When I first started this series I did struggle through it a bit, not because of writing or story, but because I quickly recognized the YA Paranormal series pattern, which unfortunately can make the general plot (although not necessarily the details) somewhat predictable. They all seem to follow the same formula. In book one, the human and the paranormal meet and are drawn inexplicably to each other, despite the fact that a romance between the two is forbidden. Despite the obstacles, they fall in love and must begin to face the consequences of their love. In book two, forces greater than the lovers test their relationship and the lovers are torn apart. Enter the friend, who our heroine (for some reason its always the girl) develops feelings for in the absence of the hero. Book three finds the lovers back together, gearing up for the inevitable epic battle that is coming. Our heroine must reconcile her feelings and choose once and for all between the hero and the friend, which of course results in a lot of testosterone filled pissing contests and endless amounts of guilt felt by our heroine.
Book four of course is the epic conclusion and often the book that requires the biggest jump into the paranormal "fantasy," as things happen that often lead me to tilt my head to the side and say "Hang on...that's not really possible." Case-in-point example: Edward Cullen from Twilight, a dead vampire, somehow being able to father live offspring. These events generally make no logical sense and require one to "turn off" that part of your brain. Nevertheless, the series always ends the same way - the star-crossed lovers live happily ever after, which generally makes me very happy. I find myself in somewhat of a paranormal romance rut, feeling like I have read the same story over and over, which is why I think I initially struggled with the series. However, the Fallen series does take some deviations from the standard formula and I was able to get over my initial issues and in the end enjoy the series. If you are a fan of the genre, I highly recommend picking this one up.
Warning: Review contains some spoilers, so proceed with caution!!
Fallen is the first in the series of four books that tell the story of Lucinda "Luce" Price. Luce finds herself at Sword & Cross, a boarding school for delinquents, after a fellow classmate at her previous school dies in a mysterious way. Luce, being the only other person present, can't remember what happened and is riddled with guilt at the thought of being the cause of the death. When she arrives at Sword & Cross, Luce meets Daniel Grigori and feels an instant connection to him, like they have met before. She is drawn to him in a way that she does not fully understand, but Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce. One thing is for sure, Daniel is not like other boys and Luce is determined to figure out his secret. Luce is distracted from her obsession of Daniel by Cameron "Cam" Briel, another mysterious bad boy, who is equally determined to have Luce for himself. Luce feels a connection with Cam, but knows that it is no where near the pull she feels towards Daniel. As Luce unravels more and more of the mystery surrounding Daniel, she discovers that he is a Fallen Angel and part of an epic struggle between Heaven and Hell, a conflict that she somehow is destined to play a part in.
Fallen certainly hooked me into the series. The story is very well written and the characters are interesting and fun. My only real issue with the story was that it took too long for Daniel and Luce to finally "get together" and I wished they had had more time together before the resulting consequences of their relationship caught up with them. Daniel was somewhat of frustrating character for me in this book. He is so closed off, and although I know he is doing it to protect Luce, it is clear that this is only going to push Luce away. The relationship was a little to hot and cold, hot and cold for me at times. Of course, just when I was really getting into the story and Daniel and Luce's relationship seemed like it was actually going to go somewhere, the book ended, making me extremely glad that the next book was out and I didn't have to wait. Or not...
In Torment, Luce finds herself at Shoreline, a school for Nephilim (offspring of fallen angels and humans), alone and without Daniel. Daniel has sent her to Shoreline for her protection while he tracks down the Outcasts, just one of the many groups after Luce. At Shoreline, Luce learns more about the Shadows (a.k.a. Announcers) and how to manipulate them, allowing her glimpses into her past lives. However the more she learns the more she realizes Daniel is withholding from her. Luce becomes increasingly frustrated with Daniel and begins to question everything about their relationship. Luce knows that she loves Daniel. He is her true love, but she finds it harder and harder to trust Daniel. Adding to the confusion is the feelings Luce develops for her friend, Miles, a Nephilim she meets at Shoreline. He makes her feel things she wishes she could have with Daniel - with him, love would be easy. Luce is more determined than ever to figure out her past and get the answers that have so long been denied to her. Something is building - the epic clash is coming. Luce knows her time is running out and she is desperate for answers, even it if means leaving Daniel behind.
Torment is aptly named...it was a complete torment and my least favorite of the series. Throughout the book, Daniel and Luce's relationship swings from blinding passion to dissolving into yet another argument I totally felt for Luce in this book and was just as frustrated with Daniel and his closed off ways. It all felt very condescending at times - Daniel "protecting" Luce by keeping her in the dark and then surprised when she pushed the boundaries he set. At times it was hard to keep in mind that maybe there was a reason for his evasiveness. Of course, this "trouble in paradise" leads to the inevitable love triangle (or really rectangle in this case) as our heroine develops feelings for someone who is clearly the easier choice. This becomes more and more frustrating to me the more series I read like this and is becoming somewhat of a pet peeve.
If their love is so epic, why do we need the third wheel? I suppose it introduces a new level of drama to the story - like will they really end up together or not? - but all it really does is result in heartbreak for the "Paris" character (you know...from Shakespeare...the one who is supposed to take the place of Romeo, but doesn't really matter in the long run). I suppose it revs up the angst factor, which let's face it, is one of the things that I love about reading this genre, but sometimes I find myself saying enough is enough. Isn't there enough epic things going on? Do we really need this too? Just for once, can't we just be certain that the lovers will end up together...I mean they always do in the end. Why must we suffer through all this?? I mean don't get me wrong, I like Miles. I would love to see him end up with a sweet girl, but he is never going to compare with Daniel. Why even bother? Paris could never compete with Romeo, Jacob had no chance against Edward, who would chose Scott over Patch? The whole point of an epic love story is that it is EPIC - that nothing can eclipse the love of the star-crossed lovers. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous and frankly ticks me off a bit. After finishing book two, I felt fairly certain that this series was going to follow the standard formula and was considering tabling the series. However, my friend Erlynn (Books Hug Back!), who had already read the series, encouraged me to keep going and I am glad that she did.
In Passion, Luce uses the Announcers to travel back in time to witness her past lives and deaths, hoping to understand the curse that has haunted her and Daniel across millennium. Luce is desperate to know that the love she and Daniel shares is more than just a result of the curse and hopes to find a way to end the curse and stay with Daniel in her current life. Luce receives help from an unlikely source throughout her journey, but discovers that not everyone is who they say that they are. Just as Luce realizes this, she is poised to make a decision that could change everything. The consequences of her decision will be the catalyst for the beginning of the epic clash between Heaven and Hell. Meanwhile, Daniel chases through the past after Luce, fearful that her actions will alter the future. Always arriving a minute too late, Daniel is forced to look at the past he shares with Luce and finds some unexpected lessons to be learned. He discovers that Luce may not be the one responsible for creating the loophole that could potentially spare the Lucinda from this life - his Lucinda - from the fate that befell all of her past reincarnations. However just as Daniel gets Luce back, an even greater event looms on the horizon that not only threatens Daniel and Luce, but the fate of everyone.
Passion redeemed this whole series for me and it was my favorite by far out of the entire series. For once, it did not follow the stereotypical format! I loved this book and loved traveling through time with Luce as she discovered over and over again through her past lives and deaths the truth of her and Daniel's love. I thought that I was going to have to sit through the torture of the "third wheel" resolution, but Miles played a very small part in this book. The realizations that Luce experiences in this book so cement Daniel and Luce as soul mates that it leaves no question that they belong to one another and virtually eliminates the need to pursue the "love interest" story lines any further. This naturally made me a very happy camper and cemented me as a fan of Team Daniel (and Luce too).
Fallen In Love tells the love stories of four couples from the Fallen series and how their love stories intersect on Valentine's Day in medieval Europe. This is a nice little diversion from the series and I enjoyed seeing the beginning of what I hope will be a happy ending for some (Miles and Shelby), while learning about the tragic loves experienced by some of the fallen angels (Cam, Roland, and Arriane). It ends of course with the love story experienced by Luce and Daniel in that lifetime - the only lifetime where they are able to spend Valentine's Day together. This novella doesn't really add anything to the overall story of the series, but it does offer some insights into the angels and glimpses of their lives after the fall. If you are a fan of the books you will probably enjoy this.
The series concludes with Rapture. Luce has returned from her journey through her past lives more convinced than ever that Daniel is her soul mate and with a greater understanding of who she is and the curse. Just as the two lovers are finally reunited, Luce and Daniel find themselves facing a possibly longer separation. Lucifer has traveled back in time to the original Falling and devised a plan to erase not only the history of Luce and Daniel, but the history of the world since the time of the Fall. As Luce and Daniel fly across the world searching for 3 relics that will reveal the location of where the angels fell to Earth, they will find allies in unexpected places and lose those close to them along the way. At the conclusion of their quest, Luce finally uncovers that last part of her past and learns her true identity and the truth behind the curse. The curse has never been about Daniel. It has always been about her and when Heaven calls upon Luce and Daniel to make their final decision between Heaven and Hell, their choice will be the most important of their lives.
Overall I was happy with how the series ended, but I was left wanting just a little bit. I never got a sense of urgency or suspense while Luce, Daniel, and the Angels searched for the relics. With a nine day time limit, I expected to feel more suspense, but I never found myself questioning whether or not they would make it because it was plainly obvious that they would! This hampered the excitement factor. This book was somewhat predictable and it was fairly easy to figure out where it was going and what the "twist" would be. But Daniel and Luce do get their happy ending and join my list of favorite star-crossed lovers, so I find myself not terribly disappointed! This series is well worth the read.