep dying?
Why is Luce and Daniel’s relationship relevant?
What’s with the shadows?
How can the bad angels and the good angels be friends when they are on opposite sides of the war?
Why do they fight when no one wins?

Hopefully the next couple of books will explain a little more and be less repetitive.

It’s really unfortunate, because despite the irritating heroine and asshole love interest, this could have been an interesting premise. It might still be. But Fallen, on its own, was a lengthy, bland, boring, ear-bleedingingly terrible experience that we can’t, in good conscience, recommend to anyone.

one star


11 Responses

  1. Anne and Chris

    August 17, 2011 10:36 pm, Reply

    Well, I gotta say you don’t pull punches, which is refreshing… My wife is currently reading the Twilight series (as research) and does not find it so irritating, though I think that I probably would. I do appreciate an honest report however, and thanks…

    Oh, and in answer to your question regarding why bad books have good covers? Easy: Marketing.

  2. LupLun

    August 18, 2011 3:48 am, Reply

    Hmm. Going just by your description, I can see exactly how both Luce’s stalker-ish behavior and Daniel’s refusal to just walk away works: it’s a supernatural compulsion. Someone or thing way back when got seriously pissed off at Daniel, and cursed him so that he’d be irresistibly attracted to Luce life after life. I’m talking, love potion or cupid’s arrow stuff: you get hit and you’re madly in love, no saving throw, no choice in the matter. The curser then adds the proviso that a kiss causes Luce to die. So Daniel is forced to live forever, falling desperately in love again and again and watching his love kill her each time. Completely powerless to do anything about it on any level. Nasty.

    Alternatively, maybe Luce is the one being punished. Given the fallen angel theme, “Luce” suggests “Lucifer”, doesn’t it? Certainly, being The Devil might qualify as being “too much for you to handle,” wouldn’t it? However, given that, you run into the problem that Luce can’t retain memories of her previous life, making it a kind of silly way to torture someone. So if it goes this way, the inevitable plot twist is that she’s not being punished at all, per se: rather, it’s something like the movie Groundhog Day, where she has to repeat the cycle again and again until she learns some kind of lesson, or otherwise Gets Things Right. Her survival this time is indicative that she has, which means shit is getting real.

    Problem is, of course, that we should get one or the other by the end of the book. Putting it off just… well, you know how it makes the reader feel. ^_^

    Lupines and Lunatics

  3. Kayla + Cyna

    August 18, 2011 6:34 am, Reply

    @Gab – Thanks! And thanks for the follow!

    @Chris – Twilight…Twilight gets worse the more you think about it. And thank you 🙂 Right? We fall for it every time, too.

    @Mary – Hahaha, probably! I think we’re still going to read it at some point though, just to see if the series goes anywhere worthwhile.

    @Lup – That is the general premise, except that sometimes Luce and Daniel can handle kissing, other times they can’t. It’s never explained why. But that aside, their love is so…glorified. It’s clearly supposed to be epic, yet neither of them have any semblance of a personality beyond being obsessed with each other, and we’re supposed to root for them. Ugh.

    That’s what Gwen thought too, but Luce is just a human. There’s this whole thing about how she has to be baptized to reincarnate (which is why this time is different – it’s the first she hasn’t been ceremonially inducted into some religion), plus the villain goes on and on about how she’s just a stupid human girl, and how could god put the fate of the world in her hands, etc. From what I understand, the gist is that somehow the two of them have to get their love “right”, or it’s the apocalypse. And also that Daniel’s being punished, because it’s hinted at that she was the reason he “fell”. Still…ugh, is probably the stupidest divine plan I’ve ever fucking heard, and a really irritating excuse for an ~epic love story~.

    But yeah, no, we don’t get either by the end of the book. We get “your bf is an angel and you keep getting reincarnated and dying”. The end.

    You’re always so willing to give books the benefit of the doubt though, lol.

  4. mummazappa

    August 18, 2011 8:01 am, Reply

    Hilarious review! I have a total love/hate relationship with this series -so much of it is annoying, especially Luce, she’s such a dork, and there is like ZERO plot, but actually, the story itself really intrigues me and I don’t think it’s that badly written, quite visual etc which I really like. it’s so weird for me that something that I like irritates me so much!

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