Sometimes a book’s cover is too striking to ignore and it overrides the generic blurb on the back cover. I should know better by now, I’ve done this a couple of times, ok more than a couple of times…
Fortunately I found ‘Fallen’ by Lauren Kate in a charity shop so despite the fact the plot sounded like yet another Young Adult novel about forbidden/dangerous/flat-out-stupid ‘love’ it wasn’t going to cost me much cash to see if the contents matched the cover.
The plot is hardly challenging – Lucinda Price (Luce) is sent to Sword & Cross Reform School (in Savannah, Georgia) after she kissed a boy and he ended up on fire. She then makes a couple of friends and gets a crush on a couple of boys – Daniel and Cam, both of whom are also at juvie.
Cam seems to like snakes, Daniel gives mixed messages and the school seems to like talking about the bible. I kept thinking more was going to be said about the boy who caught fire, but apparently he was a disposable plot device to dump Luce in juvie.
There is a lot of hinting that there is something larger at play, but the book is told from Luce’s viewpoint and she has no idea what is going on, just bouncing from bad choice to bad choice.
Rather a lot of nothing happens for most of the book, in fact it is page 340 of my version before something really starts happening. There are 452 pages in total so I had waded through a fair bit of filler and teenage angst about two fairly indifferent boys – admittedly one of them was almost interesting when it looks like he might be some sort of demon and at least he seems to know what he wants.
The tagline is “dangerously exciting and darkly romantic”, this is false advertising, it isn’t that exciting or dangerous – not even for the characters as the vast vast majority of them come out completely unscathed and still clueless. This was a bit of a pity as the whole place ending up on fire – a la ‘Carrie’, would have felt more satisfying, although perhaps that would be too much for a Young Adult book.
However despite having a vacuous female lead, a paint-by-numbers bible-linked plot line and cover art which oversold the book I am slightly curious about where is goes next – mostly to see if a certain character is actually Lucifer (although he most likely isn’t). Fortunately a different charity shop had the direct sequel ‘Torment’ – there are four books in all, so that is waiting to be read.
The film rights have been bought and the first film is due out in 2014.
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