Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

10 March, 2011 Reviews 13 comments

Review: Fallen by Lauren KateFallen by Lauren Kate
Series: Fallen #1
Published by Delacorte Press on January 1st 2009
Pages: 452
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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one-star

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce – he goes out of his way to make that very clear. But she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, Luce has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret...even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, FALLEN is a page-turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

“In this lifetime you’re nothing more than you appear to be: a stupid, selfish, ignorant, spoiled little girl who thinks the world lives or dies on whether she gets to go out with some good-looking boy at school. Even if your death wouldn’t accomplish something so long-awaited, glorious, and grand, I’d still relish this moment, killing you.”

I’m sorry, was I supposed to agree with absolutely everything the evil villain said and wait, with baited breath, for her to kill Lucinda Price painfully on my behalf?

This review contains spoilers.

I have a list of rules for authors. Kind of like a checklist to ensure that their novel is going to be good. This book breaks them all. For posterity I’m going to list exactly which ones and why.

1. Don’t assume that your audience isn’t as smart as you.

Statistically speaking, you’re probably sitting on a fat, old average like the rest of us. Try to flex our grey matter. Please.

Lauren Kate thinks we’re idiots. She really, really does. The prologue basically immediately informs the reader that Lucinda Price has been reincarnated and that black shadows follow her around ready to engulf her and take her away. The title of the book is Fallen, and at page 51 Daniel’s last name is revealed to be Grigori. Anyone with half a brain already knows the gist of this story. That Daniel is a fallen angel and the Lucinda Price is his loved one reincarnated. yet 389 pages later, Lauren Kate pulls this out like it’s some kind of massive reveal. No. Fuck no. Having your main character come to a conclusion almost four hundred pages after the reader is just an insult. You never learn more than this by the way. Other than a vague explanation as to the true function of the shadows – that is it. *Kat’s attempts to pierce her own eyes a la Jocasta*

2. Don’t cover up bad writing and plot with a sexy, smoldering character.

Chances are they won’t be nearly sexy, or smoldering enough. It is painful to read badly written literature so just get it right the first time, please.

The writing in this novel is terrible, by the way. The editing is even worse. Perhaps the copy-editor had a hard time focusing on the text while her brain hemorrhaged as well. The sentences were choppy, they flowed poorly and the word choices were sometimes just plain weird.

5. Characterization is everything.

This doesn’t mean that your characters have to be likable at all times – or likable at all. But they have to be interesting, worth reading and fleshed out. They have to react to situations within their character or in relation to their personal growth and they have to reflect the plot and the changes in your story.

Characterization… where do I even start. *sighs* okay. Here we go, but this is going to be painful and filled with profanities.

Lucinda Price – If I ever saw this girl in the street, I would probably punch her in the face. I have never read such a useless, pathetic, tragically stupid female protagonist IN MY LIFE.

Luce’s first encounter with Daniel results in him flipping her off. After that he ignores her, rejects her, accuses her of stalking him, ditches her, suggests that she is annoying, accuses her of being an intruder… the list goes on. GET A HINT, WOMAN! HE DOESN’T LIKE YOU! Only he does, and why they fall in love or want anything to do with each other is probably the only fucking mystery in this whole book. No wait, I scratch that. They DO belong together. They’re both prats. I wouldn’t wish them on anybody else.

She’s a useless, stupid idiot and he’s a selfish, moronic asshole. It must be true love. Daniel treats Luce like shit. Luce accepts Daniel’s treatment of her (the fact that she does this causes ME to agree with Daniel’s assessment), internalizes it, agonizes over it and still goes back for more. Again and again. The ONE time. I mean it. ONE FUCKING TIME that Luce sticks up to Daniel and tells him not to treat her like an idiot (the idiot that she is) he kisses her (probably just to shut her up – for which I’m eternally grateful) then she immediately stops requesting that he treat her like an adult and an equal and he goes right back to muttering cryptic things without explaining them because her puny female mind couldn’t possibly comprehend them.

Oh. And ANOTHER thing! She obsessively stalks him, against all odds seeks him out again and again. Finally, when he DOES tell her the truth, what does she do? She runs away. That’s right. Like a big fucking pansy, it turns out that her puny female mind really CAN’T handle information. I feel like muttering that scene out of anchorman where Ron Burgundy says:

“I’m a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn. That’s what kind of man I am. You’re just a woman with a small brain. With a brain a third the size of us. It’s science.”

Daniel is crap. Need I say more? Crappity crap crap CRAP! “Oh dear, I love this girl, but if I kiss her she’s going to DIE!”

Well here’s a fucking idea, dickhead, DON’T KISS HER! (Or don’t kiss her on the lips *winks* at least not the ones on her face! *Chuckles evilly*) when she shows up, as she inevitably will, run away. Go to a club and pick up a chick and take her home for “coffee” or to show her your special angel wings. Whatever floats your boat. Don’t stick around and interact with her and torture yourself by getting close.

Other characters in this book are two-dimensional. If there were such a concept as one-dimensional, I’m sure Kate would have striven to achieve that instead. They are stand in cardboard cut outs and easily forgettable and inconsequential.

6. Your story needs to have an actual story.

It needs to have conflict, resolution; climax, dénouement; beginning and an end. They don’t always need to occur in the standard order, but something needs to happen.

Can you read that, Lauren Kate? Something needs to fucking happen! Not just 401 pages of stalking! That’s not a fucking story!

7. Research.

Know what the hell you’re writing about and put the work and research into your story. Nothing is more annoying then reading a book about an Anglican Preacher in the seventeenth century burning witches, when you know perfectly well how very historically inaccurate that is.

This author knows nothing about angels. Or the Bible. Or religion. She shows no concept for the Biblical nature of angels, their real function, how they differ from humans. It’s. Just. So. Fail. Kill me now. I felt like putting on my sexy librarian outfit, pulling out my cain (hyuk hyuk) and giving a very interesting instruction about the Bible in both its modern context and the times in which it is historically acknowledged to be written as well as the spiritual nature or angels and demons and heaven. Probably would have been a lot more fun than reading this book because I look very sexy in my outfits and I give great feedback to my students!

And finally – the last rule that this story broke:

8. Consider what message your story is telling.

Remember that usually, and historically, stories don’t usually exist just for the hell of it. Stories have messages and meaning. They teach us and give us a perspective on life. Storytelling carries a great responsibility because there are few things more emotive to people than stories.

My husband and I have been together for seven years now and I can confidently say I love him. I love him. I think about him. I know him. Most of all, I know WHY I love him and I know WHY he’s perfect for me and why nobody else on this planet would ever do.

Fallen seems to think it has something to say about Love. Albeit, I wonder if even it knows what its opinion on love is. Maybe that love conquers all? No, not really since in the book it doesn’t. Maybe that love is eternal? Well, yeah maybe. An eternal pain-in-the-ass is the theme it really seems to be going for.

However, I hate the version of love in this book. It’s some mystical, unexplainable tie in this book. Something that just is without any further information provided. I can’t help but compare Daniel’s alleged “sacrifice” in losing Luce over and over again because he keeps selfishly kissing her (when he kisses her she dies apparently) with real love. If he really loved her then he’d leave as soon as he caught a glimpse of her. He’d move across the country. He’d keep running from her until the end of time for her own good.

When I compare it to how completely unselfish my husband is with his love, I can never excuse either Daniel or Luce for their actions.

The relationship in this book is so unbalanced. There is SO much information that Daniel never gives her because she just needs to trust him and apparently her fragile little female mind won’t be able to handle it. Then of course, there is the complete and utter power imbalance in their relationship. This book is almost an argument against feminism. To make the boy love you, you must accept his treatment and patiently wait out his scorn and derision. You’re supposed to obsess over the boy of your dreams and imagine who he is in complete contradiction to the person he’s shown you to be. Somehow this is supposed to be romantic. This is supposed to be real love.

Well, I live real love. I live it every day in its very boring, mundane existence. I live with my soulmate and we go day from day. This book is nothing like love. This book knows obsession, hormones and drama. It knows nothing about love. It is devoid of respect, attention, tenderness and the freely giving love that I know to be real.

The back of the book has a teaser for the next book stating:

“Can you bear the… TORMENT

The next book in the Fallen series by Lauren Kate”

The answer is: No. I really, really can’t bear it. I’ll leave it to people who don’t mind having their braincells sucked into a black hole of anti-feminist propaganda.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy
Next up on how Kat is losing the plot: watch her stay awake for three days worrying about absolutely everything. - 5 hours ago
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13 Responses to “Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate”

  1. EMarieNYC

    Sadly, I just read this book. Hours of my life I will never get back. But at least it lead me to this review, which provided me with some good chuckles. Not that the book didn't. But those chuckles were for an entirely different reason. This book was so bad, it was laughable.

  2. Charliee

    OH. MY. LADY-GAGA! That was one of the most funniest things I have EVER read. Actual tears in my eyes and everything. Daaaamn,girl, you're so sarcastic and witty. I honestly couldn't keep the smile off my face while reading that XD I've read two and a half of the books and even though I agree that she is utterly useless (as shown on pages 299 to 304,when Cam and Daniel get into a fight over HER and she does NOTHING about it and walks off afterwards)But even though she's a total wimp, the whole point in why they love eachother so much without really knowing why, is because there's a curse that makes them that way. It's also the curse that makes Luce come back again and again. So, yeah, their love isn't really based on anything other then Daniel thinking she's nuts and Luce stalking/obsessing over him, but that's the point. It doesn't matter how stupid, annoying, selfish ect…they are, they still want to be together. Kind of ridiculous really, but hey, its a curse. And curses tend to be bad. So other then that, I totally agree with you. Sadly, I'm hooked on Lauren Kate's books and am currently reading Passion :S Pray that my brain doesn't melt in the process. (Really awesome and funny review, by the way.) Byyye XD

  3. trojanwalls

    When I first got hold of Fallen a few months ago I did something I usually avoid doing, no matter how tempted I am. I turned to the last chapter and read it. The thing is I had been reading a lot of YA paranormal books at the point and many of them had let me down badly.After I finished the chapter, I put the book back on its shelf and proceeded to ignore its existence. It's as you said – comes down to the characters and the story. No matter how much I might like the *concept* of reincarnation and star-crossed lovers, those last few passages told me that I wouldn't find fulfillment in those pages. I disliked the girl instantly and the guy left no impression on me at all. Obviously I don't know anything about the book, but this one time I'm glad I broke my rule and the last page – saved me hours of cringing.

  4. CuddleBug

    Trojanwalls,I have to officially inform you that if you only read the very last bit of Fallen then you actually read the best bit – as if such a title had any meaning in this instance.You see, it is the only part, of this 400 page monstrosity, in which anything actually happens.

  5. Holly

    I’m just about to finish this truly execrable book, after a friend talked me into reading it because there are “some intriguing ideas in there.” Good grief, it’s even worse than you made it sound (but at least your review has made me laugh! So some good came out of this book). I’m getting so, so sick of “series” where a potentially interesting story gets padded out into over a thousand pages, and yet none of the real questions get answered, nor is a character arc or any emotional investment developed.

    I just don’t GET it …. So many of these paranormal romance authors are only in their twenties, and yet they seem to associate being a teenager merely with being shallow, boy-obsessed, incompetent, and above all, boring. I couldn’t even find Luce annoying — she was too dull to make me feel anything at all toward her.

    And I’m not sure about Lauren Kate, but most of these authors actually seem to be married — and yet they’re still unable to produce a reason for their characters to be attracted to each other beyond physical good looks and Destined Love, complete with constant tingling and vibrations. I must have read four books like this just in the past six months (oh, why don’t I learn better? Maybe I’m just as dim as these heroines). Why can’t an author give me one, just one, reason why I should believe these two characters will want to be sharing breakfast thirty years down the road? Are their husbands really like these awful guys? Are their marriages based on something this flimsy? I mean, Luce and Daniel seem to get to spend a couple weeks together every 17 years — so unless these are consistently the most incredibly intense two weeks of any relationship ever, they can barely know each other. I can quite honestly say that after slogging through 400+ pages with these two, I barely know either of them. And I sure am not reading any of the sequels hoping to learn any more.

    I thought ANGELFIRE was the worst of the worst … but golly, FALLEN has at least tied with it.

    Now I’m off to bleach my brain. 🙂

    • Meg

      Just came across your response. It’s very strange when people go on at length in the bitchiest possible ways, and then take offense when someone calls them out for it. If you dish it out, be able to take it. Hint: when you criticize someone for not knowing about the Bible, be specific in a way that makes it sound like you do know something about it. I care as much about what pisses you off as you care about writing responsible reviews. “Book bloggers” mostly just emote snarkily. That’s why they run proper book reviews in places like the NY Times.

  6. Hope life is going great! :)

    Someome sounds butthurt ?? but to each their own ?
    On a more serious note, what’s your favorite book?? I’m open minded to alot of styles and would genuinely enjoy reading something new 🙂

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