Review: Fallen (Fallen, #1) by Lauren Kate

11:21 PM

Fallen by Lauren Kate | Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5)

“We meet. We always meet, somehow we're always thrown together, no matter where I go, no matter how I try to distance myself from you. It never matters. You always find me.”

I'm going to start off my review with this: I truly did not hate this book. Despite my lower rating, I didn't. It's just that, in theory, Fallen could have been an epic hit for me. There's something so dark and intriguing about the past lives portion of this (I'm a sucker for the idea of souls finding each other again and again); the fallen angels, the general mythology. Yet, something about Fallen just didn't completely click for me.

I'd been holding onto this book since I was a senior in high school (way back when it was first published) and maybe if I had read it then, my review would've been different. As I said, I enjoyed the general premise of Fallen quite a bit--I loved the idea of past lives, I appreciated some of the characters and the setting. There was a level of danger to it that felt charged and kept the plot moving a bit.

There is enough intrigue to make me pick up the sequel in hopes that Lauren Kate captured that hit of energy and tapped into it further. Because, at the end of the day, from where I'm standing, a majority of Fallen felt like missed potential and half thoughts. Sprinkle in underdeveloped, under utilized cast of characters, lackluster romance, overused tropes, problematic themes and not quite enough world building and you've got a ton of wasted potential.

It wasn't that Lauren Kate's writing was bad. Her prose was solid and I appreciate the combination of dark, fantasy elements with the ordinary life. I just felt like, somewhere along the way, her overall image of things became muddled and underwhelming. It felt much too similar to Twilight, only instead of Vampires and Werewolves, we've got a whole different chapter of mythology to line up.

That being said, because it was published in 2009--I won't scoff or point out its obvious flaws in how it viewed mental illness. I'm sure many of you have heard the same thing in past reviews and I won't waste your time in repeating what other's have surely said. Instead, I'll focus on what I did appreciate about Fallen:

  • The friendships. Again, there could have been a lot more development done when it came to all the characters and their ties to one another. But, I did enjoy the scenes where we did see a bit more depth and friendships. In particular? I loved the scenes we got of Luce and Penn. They are just... nice. I thought their connection added a whole layer to Lucinda as a character and it just served as a nice contrast to the mash of other plots and relationships we read. Honorable mentions: Luce/Arianne, Luce/Gabbe and Arianne/Gabbe. All short but still sweet. Ish. 
  • Cam. I don't know why, since he is not my typical cup of tea. I just found him to be a lot more intriguing than everyone else that was lingering throughout the book--as it happens, Cam was probably my favourite character after Lucinda and Penn. This isn't to say that I'm going to be head-over-heels in love with him. I think he's a rather shifty character and there's no going around it. But, but, but, he was one of the only ones who seemed to have a personality--albeit, a flawed one. 
  • Penn as a general character. She will (spoiler alert) be greatly missed. I was very attached to her, okay? I'm in mourning. 
  • What fragments we get of Luce's past lives and the life she had before being shipped off to her new school. It's all very bleak but it's the kind of bleak I welcome in the genre that Fallen holds so closely. 
  • I liked that, even though we didn't see much interaction between the three of them, Luce and her parent's have a relatively normal relationship. They all three seem to love each other un-conditionally and I can get behind that, when so many of Fallen's counterparts don't feature much in terms of parental love. 
Overall, Fallen wasn't my favourite book to read--but there were some positives and it is suspenseful enough to make me want to read its sequels. Once you get past its flaws, there are a few moments that tug at your heartstrings or make you swoon; in its highs it entertains you. So it's not a total loss.

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