Gina Denny's Reviews > Fallen

Fallen by Lauren Kate
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Mar 03, 11

Recommended for: Twilight Fans
Read from March 01 to 03, 2011, read count: 1

First, can we talk about the gorgeous cover art? There's a lot of faceless, YA-modern-urban-paranormal-fantasy covers out there, and this one could easily have felt cliche, but it's not. It's beautiful, and the book gets points right off the bat for being so evocative of the mood of the novel. Yes. I judge books by their covers. So does the rest of the world, of there wouldn't be entire departments dedicated to creating said covers.

I will admit to this book having flaws, but, much like Twilight and Harry Potter, I am completely willing to overlook the nit-picky stuff in favor of the amazing story. A story that is equal parts absolutely gripping, beautiful, and tragic. Lauren Kate has created such a powerful set of images, such a strong cast of characters and such a tightly woven tale, that all else is instantly forgiven.

The story starts with Lucinda being sent to a "reform school" for a heinous crime- of which she swears she is completely innocent- and debilitating psychological disorders. The school is a hodgepodge of strange settings: a prison-like school and dormitory system, a Gothic-era church, a Confederate cemetery, and a cellar remnant from the old South, that at first it feels disjointed, but as you get sucked into the story, the setting creates such a strong atmosphere, that you cannot help but be swept away by it. Can you think of a more breathtaking movie scene than a pool inside a run down church, with vines swinging across the huge wooden doors and stained glass windows overhead?

Lucinda meets up with a host of characters: the rocker boy, the beautiful boy, the punk rock girl, the shy outcast, the party kid, the "mean girl" and a handful of teachers of varying degrees of horribleness. Each one remains just short of a cliche, and each one plays a meaningful part in the story. Nobody is left out, and nothing is introduced just to be discarded later.

The romance is nothing short of spellbinding, and I love it even more for the fact that it's pretty chaste. It's passionate without being crude, and I will admit to having actual goosebumps on my arms at one point.

The whole plot is shrouded in a mystery, and it seems that at least one, if not more characters know exactly what's going on, but Lucinda is completely in the dark, bringing the reader along to discover it all, one piece at a time. The twists and turns are completely unpredictable, and the only reason I was "right" with any of my own predictions is because I simply postulated so many theories that at least one of them was bound to be right. Through the whole story, my mental play by play was something along the lines of "He's so sweet. He's totally evil. What a nice guy. Oh, he is just a side character. No, evil!" And guess what? At least one of those guesses turned out to be right... or at least close. There's no guessing the whole story, and the ending gives you just enough answers to leave you wanting more. Luckily, there's a sequel.

Parental Advisories:

Language 0/5: Biblical uses of "damnation" and "Hell" are used infrequently

Sex 1/5: Some very passionate kissing, a shirtless boy is discussed in great detail.

Violence 3/5: A boy is burned. A girl taunts another by pushing her down and smearing meatloaf on her head. Two boys get in a really bad fist fight. A boy gets into a fist fight with a drunken man. A woman stabs a girl. A girl gets wounded by a stray demonic power and then is killed quickly.

Substance Abuses 2/5: Teens drink cheap champagne. A couple goes to a bar where other patrons are drunk. One character nurses a hangover. Cigarettes and cigars are mentioned.

There are some very scary images of demonic shadows, and might be too intense for younger readers.
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