Monday, April 11, 2011
Fallen Angels: The New Vampires
I had a tough time getting through Lauren Kate's first story, Fallen. It was a long book that wasted hundreds of pages being vague and didn't get to the point until the last 50 pages. The premise was good, but the execution was too slow. Therefore, I had great hopes that once the secret from Book One was out (Daniel was a fallen angel and Luce is his only love, but they were cursed and every time their love is realized, Luce dies and the cycle begins again), the story could progress a little faster. I was right, and the sequel, Torment, is an even better book than its big sister.
After the story of Daniel and Luce's history comes out, and the curse seems to be broken (usually the first kiss leads to Luce's smiting), they have to figure out what comes next. Unfortunately, there are a lot of creepers out there who don't want them to be together- namely the Outcasts. The Outcasts are fallen angels who never chose a side and found themselves cast out of both Heaven and Hell. For their betrayal, they were all blinded, but that only succeeded in making them creepier and more deadly. Now they are hunting Luce, and Daniel must go to great lengths to protect her. He makes a truce with Cam, the evil fallen angel (demon) who vied for Luce's attention. Together they decide to put her in a special school, Shoreline, to protect and shield her while they hunt the Outcasts.
Shoreline turns out to be educational on many levels for Luce. First, she realizes the school is populated by Nephilim, the children of angels and mortals who are left in a weird state of limbo that leaves them with diluted power and no place in either the angel or the mortal world. The school is disguised as a legitimate school filled with mortal students, but all the Nephilim attend a special "honors" program which is really training for how to brave the world at large. It is run by an angel and a demon who teach them a new curriculum once Luce arrives.
They begin to teach Luce, along with her friends Miles and Shelby and the rest of the class, about the Announcers. The Announcers are the same shadows Luce has seen all her life. They are shadows that allow the viewer to see glimpses of their past, although they don't always show what the viewer wants to see. As soon as Luce realizes what the Announcers can do, she begins investigating her former lives, with and without Daniel. She has been so consumed by Daniel's love that she never realized her love for him not only ended her past lives, it also ruined the lives of her past families. As she explores the people her former selves left behind, she sees the true costs of the curse that ends her life every time she finds her true love: the family who lose her.
With the pain of her families in her heart, and Daniel's refusal to tell her why she was banished to Shoreline and what is after her, Luce sets off on a dangerous and headstrong path. After putting herself in danger, the disappearance of a friend and almost drowning of another friend makes her realize there is more to the threat than she realized. Will the continued secrets and the weight of the curse be too much for Luce? Will she be able to get beyond everything in order to continue to love Daniel? Or will the kindness of another boy lead her from her destiny?
This was a vast improvement over the first book. While this installation still leaves much to the imagination and does not give so much away that you won't buy the third book, it doesn't leave the reader confused the entire time either. If you have read the first book, there is enough background knowledge already established to keep the reader intrigued yet informed. The new characters are really great additions to the story, and the old favorites from Luce and Daniel's previous school make appearances throughout the story. This was definitely a great follow-up to a mediocre first story that left me excited for the next book.
Like Fallen, the language is average, but the story requires a little staying power from a reader. I probably wouldn't recommend this series to a struggling reader, based on the length and will power needed to complete it. Once the story starts to progress, though, there is a lot to talk about and sink your teeth into. Don't give up on this series before you read Torment. You will be missing out if you don't keep with it!