SKB's Reviews > Torment

Torment by Lauren Kate
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Jan 19, 11

Read in January, 2011

** spoiler alert ** Never has a book been so aptly titled. Reading this book was a kind of torment, and I don't say that solely because I was stuck in an airport for an ungodly number of hours with only this ass book as company. The only more fitting title would maybe be something like Shit Sandwich.

It's a special talent to write a sequel that makes me long for its extremely implausible, poorly written predecessor. And yet, here we are.

Shit Sandwich Torment picks up where Fallen left off. Luce is being whisked away after the Epic Showdown of Angels and Demons Which Takes Place Outside While Our Brainless Heroine Is Tied to an Altar for Sacrifice. She feels guilty that the people she "loves" continue to DIE HORRIBLY (two random boys spontaneously combust; her one nice friend gets her throat slit by the extremely sketchy librarian-cum-member-of-some-obscure-sect-of-fuck-I-don't-know-if-they're-good-or-evil-because-anyone-wanting-Luce-dead-can't-be-all-bad). Edward Edwardiel Daniel, Luce's Hot Piece of Fallen Angel, has conferred with various other who-the-fuck-cares people and/or celestial/formerly celestial beings and decided the safest place for Luce is a large glass jar with a bunch of breathing holes punched into the metal lid an exclusive "boarding" "school" somewhere in California (ETA: It's San Francisco. Kate describes the Golden Gate Bridge as "candy apple red." This tells me one of three things: 1) Lauren Kate has never been to San Francisco, 2) Lauren Kate has never seen a candy apple, or 3) Lauren Kate is colorblind). Luce's parents and one non-dead friend are to believe she is still at her reform school. Apparently lots of otherworldly beings everywhere want Luce dead, and honestly, I don't blame them. If ever a girl was asking for being killed for sheer stupidity, it is Luce. Anyway, Daniel tells Luce she'll be safe at this school, that maybe she'll learn a thing or two, and that it is VERY IMPORTANT that she not leave the campus. Now, if my one reform-school friend had just been murdered, and I'd just discovered I died and was reincarnated every seventeen years but because I hadn't been baptized in this lifetime, I'd just die this time around and the entire universe's fate depended on what happened with me, I would maybe think that PERHAPS A LOT OF THINGS OUT THERE WERE TRYING TO KILL ME. If my broody angel boyfriend told me I'd be safe as long as I stayed on campus, I'd maybe take him seriously.

Here are some things I wouldn't do:

* If I'm explicitly told I should not let anyone know where I really am or use my teacher's borrowed cell phone to contact anyone who doesn't know what's going on, I immediately text my vapid friend from my first elite boarding school (the one where I accidentally set a boy on fire or something).
* If I received a nondescript note supposedly from my angel boyfriend-for-all-time telling me to meet him at some obscure location by taking a seedy bus when hello, he's an ANGEL WITH WINGS AND CAN FLY AND ALSO HE TOLD ME NOT TO LEAVE THE CAMPUS, I of course automatically assume the note is legit and immediately sneak off campus to meet him.
* If I were to sneak off campus anyway and see Cam, the demon guy I used to think was cute but now don't trust because he's ZOMG a demon, and he saves my life from one of the "Outcasts," a bunch of blind fallen angels (side note: it is at this point I realize that the Fallen quadrilogy is basically a giant version of the film The Warriors), I would look upon him unfavorably and fight him all the way back to campus as he's trying to, you know, get me back to safety.
* After my fallen angel boyfriend reminds me AGAIN how I shouldn't leave campus (as if the attempt on my life the last time I left campus weren't enough to be SCARED STRAIGHT), I'd immediately go on a yachting adventure the next weekend. Where there is another attempt on my life.
* During said attempt on my life (where Alice Cullen someone who looks like Luce is pulled overboard and dragged underwater several times), I immediately leap into the water and let go of the life preserver because only I KNOW HOW TO SWIM IT IS MY ONE SKILL I SWIIIIIIIM. And also because of course there's no way the powerful demon on board could save her.
* If my snooty boarding school teachers (who teach special classes for the "Nephilim"--more on this later) told me not to fuck around with the Announcers (the strange "shadows" that have plagued Luce her whole life), I would go to the woods right after class and fuck around with the Announcers.
* After my angel/demon teacher duo says, after figuring out I have been fucking around with the Announcers, in no uncertain terms that we really, really, REALLY are not to fuck around with the Announcers, I fuck around some more with the Announcers, involving my roommate and this new boy Miles (whose name anagrams to SLIME).
* When I fuck around with the Announcers, I see a glimpse of a former life and parents who might still be alive. I leave campus AGAIN with my roommate to go stalk them.
* Through another fucking around with Announcers, I see someone else from a past life in Vegas. I get Miles and roommate to open a portal and travel "by Announcer" (wtf?) to Vegas. Which, in case you did not know, is also OFF CAMPUS.
* Even though I overhear the demons and angels talking about a "truce," when I see an Announcer show Daniel and Cam working together, I decide Daniel must be EEEEVILLLLLL.
* When all the Outcasts show up at my house, and the angels and demons are all fighting outside and tell me to stay safe inside the house, I definitely run outside and put myself in the line of danger.
* When the Outcast threatens a cute boy, I offer myself up instead of him.
* After many warnings about walking into Announcers without proper training or checking, I leap into an Announcer at the end of the book because I just can't handle the pressure.

Yeah, I wouldn't do any of those things.

So, Luce has managed to become even stupider in this book than she was in the first. Great job! Are Luce and Daniel as unlikable as ever? HELLS YEAH! Every single interaction between the two can be summed up as follows:
1. Daniel shows up, surprising Luce.
2. Luce thinks about how hot he is.
3. Daniel kisses her.
4. Luce loses herself in the hottttness of the kissing and his rippling muscles.
5. Daniel says something stupid about her hair or chastises her for leaving campus and endangering not only herself, but the entire universe.
6. Luce thinks, "OMG WE HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON AND HE IS SO CONTROLLING AND BEING A WOMAN MEANS I GET TO MAKE CHOICES. FUCKING STUPID CHOICES."
7. Daniel senses Luce pulling away.
8. Luce senses Daniel's sensing of her pulling away.
9. Daniel senses Luce's sensing of his sensing of her pulling away.
10. Luce gets huffy.
11. Daniel warns Luce and tells her it's all because he loves her, but never explains WHY any of this is happening, because SHE CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH.
12. Luce is filled with doubts.
13. Daniel flutters away with his man-angel-wings.
14. Luce plans her next stupid adventure fucking around with Announcers.

Lather, rinse, repeat, blind yourself like Oedipus. But this book is far, far worse than killing your dad and fucking your mom.

You know what I just realized? These books are agonizing because Luce is like that dumbass bimbo in slasher flicks who gets killed in the first five minutes. She's the stupid one who's like, "Oh hey I don't care if there's an axe murderer in the woods--I'm going to have a lot of sex and then wander around and think every snapping twig is my boyfriend instead of the axe murderer wearing a hockey mask, LOLZ!" But you don't have to suffer very long, because she gets killed off quickly. BUT LUCE NEVER DIES. Not in this book, not in this series. I mean, hells, she keeps getting reincarnated! She is plaguing humankind for eternity. YOU CANNOT KILL OFF THE LUCE.

Daniel says early in the book (or maybe at the end of the last one?) that Luce should "trust her instincts." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I'm sorry, I just soiled myself. Never have I read of a character with worse instincts. And, yes, while Daniel is a bit of a chauvinist ass for not telling Luce a goddamned thing about why she should stay on campus, why Cam is working with them, etc., Luce doesn't exactly show herself as being able to handle ... basic logic and common sense. So I can see why he wouldn't trust her with this information, and definitely understand why in previous lives, telling her that he's an angel has made her die from brain explosion.

If their love is supposed to be romantic (because it's cursed and verboten??), sign me up for celibacy. They never communicate; they distrust each other; they get along only when they're covering each other with torrid kisses; they have absolutely nothing to talk about except "OMG I LOVE YOU MY LOVE FOR YOU IS ETERNAL AND CARRIES ACROSS EVERY LIFETIME LET US TALK ONLY ABOUT OUR LOVE AND GAZING INTO EACH OTHER'S EYES." At the same time, how strong is this love and how "worthy" is Luce of such love if she's immediately considering every boy as a prospective boyfriend? Ohhhh, Miles is so cuuute, those EYES are DREAMY, and he's uncomplicated and funny and considerate and HUGS her and makes her POPCORN and opens the Announcer portal for her to go to OFF-CAMPUS VEGAS.

And now, a list of things that are so laughably implausible that I soiled myself again:
* so, this boarding school? Is for "Nephilim," which is some term for anyone with any angel-blood in them. "Are you an angel? Would you like a little angel in you?" BUT! It's a hidden program in a regular elite boarding school, so we've got Muggles in Hogwarts in the remedial classes. Imagine. All the honors classes are for the fancy angel kids, and the smart Muggles have to be given impossible tests if they want to qualify for the program (which they will inevitably fail). I mean, why the fuck keep up this ruse? They can't possibly be accredited. Also, Kate has an annoying way of writing all-white characters and then throwing in a few ethnic tokens. They aren't given any characteristics other than "that Korean girl" or "Sarah Wong Wang Chung the Chinese kid."
* Angels and demons fight only with YE OLDE FASHIONEDE WEAPONNES. So, bows, arrows, and fencing. Hence, a fencing lesson. All the other kids have had tons of fencing training, but not Luce. Oh no, she has to fight! IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME AT ANGEL FENCING CLUB, YOU MUST FENCE. Of course she's brilliant at it and beats the crap out of the bitchy angel girl she's fighting.
* I'm sorry, I'm trying to imagine Armageddon with a bunch of angels and demons wearing white fencing outfits and facemasks, and ... no, just no. I think Kirk Cameron being whisked away in the first wave of the LEFT BEHIND series is more believable.
* You know how Luce called the Announcers "shadows" in the last book? Because they looked all shadowy? Well, apparently she is a SOOPER GEENYUS because she was actually likening them to Plato's Cave, and how the images contained in the Announcers are mere shadows, distortions, of what they reflect or represent. Plato. Luce "Plato" Price. Yep.
* There's an OUTCAST at the school. We've been told Outcasts are blind and can find people only by the glow of their burning souls. Even with several angel-halfbloods, a bunch of real angels and demons and more angels and more demons, NO ONE SENSES that the weird albino kid with the almost see-through eyes just MIGHT BE an Outcast. Which I figured out the first time he was described. Maybe Kate is just trying to make her readers feel really smart.
* I'm still hung up on "trust your instincts." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
* As if lifting many plot elements from Twilight in the first book weren't bad enough, in the second, Lauren Kate tries rather ham-fistedly to insert a love triangle. Once again. Now that Cam is no longer appealing due to his DEMON status, we have to introduce SLIME/Miles. He's uncomplicated! And kind! And maybe he can give her the life, the *normal* life that she should have, the one that doesn't end with Luce the Human Torch. At one point, Luce even says, "If you two were going to be that obvious about it, why didn't you guys come down in your Team Daniel and Team Miles T-shirts?" STOP TRYING TO MAKE ANNOYING TWILIGHT LOVE TRIANGLE HAPPEN. IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. It's like Plato's Cave version of the annoying Jacob/Edward/Bella triangle, which was fucking annoying enough in the first place. So you've got an assy copy of something that already sucks. Good work.
* Seriously, are we ever going to address the whole "when I am around normal human boys, sometimes they spontaneously combust" thing?

This is neither here nor there, but your enjoyment of this book may be greatly enhanced by replacing "wings" with "balls" in your mind as you read. For example:

"His broad white balls seemed to be edged with violet light and were pulsing nearly imperceptibly in the rough wind."

"Her hands were wrapped tight around his neck, then stroked the firm muscles on his shoulders, brushing the soft, thick perimeter of his balls. They were strong and white and shimmering, always so much bigger than she remembered. Two great balls extending from his sides, every inch of them perfect and smooth. She could feel a tension against her fingers, like touching a tightly stretched canvas. But silkier, and deliciously velvet soft. They seemed to respond to her touch, even extending forward to rub against her, pulling her closer, until she was buried in them, nestling deeper and deeper, and still never getting enough." COME ON, THAT'S AWESOME. When it's about balls.

"But instead of the stars and trees and crashing waves, Luce's eyes fixed on something else behind one of the roof's many chimneys. Something white and billowing. An iridescent pair of balls."

"... an enormous pair of golden balls split through his gray cashmere sweater. They unfurled behind him, taking up most of the kitchen. Cam's balls were so bright they were almost blinding as they pulsed."

"Roland's balls unfurled with a sound like a great flock of birds taking flight. They lamplight in the kitchen highlighted their dark gold and black marbling as he squeezed out the door after Cam."

"Daniel took Luce's hands in his. He closed his eyes, inhaled, and let his massive white balls unfurl. Fully extended, they would have filled the entire kitchen, but Daniel reined them in, close to his body. They shimmered and glowed and looked altogether too beautiful. Luce reached out and touched them with both hands. Warm and satin smooth on the outside, but inside, full of power." AWESOME. (When it's about balls.)

I think I will employ the "balls" technique to make it through the next book. Which I'm reading solely so I can bitch about it here.
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Comments (showing 1-27 of 27) (27 new)

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message 1: by Colleen (new)

Colleen I feel a portion of my brain died just reading the review; I can't imagine how you feel having actually read the book!


message 2: by Brian (new)

Brian I hate that you endured such a terrible book but your review is "balls" ...I mean wonderful! Awesome :)


message 3: by Penny (last edited Jan 18, 2011 09:29PM) (new)

Penny Um. I'm going to go ahead and say this review makes Lauren Kate's entire existence worth it. I mean, I was planning on inventing the world's first time machine so I could travel to the past in order to make sure Lauren Kate's parents never meet. But then I wouldn't have this review to read. That would have been a real tragedy. For me and the internet. And balls everywhere.

P.S. I love you. (But not in a lezzy way. Just the regular I-don't-know-you-but-clearly-you're-good-people kind of way).


message 4: by Holly (new)

Holly I have a question. If this whole crisis is about how she hasn't been baptized in this lifetime, why doesn't she just find a priest?


message 5: by Penny (new)

Penny Baptism would actually make it impossible for her to be with Daniel. She'd die. No, really. I kid you not. (I was dumb enough to suffer through the first book).

I wish some one would lure her into a large body of water and sneakily baptize her. Or just drown her.


message 6: by Holly (new)

Holly Wait, so she will die if she is baptized, but if she is not, she will still die but permanently and the world will explode or something?

I'm so confused.


message 7: by Penny (new)

Penny In her past lives she always died after kissing Daniel one time. Come to find out it's because she was baptized in all those other lives. But this is the first life that she wasn't baptized, and because of that she didn't die when she kissed Daniel.

I'm not making this up. It's that bad.


message 8: by Holly (new)

Holly So in order to have her speshul speshul love she has to destroy the world.

That's way too much pressure for an obviously stupid girl to manage.

Oh wait, as we learned in the last book, she is really, really smart. She's an honor student! And she can swiiiiiiiim!


message 9: by SKB (new) - rated it 1 star

SKB Also she knows how to fence, like, instinctively. Even though she doesn't have a little angel in her. (Although perhaps one day she will. STICK IT IN!)


message 10: by SKB (new) - rated it 1 star

SKB And seriously, why are those Outcasts and other Warrior-sects (the Baseball Furies, the Electric Eliminators, the Boppers, etc.) bothering with all the sneak attacks? Just bring in a frickin' priest for a stealth baptism. IT BURNS, IT BURNS! Man, that would be awesome.


message 11: by Amander (last edited Jan 21, 2011 08:03AM) (new)

Amander I just ... wet myself.

BRB inventing a baptism gun.

PS: So ... unicorn vengeance. Is what you're saying. Were there chausses?


message 12: by Jessie (new)

Jessie You are hilarious, thank you for suffering through this book, and writing about Daniel's giant velvety balls! Oh my gosh, thank you!
Oh, and your list about "what you wouldn't do" is gold.


Victoria SKB thats kinda mean!


message 14: by Seth (new)

Seth Frost Oh man, the balls thing was so epic. Kudos to you, my friend!


message 15: by Ddpjclaf (new)

Ddpjclaf Oh, Goodness, this is the best review I've ever read for these books. Ahahahaha!


Manna Sidhu That has to be the funniest thing I have ever read in my entire life, aside from this unintentionally funny read. Please read "Passion" just so I can enjoy your review of it.
PS The "balls" thing was straight up lulz.


Amelia This reveiw makes reading the book worth it... hahah gold...


Rawan Moukalled I have never commented on a review here before, but your ball/wings excercise made me ROFL! THANK YOU! And awesome review by the way.


message 19: by Sofia (new) - rated it 1 star

Sofia Best review i've ever read. Hands down.


Rachel i love it how you changed wings to balls... seriously, that was hysterical!


message 21: by Christina (new) - added it

Christina Wilder Sofia wrote: "Best review i've ever read. Hands down."

Seconded. SKB deserves an award for this masterpiece.


message 22: by MrsJoseph (new)

MrsJoseph Christina wrote: "Sofia wrote: "Best review i've ever read. Hands down."

Seconded. SKB deserves an award for this masterpiece."


This IS a masterpiece. If I ever write a crappy book...I was SKB to write a review. :-D


Minna You had me at "shit sandwich." This is the funniest review I have read in a LONG time.


Annwynbeneaththewaves "Daniel took Luce's hands in his. He closed his eyes, inhaled, and let his massive white balls unfurl. Fully extended, they would have filled the entire kitchen, but Daniel reined them in, close to his body. They shimmered and glowed and looked altogether too beautiful. Luce reached out and touched them with both hands. Warm and satin smooth on the outside, but inside, full of power." AWESOME. (When it's about balls.)
I lost it. I lost it oh my god I can't, I can't anymore! *jumps off building*


message 25: by Hana (new)

Hana OMG I LOVE THE BALLS PART! OH GOD OH GOD THE BOOK ACTUALLY SOUNDS BETTER NOW. LIKE LAUREN KATE HOW ABOUT YOU MAKE YOUR BOOK ABOUT LADS WITH GIANT BALLS? IT'D BE SOOOO AWESOME!

I love you. ♥


Joanna Absouletly the BEST review ever!


message 27: by Ellie (new)

Ellie I havent read the book and honestly I dont plan to, but thank you for changing "wings" to "balls" It was hysterical


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