"In this lifetime you're nothing more than you appear to be: a stupid, selfish, ignorant, spoiled little girl who thinks the world lives or dies on whether she gets to go out with some good-looking boy at school. Even if your death wouldn't accomplish something so long-awaited, glorious, and grand, I'd still relish this moment, killing you."
I'm sorry, was I supposed to agree with absolutely everything the evil villain said and wait, with baited breath, for her to kill Lucinda Price painfully on my behalf?
This review has spoilers, by the way.
I have a list of rules for authors. Kind of like a checklist to ensure that their novel is going to be good. This book breaks them all. For posterity I'm going to list exactly which ones and why.
1. Don’t assume that your audience isn’t as smart as you.
Statistically speaking, you’re probably sitting on a fat, old average like the rest of us. Try to flex our grey matter. Please.
Lauren Kate thinks we're idiots. She really, really does. The prologue basically immediately informs the reader that Lucinda Price has been reincarnated and that black shadows follow her around ready to engulf her and take her away. The title of the book is Fallen, and at page 51 Daniel's last name is revealed to be Grigori. Anyone with half a brain already knows the gist of this story. That Daniel is a fallen angel and the Lucinda Price is his loved one reincarnated. yet 389 pages later, Lauren Kate pulls this out like it's some kind of massive reveal. No. Fuck no. Having your main character come to a conclusion almost four hundred pages after the reader is just an insult. You never learn more than this by the way. Other than a vague explanation as to the true function of the shadows - that is it. *Kat's attempts to pierce her own eyes a la Jocasta*
2. Don’t cover up bad writing and plot with a sexy, smoldering character.
Chances are they won’t be nearly sexy, or smoldering enough. It is painful to read badly written literature so just get it right the first time, please.
The writing in this novel is terrible, by the way. The editing is even worse. Perhaps the copy-editor had a hard time focusing on the text while her brain hemorrhaged as well. The sentences were choppy, they flowed poorly and the word choices were sometimes just plain weird.
5. Characterization is everything.
This doesn’t mean that your characters have to be likable at all times – or likable at all. But they have to be interesting, worth reading and fleshed out. They have to react to situations within their character or in relation to their personal growth and they have to reflect the plot and the changes in your story.
Characterization... where do I even start. *sighs* okay. Here we go, but this is going to be painful and filled with profanities.
Lucinda Price - If I ever saw this girl in the street, I would probably punch her in the face. I have never read such a useless, pathetic, tragically stupid female protagonist IN MY LIFE.
Luce's first encounter with Daniel results in him flipping her off. After that he ignores her, rejects her, accuses her of stalking him, ditches her, suggests that she is annoying, accuses her of being an intruder... the list goes on. GET A HINT, WOMAN! HE DOESN'T LIKE YOU! Only he does, and why they fall in love or want anything to do with each other is probably the only fucking mystery in this whole book. No wait, I scratch that. They DO belong together. They're both prats. I wouldn't wish them on anybody else.
She's a useless, stupid idiot and he's a selfish, moronic asshole. It must be true love. Daniel treats Luce like shit. Luce accepts Daniel's treatment of her (the fact that she does this causes ME to agree with Daniel's assessment), internalizes it, agonizes over it and still goes back for more. Again and again. The ONE time. I mean it. ONE FUCKING TIME that Luce sticks up to Daniel and tells him not to treat her like an idiot (the idiot that she is) he kisses her (probably just to shut her up - for which I'm eternally grateful) then she immediately stops requesting that he treat her like an adult and an equal and he goes right back to muttering cryptic things without explaining them because her puny female mind couldn't possibly comprehend them.
Oh. And ANOTHER thing! She obsessively stalks him, against all odds seeks him out again and again. Finally, when he DOES tell her the truth, what does she do? She runs away. That's right. Like a big fucking pansy, it turns out that her puny female mind really CAN'T handle information. I feel like muttering that scene out of anchorman where Ron Burgundy says:
"I'm a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn. That's what kind of man I am. You're just a woman with a small brain. With a brain a third the size of us. It's science."
Daniel is crap. Need I say more? Crappity crap crap CRAP! "Oh dear, I love this girl, but if I kiss her she's going to DIE!"
Well here's a fucking idea, dickhead, DON'T KISS HER! (Or don't kiss her on the lips *winks* at least not the ones on her face! *Chuckles evilly*) when she shows up, as she inevitably will, run away. Go to a club and pick up a chick and take her home for "coffee" or to show her your special angel wings. Whatever floats your boat. Don't stick around and interact with her and torture yourself by getting close.
Other characters in this book are two-dimensional. If there were such a concept as one-dimensional, I'm sure Kate would have striven to achieve that instead. They are stand in cardboard cut outs and easily forgettable and inconsequential.
6. Your story needs to have an actual story.
It needs to have conflict, resolution; climax, dénouement; beginning and an end. They don’t always need to occur in the standard order, but something needs to happen.
Can you read that, Lauren Kate? Something needs to fucking happen! Not just 401 pages of stalking! That's not a fucking story!
Know what the hell you’re writing about and put the work and research into your story. Nothing is more annoying then reading a book about an Anglican Preacher in the seventeenth century burning witches, when you know perfectly well how very historically inaccurate that is.
This author knows nothing about angels. Or the Bible. Or religion. She shows no concept for the Biblical nature of angels, their real function, how they differ from humans. It's. Just. So. Fail. Kill me now. I felt like putting on my sexy librarian outfit, pulling out my cain (hyuk hyuk) and giving a very interesting instruction about the Bible in both its modern context and the times in which it is historically acknowledged to be written as well as the spiritual nature or angels and demons and heaven. Probably would have been a lot more fun than reading this book because I look very sexy in my outfits and I give great feedback to my students!
And finally - the last rule that this story broke:
8. Consider what message your story is telling.
Remember that usually, and historically, stories don’t usually exist just for the hell of it. Stories have messages and meaning. They teach us and give us a perspective on life. Storytelling carries a great responsibility because there are few things more emotive to people than stories.
My husband and I have been together for seven years now and I can confidently say I love him. I love him. I think about him. I know him. Most of all, I know WHY I love him and I know WHY he's perfect for me and why nobody else on this planet would ever do.
Fallen seems to think it has something to say about Love. Albeit, I wonder if even it knows what its opinion on love is. Maybe that love conquers all? No, not really since in the book it doesn't. Maybe that love is eternal? Well, yeah maybe. An eternal pain-in-the-ass is the theme it really seems to be going for.
However, I hate the version of love in this book. It's some mystical, unexplainable tie in this book. Something that just is without any further information provided. I can't help but compare Daniel's alleged "sacrifice" in losing Luce over and over again because he keeps selfishly kissing her (when he kisses her she dies apparently) with real love. If he really loved her then he'd leave as soon as he caught a glimpse of her. He'd move across the country. He'd keep running from her until the end of time for her own good.
When I compare it to how completely unselfish my husband is with his love, I can never excuse either Daniel or Luce for their actions.
The relationship in this book is so unbalanced. There is SO much information that Daniel never gives her because she just needs to trust him and apparently her fragile little female mind won't be able to handle it. Then of course, there is the complete and utter power imbalance in their relationship. This book is almost an argument against feminism. To make the boy love you, you must accept his treatment and patiently wait out his scorn and derision. You're supposed to obsess over the boy of your dreams and imagine who he is in complete contradiction to the person he's shown you to be. Somehow this is supposed to be romantic. This is supposed to be real love.
Well, I live real love. I live it every day in its very boring, mundane existence. I live with my soulmate and we go day from day. This book is nothing like love. This book knows obsession, hormones and drama. It knows nothing about love. It is devoid of respect, attention, tenderness and the freely giving love that I know to be real.
The back of the book has a teaser for the next book stating:
"Can you bear the... TORMENT
The next book in the Fallen series by Lauren Kate"
The answer is: No. I really, really can't bear it. I'll leave it to people who don't mind having their braincells sucked into a black hole of anti-feminist propaganda.
This review can also be found on my blog, Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.