As a GoodReads user, the beginning of the new year means one thing- a new Reading Challenge. And this was the year to go big or go home, so I vowed to finish 100 books in the course of the next 12 months. The next logical thing to pop into my head was that I needed a make sure the world knew about said challenge by starting a blog and documenting every book as I went along. In the month of January, I managed to read (and listen to) 10 books, some proving more challenging than others.
I have to admit that my initial motivation to reach for “Fallen” was seeing that the movie was coming out. I saw the trailer and thought “Wow. This kinda looks like Twilight with angels.” Well, I still haven’t actually seen the movie, but I did finish all the books in the series at the beginning of January.
“Fallen” by Lauren Kate
“Fallen” is the story of 17-year-old Lucinda who is sent to a school for troubled teens after an accident where a boy dies. There she meets gorgeous and mysterious Daniel, whom she is immediately drawn to. She feels like she knows him from somewhere, but she also can’t help but want to know more about him. She also meets a bunch of other peculiar characters, making both friends and enemies, while also battling her own demons.
I gave this book 3 stars on GoodReads, and I will tell you why. First off, this was an easy read. It’s one of those books that you can go through in a day without feeling emotionally drained, and that is mostly because you’re interested, but you have not developed an emotional connection to the characters. And that is easily explained as well. While Lucinda shows no growth throughout the entire book, Daniel is the typical YA male lead character. He is virtually perfect in all of his fallen-angel-goodness. He’s is not only beautiful beyond belief, but he also happens to be smitten with Lucinda for centuries. Lucinda appears to be selfish, ignorant and childish in her inability to comprehend the bigger picture. Her reactions would be better suited for a 13-year-old who can’t get what they want. Instead, she is supposed to be our heroine. I don’t buy it.
The writing in the book was okay. I wouldn’t say it’s anything special, but it wasn’t bad. I liked the idea of the fallen angels and the entanglement between humans and angels mainly because I am interested in that sort of thing. But neither the story development nor the character development were that noteworthy.
“Torment” by Lauren Kate
After Fallen, Daniel decides that the best way to keep Lucinda safe is to actually send her to a different school. The school has a class of Nephilim students and is somehow guarded against people who might want to harm them. Lucinda misses Daniel terribly, and while she manages to make some friends, her sole focus remains on regaining memories from her previous lives and on being with Daniel. Not shockingly at all, she neglects her safety and gets herself in some trouble.
Now you’re probably asking yourself why I would read the second book (and the rest of them) if I did not enjoy the first one. Well, to be completely honest, it has to do with my idea that I cannot not finish a series that I have started (unless it’s absolutely insufferable). Fallen was not bad enough to make me drop the next books. Torment, however, lacked action. I mean it lacked any sort of action at all. I kept reading on in order to get to the good part and it just never came. It was monotone, and it still didn’t provide the needed character development for Luce. Daniel remained the solemn protector, and the rest of the characters did not get enough time to actually make an impact. The thing I did not like about this book is how repetitive it was. Lucinda misses Daniel. He urges her to stay put. She does not. She gets herself into trouble. They get into a fight. She is not sure they should be together. They kiss and makeup. She gets herself into trouble. They fight. And so on and so forth. Honestly, I would have liked to have a little bit of Lucinda that does not pine after Daniel. Guys aren’t everything, Luce!
“Passion” by Lauren Kate
The third installment of the Fallen series sees Lucinda travel back to her previous lives with the intention of finding out whether she and Daniel are actually meant to be together. She sees herself dying for their love over and over again. Each time they find each other, fall madly in love and are ripped apart by her bursting into flames. Her death would leave Daniel broken each time until he meets her next reincarnation. Current Lucinda uses her past experiences to see if there is a way for her and Daniel to finally be together in love that will last, without death taking her. Also, there is Lucifer.
People really did not like this book. Shockingly, I did. Granted, “Passion” did not bring the story forward. Instead, it focused on finally polishing the characters that bugged me in the first two installments. “Fallen” and “Torment” had us settled into two specific environments where we remained for most of the books, and it was a breath of fresh air to have a more dynamic book. It is dynamic in the sense that we get to visit different times and places and finally get a glimpse of Lauren Kate’s ability to describe a setting. We also get a little more background on the characters, which makes them seem more realistic. Hearing the motivation behind a character’s current behavior and complexity always makes for a better story in my opinion. All in all, I enjoyed this book far more than “Torment,” which was just tormenting to finish.
“Fallen in Love” by Lauren Kate
“Fallen in Love” is a collection of love stories about some of the characters from the books. It is Valentine’s Day in Medieval England, and we get to see feelings developing between Miles and Shelby. Roland deals with the loss of love, and we finally find out how love gave Arianne those burns. Daniel and Luce also get to spend one special night together.
I quite like these zero-story-development books(although not really a book since it’s 200 pages barely). Let’s just ignore the whole Valentine’s Day aspect of it, because to me that is better suited for a contemporary YA romance book. What I liked was that we finally got to learn more about the other characters. Honestly, I was so curious about Arianne and Roland. And also Cam. I actually quite like Cam. I like him more than Daniel for sure. But it was so interesting to see how love burned each and every one of them and how a happy ending isn’t in the cards for everyone, but it’s not the end of the world. You go, Lauren Kate! But next time you claim that two characters find love in an unexpected place….don’t make it the two characters that we all knew would get together eventually (ahem…Shelby and Miles)…
“Rapture” by Lauren Kate
In “Rapture” Luce and Daniel are attempting to stop Lucifer, who wants to erase the past. To do that, they have to find the place where it all began- the location of THE FALL. Naturally, Lucinda is the one who has the power to break the curse to save herself, Daniel and their love. It is the big climax of the series as we finally find out why this has happened to the two of them and the Outcasts. We see Luce’s true nature, and she now has to make the choice that has the power to tip those ominous scales.
So this was the big finale. The moment when all is revealed and we finally find out what the previous four books were on about. And honestly, I was kind of surprised. I mean, after I read it I thought that it was absolutely logical that Lucinda would be an angel, but for some reason I hadn’t seen it coming. The entire series is all about love and the power it holds and it is only fitting when we find out that all of this was the result of the love that Lucifer and Luce once shared. Or more specifically, the result of that love being broken. I liked this book. I gave it four stars and that is the most I’ve given to any of the books in the series. It wasn’t a particularly mind-blowing end, but it was satisfying. I felt absolutely content with knowing that Luce and Daniel picked each other and decided to be reborn mortal to live their life together. While that was undoubtledy sad in the sense that they would never see their friends again (the Outcasts and the Nephilim), it felt appropriate. I never had a doubt in my mind that they would end up together, simply because all the books implied it and it seemed like the happy ending type of read. All in all, it is a fun set of books to read it you can get past the slump. I wouldn’t say that it is anything out of the YA box, but then again…not all books have to be.