It seems it’s all about fallen angels at the moment, and one of the most prominent recent releases is the dark and atmospheric Fallen, by Lauren Kate.
Like Hush Hush (see review), it’s got an evocative cover, but while there are similarities between the two novels, it’s not fair to compare them as each has its own rhythm, style and intent.
Quick synopsis: When troubled Luce is sent to a bleak reform school, she’s immediately drawn to Daniel, convinced she knows him from somewhere. The handsome stranger acts indifferent to her, but it’s clear he’s hiding something. But Luce is also grappling with dark shadows that have haunted her for years, and which seem to be growing in strength since her arrival at the gothic reform school.
It’s not giving too much away to say that Luce is one half of a couple doomed to fall in love over and over again – and each time she must die. And each time, Luce has no idea what’s happened in the past, or what’s ahead. That burden is carried by her celestial lover, who’s incapable of preventing her death.
Fallen has one of my least favourite plot devices – the love triangle – but by the end of the book it’s clear there’s much more to this one than meets the eye.
(And the idea of fated love – whether it’s doomed or not – to me raises the question of the value of falling for someone you were destined to be with. Where does choice and free will come into it? I’m hoping Kate tackles this theme in future instalments.)
There are plenty of mysteries, morally ambiguous characters and red herrings throughout Fallen. In this first instalment of a planned series (Torment is due out in September), some of the big questions are answered, but even more are raised.
Fallen is a compelling read. It starts in the claustrophobic world of the reform school, and ends with a violent celestial battle in a cemetery. But all of this seems to be merely setting the scene for a story of far broader scope.
The proof of how well Lauren Kate unravels her gothic mystery will be in future books… which I’m looking forward to reading.