I have recently finished the Fallen Series and have seen very mixed reviews. Most readers who enjoy the YA genre would tell you this series is either decent, or pretty good, but there have been a whole slew of people I like to call the “YA-wannabe’s” giving this series horrible reviews. These are the people who bash Twilight and the like because it is such a juvenile love story. I know books in this genre won’t be winning any literary awards for their mature romance aspects, but when I read Twilight as an actual YA, I thoroughly enjoyed it, so trying to compare these novels to Romeo and Juliet or whathaveyou is a bit much.
Back on topic. As a whole, I give the series about a 3.5 out of 5. Each book has their own rating in my mind, so let me break it down for you by starting with this initial post.
“The only way to survive eternity is to be able to appreciate each moment.” – Lauren Kate, Fallen
Let’s start with the first book: Fallen. Rating: 3.5 out of 5. We are introduced to Luce, a teen girl who experienced a horrible fire in which her boyfriend and friends were burned. Even though this life event is what brings us to the Luce we know and love, this is the only time we hear about the fire. Pretty big event to only briefly touch on, in my opinion, but we move on.
Because of this event which is seen as arson, Luce is forced to go to a juvenile school full of delinquents called Sword & Cross as punishment. It’s a horribly run down and decrepit campus with all of twenty people, maybe, complete with a condemned church and graveyard. Your typical deep southern schoolyard. Pshhh. We then meet Daniel, the proclaimed love and loss Luce meets in her every lifetime because she dies and is reincarnated whenever they kiss, which Kate spells out for us in the epilogue. He acts aloof and as if he hates her until he suddenly has a change of heart and kisses her.
Wait a minute! If he loves her so much then why does he haul off and kiss her when he knows she will turn into a big ball of flames and die? I can agree with most reviewers on this part. It seems like a hole in their love story to have Daniel repeatedly do the one thing that he knows will kill her. But, again, YA here, not William flipping Shakespeare. Take it for the enduring love story that it is and move on!
“Will you stay with me?” she asked. Her voice was the thinnest whisper almost canceled out by a low groan of thunder. “Forever,” he whispered back. The sweet sound of his voice filled her up. – Lauren Kate, Fallen
We also have a love triangle with another boy named Cam. He’s a jerk, also, but not really towards Luce. He at least plays it up a bit to actually seem like he likes Luce even though he really wants to see her die. Big fight between the two boys because Cam takes her on a date, and though Luce has a crush on Cam, she chooses Daniel because she feels so connected to him. (Daniel isn’t even nice to her!)
“You don’t really know either of us,” Cam said, standing and stepping away, “but you’re prepared to choose right now, huh?” – Lauren Kate, Fallen
“She had sand in her mouth and between her toes, the briny wind raising goose bumps on her skin, and the sweetest, spellbound feeling spilling from her heart. She could, at that moment, have died for him.” – Lauren Kate, Fallen
There are a couple of love senses in which Luce and Daniel float in a lake and kiss on the beach, all very YA, but it’s not until the very end of the novel that Luce finds out the big secret we have known since the epilogue, almost every person she interacted with besides her best friend, Penn, is an angel! Then a huge fight breaks out between the good and bad angels, Penn dies, and Luce is distraught.
While the story is compelling and the cover of the book will draw you in, there is some refining to the actual love story that should have taken place. I believe the story is perfect for a YA looking for a quick escape into something other than vampires and werewolves, and I would probably re-read this novel again if I were bored, but then I remember my feelings towards the last book in the series and all I said above goes up in ashes like Luce in a past life.
To be continued.