Only for Twilight fans who need something else to read…

Fallen by Lauren Kate

I wish I could say this YA novel, which is nominally about fallen angels, was new and exciting, but with every page I read I could feel the burden of it trying to live up to the Twilight phenomenon.  It was also very derivative:

* A new girl arrives at a school where she doesn’t know anyone.
* The atmosphere is humid – (though this is Georgia swamps rather than Washington rains)
* She appears to be clever and a model student
* There’s a beautiful boy, Daniel, who mostly doesn’t seem interested in her, but blows hot and cold.
* He saves her from certain death when something would have hit her (a statue on a grave in this case, not a car)
* There’s a clearing
* He looks golden in the sunlight in the clearing (but doesn’t sparkle)
* He’s a supernatural being (an immortal angel not a vampire)
* There’s a big fight over her between the good ones and the bad ones I (angels that is).

Luce (short for Lucinda, not Lucifer!), sees shadows and has been on medication ever since a boy she was almost seeing died in a fire which she survived. Branded a pyromaniac, she’s sent to Sword & Cross School (what a name!) in Georgia – a reform school, with supposedly strict security and rules. There she sees Daniel, and is instantly attracted – indeed instantly she feels she knows him from somewhere. Then there’s green-eyed Cam who fancies her too, and he and Daniel are to clash many times throughout the novel. She makes friends with the only non-‘ASBO’ student – Pennyweather, daughter of the school’s deceased groundskeeper, and they start to research into Daniel’s family history – but the shadows are reappearing and getting bolder. Meanwhile Daniel blows hot and cold with her, leaving her terribly confused, whereas Cam just blows hot.

What I couldn’t understand about the school was why all the students were there – It was a reform school, but they didn’t seem to behave like I expected bad boys and girls to do. OK there were the usual pranks, and parties, but no real bad behaviour beyond normal high-school light-bullying and gossip. They all seemed to do all their schoolwork too. We never found out what they did to be shut away in this strange place. I wanted to find out much more about the angels as well, but we never found out enough which left me feeling short-changed – presumably we find out more in the sequel due this autumn.

Teenage girls who need something else to read after finishing Twilight etc. will devour this book and its sequels. I won’t bother. (5.5/10)

This post was republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive

Source: Review copy

Lauren Kate, Fallen (Corgi, 2010) paperback 480 pages

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