Fallen (Fallen #1) by Lauren Kate
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Released: November 19th 2009
My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
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. (from Goodreads)
Fallen begins with Luce arriving at Sword & Cross, a reform school she now has to attend. As soon as Luce sees Daniel Grigori, she has this strange feeling that she's met him before. She feels a pull towards him, and even though he seems intent on ignoring her, Luce is determined to find out more about him. With the help of her new friend Penn, Luce begins to uncover secrets that perhaps are better left forgotten.
Fallen is definitely one of those books that draws you in from page one. I liked the setting - I thought Sword & Cross was described pretty well and there was an eerie feel about it from the very beginning which helped build up the foreboding atmosphere. I also liked a lot of the characters, Arriane being my favourite because she was probably the funniest and most confident of the lot. I loved her first meeting with Luce - she was charismatic and made me smile, and I decided right then and there she was the best character so far. I also liked Penn as well, because even though she was the only "normal" person at Sword & Cross, she still had a lot of quirks that made her really interesting (like her ability to kind of sort of hack into a library system :P). I think Miss Sophia was a pretty good character too - charming yet devious and above suspicion. Another character I liked, a very minor character though, was Callie, Luce's friend from her old school. Her phone calls and letters were hilarious and I thought she was a really good friend to Luce. She also gave insight into Luce's life before "the accident", which I think helps us understand Luce better and get to know her more.
Another thing I enjoyed was the interaction between Cam and Daniel, particularly during the "truce". It was interesting to learn the opinions they had about each other, and it made me question what happened in the past to make them think like that. I was also very intrigued by Roland, a recurring minor character, especially after what Arianne said about him towards the end. She said something about him I really didn't expect, and I'd love to find out more about him and his past - I hope this is explored in the sequel.
However, I'm not going to pretend that this book didn't confuse me. Half the time I was thinking, "Whaaaaaa?" I'll start with Luce. With her supposed 4.0 GPA and superior intelligence, I can't fathom why it took her so long to figure out Daniel's secret. It wasn't exactly difficult, just Googling his last name would give most of the answers. Plus, the way she acted around him made me cringe. It was like she had no self-respect - I mean, I get the guy is good-looking and all, but apart from that, Luce knew nothing else about him. At all. But she was acting like some lovesick princess. I felt embarrassed. And then she went to meet Cam, who she also knows nothing about, not once, but twice! Even after what he did the first time. I know she was just trying to sort out the issue but there was a better way of doing it than meeting a dangerous man alone in a secluded area. And Daniel - [spoiler, highlight to view]the whole kissing thing confused me a little bit. If he knew that Luce would die if he kissed her, and it happened hundreds and hundreds of times before, I don't get why he didn't leave Sword & Cross immediately after he realised Luce was there. Why did he think that he could resist her in this lifetime when he failed to every time before?[end spoiler] I can't really complain too much about Daniel because I did like him - I thought it was sweet the way he was so protective of Luce after he realised she'd survived the kiss, but one thing I found annoying about him was his constant "you wouldn't understand"s. Pretty patronising.
Another thing is that hardly anything is explained. I know this is going to be a series, so I understand why this is, but the ending just felt really muddled to me. I barely understood what was happening, or why it was happening either. My copy of Fallen had an extract from Torment in it, which I read as well, and now I'm really eager for this sequel, mostly because I want to know what the hell is going on.
Despite my complaints, I did enjoy Fallen - like I said before, it was very engaging and I felt like I was a part of the world that Lauren Kate had built. I'm looking forward to the sequel and I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoyed Hush, Hush or Twilight.