Author: Lauren Kate
Publisher: Delacorte Press
After a terrifying accident leaves her boyfriend dead, Lucinda Price is sent to Sword & Cross, a boarding school for hard-cases with nowhere else to go. Luce is immediately drawn to Daniel Grigori, a guy with beautiful eyes but an unapproachable attitude. The more she learns about Daniel, the more Luce feels a sense of familiarity, like she’s known him before. As Luce tries to uncover the secrets she’s certain that Daniel is hiding, terrifying events begin to unfold around her. Will digging into Daniel’s past put her life in danger, and is it worth dying to discover the truth?
Lucinda Prince is a very sympathetic character, and I was drawn up into her story right away. She is the victim of a mysterious set of circumstances that leave her boyfriend dead after a horrifying fire, and because of the suspicious nature of the fire, she is sent to reform school after an unpleasant brush with the police. It doesn’t help that she sees terrifying shadows, ominous specters that follow her and leave her frightened and disconcerted. Not wanting the label of “psycho” to follow her as well, she keeps their presence to herself, doing her best to ignore them and carry on with her life.
Luce’s problem is that her life is anything but normal. At Sword & Cross, the students are kept under constant scrutiny, spied on by cameras and teachers. Cell phones are forbidden, phone calls are limited to one per week, and rules dictate every aspect of their lives. Luce tries to adjust to her new, bleak routine, and tries to make a few friends. Daniel Grigori is like forbidden fruit to her, and no matter how he tries to discourage her interest, Luce is drawn to him again and again. Handsome Cam tries to win her affections, but even his friendly overtures can’t shake Luce’s fascination with the brooding Daniel.
Fallen kept me guessing to the end, and though I occasionally questioned the wisdom of some of Luce’s decisions, her circumstances made them convincing. She is so out of her element as she chases after Daniel, and coping with her new life at the school isn’t easy. Sword & Cross made for a dark, dangerous background as Luce puzzles out the mysteries surrounding her. While I loved the gritty atmosphere of the story, I didn’t like the final resolution. Luce’s life is constantly in danger, Daniel knows that she is running headlong into a perilous situation, but he doesn’t do much to warn her or help her, all for her own good. Even at the end, when he reveals some of the truth to her, he refuses to level with her about everything because he thinks he’s protecting her. I found this a little hard to swallow, especially since her lack of knowledge almost causes her death a few times. It was irritating and communicated a lack of confidence in Luce, like she was a child who couldn’t deal with the truth.
This cover deserves a special mention, because it is breathtakingly gorgeous. I readily admit that I purchased this one almost solely based on the cover. I love the dark hues, the sinister birds flying in the background, and how the light is breaking around the solitary figure framed by trees. The girl covers her eyes with her lace gloved hands, afraid of what she will see if she gazes around her. This cover actually captures the feeling of the book, as Luce repeatedly refuses to acknowledge the shadows that converge around her. Great cover!
Fallen offers up an engrossing tale with a dark, menacing environment, and a sympathetic young protagonist who must conquer the darkness gathering around her.