Honest and lively YA book reviews
Fallen: an epic disaster. I mean really, Lauren Kate, really? This is what you provide us with as entertainment? Really? Urgh .....
I think I need a few more "reallys" in there .... This story is set at a reform school, really? Luce is supposed to be a strong, intelligent, gutsy female heroine, really? The characters are supposed to be dark and full of mystery and intrigue, really? Daniel is supposed to sexy, hot and desirable, really? This book is supposed to be full of surprises, suspense and unexpected twists, really?
In reality Fallen is none of these things. In actual fact it reads like Ms Kate started writing it, got bored (and who can blame her? I got bored reading it so I imagine writing it was super tedious .....) and threw together a bunch of crap for the last 100 pages or so. It was slow moving, to put it nicely. I mean, I used it to treat my insomnia. I'm not even kidding. I have terrible trouble sleeping and this book actually helped me out on that front. It should be prescribed by GPs. I guess that's what earned it one star. There are pages and pages of Daniel staring at Luce, Luce staring at Daniel. Luce falling in lust with Cam, Luce falling out of lust with Cam. Luce agonising over her feelings for Daniel, Luce agonising over her feelings for Cam. Aaaaaand ..... Hello blissful sleep! It really is beyond dull.
The setting .... Oh, the setting ... A reform school, uh huh, sure it is ..... It felt more like a very lax summer camp. VERY lax. Where is the adult supervision? These kids are supposedly a danger to society and yet they are allowed to roam free over a seemingly endless campus which includes a completely unmonitored lake and forest .... What the actual fuck is that all about?! This issue of the setting bothered me to my very core. Why even bother having such a specific setting if you're not going to commit to it Ms Kate? I honestly couldn't buy into anything else that happened with such an unbelievable back drop.
There was zero supervision. The reds? There was clearly no-one sat actually monitoring those cameras. Why was it never investigated when one stopped working? Which happened all the time! The students were constantly removing batteries (I know .....batteries. What the hell were they doing running security cameras on batteries?! Is there no mains electricity at this school?) draping feather boas over them (yes, this really happened) and sticking circles of duct tapes over them and this was never followed up by any staff member! There was no security at the front gate either. The front gate! Of all places you'd think this would be high security! But no. Luce just wanders out and strolls into a strangers car (on a side note, did no-one ever teach her about stranger-danger?!) and takes off into the night. What the hell! There's an endless supply of booze and cigarettes, late night parties with no consequence and absolutely no-one seems to mind when Luce just gives up attending classes half way through the book. This does not strike me as a typical reform school. There ain't no reforming going on here that I can see!
Why, just why is Luce even at this school? Why is anyone at this school? There's a distinct lack of explanation on this front (although let's face it, theres's a distinct lack of explanation for ANYTHING throughout the book). From Daniel's file, it seems that students can be sent here at the drop of a hat. He is incarcerated there for jaywalking ..... Yes, JAYWALKING! So maybe I shouldn't be surprised that Luce appears to be there for being witness to a tragic and traumatising accident. If these are the criteria for requiring to be locked up in a reform school, then they must be packed! Bursting to the rafters with students who wouldn't eat their vegetables or who stopped to watch an accident on the highway! We should really consider building more to deal with what must be a considerable overcrowding problem which I'm assuming must exist if you can be throw in there for such trifling "crimes".
Oh god, now I've started thinking about Luce .... Who even is she? She has no face, she is officially faceless. She is one of the blandest heroines ever (and I use the term heroine loosely as she never does anything in the least bit heroic). She is consumed by her hormones. The second she steps on campus all she can think of is boys, boys, boys. And so long as they have bulging muscles and floppy hair then they'll do for our Luce. If this is her only request of a boyfriend then surely a cardboard cutout would so? And what is Daniel really, if not a cardboard cutout .... He has no substance, he's paper thin to say the least. A strong breeze and he'd be blown straight into one of those "live oak trees" or into the grove of "rotting peach trees" ...... Urgh ...... There is nothing remotely attractive about Daniel's personality, no wonder he was kicked out of heaven, he was probably boring all the other angels to death .....
I passionately hate and am violently bored of what seems to be the now typical YA romance. Girl meets boy, boy hates girl and is vile towards her, girl falls even more deeply in luv with boy and an awkward romance ensues with much to-ing and fro-ing of will they, wont they be together culminating in some cheesy drivel and including the inevitable fight scene. Oh god, now I'm thinking about Fallen's painful fight scenes! What really made me lol was the first fight between Cam and Daniel beginning in the library and then for some reason moving out onto the sports field. All I could picture was the awkward, clunky fight between Colin Firth and Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones' Diary! This scene was horribly written! In my mind it went like this:
Daniel: Cam, we will fight now for an unspecified reason.
Cam: No Daniel, we are fighting over Luce because .... Uhm, because .....
Daniel: We are fighting over Luce because I love her!
Cam: No you don't, you treat her like garbage.
Daniel: Okay, but let's fight anyway so I can show off my moves/muscles!
My head is now in my hands over the whole pathetic debacle. There was absolutely no reason for this display of testosterone. And there were no consequences either! Following this both boys continue to swan around the school, no punishment in sight!
I could continue on beating this book to death with a stick but it really has wasted enough of my time, so to finish I'll just walk you through a few of my favourite quotes .... Heehee ....
" .... plopping down on the top bleacher." " .... plopped down beside her ...." " ... she'd just plopped down ... "
What's with all the plopping and why are these kids always doing it?! Now does one even plop anyway ....?
"Luce rolled over and buried her face in the crook of an arm."
Whose arm?! Just an arm? Not her arm?!
"Are they all scary and popping diuretics like in the movies?" (Callie)
Why on earth would the students be taking tablets to make them pee more? How is that going to improve their mental health?!
".... most people use less delicate body parts of their body to return a kick."
This is an appalling sentence.
"She wanted to know what he was doing right now at Gabbe's party and when his birthday was and what shoe size he wore and whether he ever wasted a single second of his time wondering about her. Luce shook her head. This train of thought was heading straight to Pity City ..."
With stops along the way at Stalker-Ville, Creepy Town and Cheesy Street ....
"Cam was much easier to figure out. Like he was algebra and Daniel was calculus. And she had always loved calculus, the way it sometimes took an hour to figure out a single proof."
I don't even know what to say ... I just ... I can't, I can't even .... Wait, what?!
"I also do the Sunday crossword, sometimes in under an hour!"
This is Luce boasting to Daniel about her intelligence ... The scary thing is, she is being completely serious. The even scarier thing? Daniel takes her seriously ...
"....she saw three small but seething shadows hanging upside down like bats ..."
Do undefined shadows have a top and a bottom? Do they have a right way up? I didn't think so, so how can they hang upside down like bats?!
In conclusion, this book is ridiculous. The first two thirds are so dull you will have a desire to pull your own teeth out just to break up the tedium. The final third descends into some kind of dream-state madness so loaded with cheese you will physically feel your arteries clogging, and so packed with inconsistencies and unbelievable coincidences, peppered with absurdly convenient incidents that, believe me, you will vomit. So for the sake of your health, just leave it alone ....