Monday, February 2, 2015

Audiobook Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

Title: Fallen (Fallen #1)
Author: Lauren Kate
Publication Date: December 8, 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 452
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What if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours?

17-year-old Lucinda falls in love with a gorgeous, intelligent boy, Daniel, at her new school, the grim, foreboding Sword & Cross . . . only to find out that Daniel is a fallen angel, and that they have spent lifetimes finding and losing one another as good & evil forces plot to keep them apart.

Get ready to fall . . .

This is another on a long list of books that I have put off reading for reasons unknown. The other day, while browsing my local indie bookstore, I came across a new copy of this with a bright and shiny "Soon to be a major motion picture!" sticker on the front. If there's anything that will force me to read a book immediately, that's it. I absolutely MUST read books before I see them on the big screen. Well, most of the time (that didn't really work out with The Giver or The Maze Runner). So anyway, I went straight home and got a copy of the audiobook to listen to.

Fallen is almost as dark and depressing as the cover suggests, although there are enough humorous and heartwarming moments to keep readers from throwing it across the room. The story begins when Luce is enrolled into a new boarding school for troublemakers - Sword and Cross. After several rough first encounters, she develops a couple very interesting friendships with Arriane, a slightly psychotic and pretty intense shock bracelet wearing student, and Penn, one of the only normal people Luce encounters at the school. I really enjoyed watching these two very different friendships develop. The characters were multi-faceted and well developed. I especially loved Arriane's personality! I think I would have enjoyed having someone like her by my side in high school.

Luce herself was a character I wasn't quite sure about. I didn't dislike anything in particular about her... She was nice enough, I guess. I think it was just her naivety that really grated on my nerves. I know that there's no way I could have expected her to know everything she needed to know going into this story, but her actions make her seem more like she's 12 than 17.

The love interest(s) in Fallen were slightly less appealing, in my opinion of course. First there's Daniel. From the very beginning, Daniel is a total jerk to Luce. In fact, the first interaction they have is when he flips her off. Yet, for whatever reason, she continues to seek him out. Now, I get that there's a supernatural element to their relationship. Still, I'll never understand characters who continually seek out guys who are nothing but rude to them. On the other hand, Cam is nothing but a gentleman from day one. Luce seems torn between them at first, but there's never any doubt who she'll choose (I mean, read the blurb). Again, I understand the supernatural implications, but I don't know many girls in real life who would choose Daniel over Cam, at least from what is revealed about him in the first 3/4 of this book.

Since this is the first book about angels I've read, I'm tempted to say it's totally original. However, I have Hush, Hush sitting on my bookshelf right now waiting to be read after I finish this series. I'm not sure if calling this original is really totally fair. Whether the whole "fallen angel" angle is unique or not, the story was really interesting and did keep me reading (err, listening). I really enjoyed learning the history of the fallen angels and the differences between the different kinds. The villain of the book was also very unexpected - great twist!

Lauren Kate also did a really great job of describing the environments at Sword and Cross. I especially loved the way she painted the pictures of the woods, lake, and church/pool. Not all authors are able to write their worlds in such a way that they can be visualized, but this one did and I hope that it will translate well to the big screen.

Fallen was a very quick read and was definitely interesting and I liked it enough to make me read the next book in the series. That being said, I didn't love it and I doubt I'd read it again. Something about Luce and the romance between her and Daniel just didn't quite work for me. Hopefully it'll be fleshed out more in book two! I still would recommend Fallen to fans of paranormal romance, especially those dealing with fallen angels, since I seem to have different preferences towards romantic relationships in books than a lot of my peers.

Notes on the Audiobook
The voice acting skills of Justine Eyre were actually very good - much better than some I've encountered recently! My one annoyance was that the voices she used for the men were all very, very similar. I get that it's difficult to sound manly as a female, but I wish there had been a little more variety. She did a great job overall though and I have no qualms about listening to more books narrated by her.