SUMMARY (from Goodreads): 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, Georgia. 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 though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce – and goes out of his way to make that very clear – she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.
Fortunately, I did not notice all the bad reviews for Fallen until after I had read it. However, I did not read them, because I do not want to downplay other people’s opinion or make my review defensive. Instead, I just want to say why I liked this book.
Firstly, Fallen is a thoroughly engaging read. I had been putting it off for quite a while before starting it, since four hundred fifty and something pages looked so bulky, but then I virtually gulped it down. Its intriguing plot hooked me right at the beginning.
Secondly, I love the setting. At first, Sword & Cross and its surroundings appeared to be the dullest and the ugliest setting in the book ever. However, Kate skilfully reveals the details which make this place not only interesting, but also strewn with spots of beauty. This is especially so in case of the cemetery. Whereas cemeteries are as a rule not the places I would like to visualise, Kate’s depiction of the creepy, decaying, and yet beautiful Sword & Cross cemetery makes it a fascinating setting.
Next, the selection of characters in Fallen is odd, but strangely complementary. The teenagers at Sword & Cross are all branded as bad kids, but in the course of reading the reader uncovers their diversity. Both the two main characters and the minor characters are well developed and turn out rather surprising.
Luce is a character I could really get into. She is the girl who is struggling with her secret all her life, and I truly felt for her. She is suffering, but instead of getting help, revealing her secret only makes it worse, so she has to keep it to herself while trying to understand it. It is an extremely difficult situation, and it made me thinking about our attitude towards the people who claim they are in contact with supernatural forces and about the existence of these forces. I think Luce’s predicament is well-dealt with, and she makes a great strong and independent character.
Daniel is a mysterious character. His hands are pretty much tied if he wants to protect Luce. Therefore, Daniel and Luce learn about each other slowly, one piece of the puzzle after another. It is prudent to go about their relationship so carefully and yet persistently, and it fits the story. The only problem I have with this book is that there is still so much left unknown about Daniel’s history and how he got himself in trouble so to speak, nevertheless I believe everything will be cleared up in the sequels to Fallen.
Finally, Fallen is a book that follows its own rules which are constructed in the way that makes the setting, the characters, and the plot work well together. I am definitely going to read the rest of the trilogy to find out how everything unravels.
RECOMMENDATION: Fallen is a complex book in a simple way. On the surface it may be an easy read about teenage love, but if one ventures to look underneath, there may be unexpected depths to be found for consideration.