Review Blog

Dec 11 2009

Fallen by Lauren Kate

cover image

Random House, 2009. ISBN 9780285618021.
The opening chapter, entitled In the beginning, alerts us to the otherworldliness of the story about to be played out. This bodice ripper of a sequence, full of looks, longings, emotion filled eyes, and a malevolence unable to be classified, will have the readers emotionally charged from the outset.
The following chapter is benign by comparison as Luce enrolls in what appears to be a Reform School. Waving her grieving parents goodbye she is taken by the guard, along with several other new arrivals to meet their mentors for the day. Luce is immediately taken up by Arriane, a girl who exudes confidence and she efficiently teaches Luce the ropes. So begins her time at Sword and Cross, and teasingly we find out a little of why she is there.
This is an amazing Reform School. A mix of males and females, each has their own Spartan room. There are games and parties, a cemetery, a gym, a library (strangely with the religion section at 999), many female teachers, some of whom are pleasant, and lots of space. But once there, Luce begins to feel the presence of the shadow. It is this shadow that preceded the incident with Trevor, whose burning is the reason she is in this place.
Luce is drawn to the brooding, aloof Daniel, convinced that she has met him before. He is elusive in his dealings with her, saying things that may be construed as confirming their previous acquaintance, but he denies this. While searching for a book about angels in the library, the shadow feeling comes once again, and immersed in the Dictionary of Angels after a class on Milton's Paradise Lost, she does not hear the fire alarm.
She wakes in hospital, and comes to realise that Todd, her companion, died in the fire. Again she feels that something is hovering over her, giving her an unbearable feeling of unease. Seeing Daniel they talk of her shadow, and he reveals that he knows it too. She is so drawn to him that she daydreams about him, wrapped in his wings, but later, when Cam intervenes, the two fight, Daniel eventually taking her home.
With hints and suggestions, Daniel strengthens the belief that they have known each other before. His school file tells her nothing, but using the internet reveals a whole history of the Grigori clan, dating back to Medieval times.
A story with all the allure of the Twilight series, the romantic longings of the main protagonists will thrill the adolescent reader down to her toes. The information is teased out as we learn that there is a history between Daniel and Luce, one she never remembers when they meet. They appear to be on a roundabout rather like the scenario in the film, Ground Hog Day, Luce appearing and then dying every seventeen years. But this time it is different.
The first in a quartet of books, this Gothic romance with a thriller element will keep readers captivated as they search with Luce for the truth of her attraction to the angel, Daniel. This engrossing story opens the reader to the possibility of angels, both saved and fallen, who have been around since The Fall. Like Luce, the quest will in part be working out who is to be trusted and who is not.
Fran Knight

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