Fallen: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – Jan 31 2012
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“A complex, gripping and deadly serious novel that reflects anew Slaughter’s abundant talent.”—The Washington Post
“An amazing effort . . . This is [Karin] Slaughter’s best book to date, and readers unfamiliar with her work will find this one a perfect place to begin.”—Associated Press
“An absolute master . . . Slaughter creates some wonderfully complex and mature female characters, a distinctive achievement in the world of thrillers.”—Chicago Tribune
“Slaughter has always known how to pace the suspense in her stellar crime novels, but she really outdoes herself here. . . . [She] reveals the heart and soul of her characters within a highly choreographed, unrelentingly suspenseful plot.”—Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
Karin Slaughter is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of numerous thrillers, including Cop Town, Unseen, Criminal, Fallen, Broken, Undone, Fractured, Beyond Reach, Triptych, Faithless, and the e-original short stories “Snatched” and “Busted.” She is a native of Georgia.
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Top Customer Reviews
Will Trent, Faith's old partner in the GBI, is handling the investigation; there is a bit of a conflict of interest at work here: Amanda Wagner, the deputy director and his boss, had been the BFF [before the term existed] of Evelyn Mitchell, Faith's mother, a 63-year-old widow and a cop for nearly forty years, who had been implicated in a sting operation that had been headed by Will, to weed out dirty cops, part of the upshot of which was her forced retirement.
Will has a complex relationship with Sara Linton, formerly a county coroner and now a pediatric attending physician in the emergency department of a local Atlanta hospital. Widow of the county's former police chief, at 5'11', with red hair, Sara is a striking woman.Read more ›
I've said it before in my reviews that I've never liked Sara Linton, but Slaughter takes her character through some major development in this book, as she does Will Trent. Giving them both a much needed update in their current situations and taking them forward in a direction that I amazingly am very satisfied with. An all around top-notch thriller with great character development for the series as a whole.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Again, we have another *Twilight* clone, but this book makes *Twilight* look like the Great American Novel. Reading this book is like entering a kind of prison where you are forced to hear every inane thought of the most shallow, dimmest girl in the world. Actually, it's not *like* that. It IS that. Luce, our heroine, has been sent to a reform school because a boy, like, spontaneously combusted at her fancy boarding school, and she was the only witness, so the police think she was somehow involved. *Fallen* follows Luce's year at this reform school, wherein she carefully examines the cuteness and dateability factor of every boy she encounters. Of course there's a *dark, tortured* guy who immediately attracts her attention. He flips her off when he catches her looking at him, so naturally she instantly falls for him. In fact, she becomes creepily stalkerish, using her one sort-of friend to steal his school file so she can learn more about him.
The pacing is abominable. We get more than 300 pages of nothing but "OMG he's cute, does he like me? Why doesn't he like me? Oh there's another cute boy! Is he cuter than Daniel? I don't know! Oh, what shall I do? Oh no, another boy caught on fire!" We are mired in boy-crazy teenage-girl minutiae and Luce's increasingly bad decisions. Then the final 30 or so pages are filled with many WHAT THE WHAT moments, hugely telegraphed plot points, and jam-packed with mysteries with no explanations only as an excuse to continue this drivel through not one, but two more books. Oh, we do get one explanation--a total "secret villain spends three or four pages talking about his/her diabolical plan and recapping everything [nothing] that has happened in the book so far" maneuver--but we wish we hadn't.
In addition, are we supposed to swoon over Daniel because he's broody and a bad boy? Not to spoil what happens in the book (since so very little happens), but given what Daniel knows about Luce and him and the history of them together, he is exceptionally selfish, or stupid, or both.
The writing itself is laughably bad. My favorite bad line might be: "Luce could hear the squish of her own mortification as all of Sword & Cross got its viewing of the meat-loaf-coated new girl." Yes, you read that correctly: THE SQUISH OF HER OWN MORTIFICATION.
I realize this book falls under "paranormal romance," but pretty much nothing in this book is believable.
And now let me once again mimic the cover image of this book, by hiding my face in my hands. Do you hear that sound? That's the squish of my mortification.
Faith Mitchell shows that she's got the same problems as many parents. She has an infant being watched by her mother and must get home to pick up the child.
Her mother, Evelyn, a retired police commander, is watching Faith's four-month-old dauther, Emma. Faith has been through countless training exercises but when she sees a bloody handprint on her mother's door, she goes into another gear.
After Faith calls for backup, she senses that her mother is in danger and decides not to wait. She enters the home and finds one man deceased, then she confronts two others. There is a deadly encounter at this point that is most visual, as if the reader were watching the action taking place before them.
Will Trent is Faith's partner. Amanda Wagner is his boss and Evelyn's best friend. They lead the investigation and we learn that Evelyn was the commander of a narcotics division prior to her retirement. There was a situation within her unit and due to the legal implications, Evelyn took an early retirment.
The story deals with the loyalty Will and Amanda have for their friend Evelyn. The evidence seems to show that there may be a problem with Evelyn's background but her friends remain strong in their belief of her.
There is also an interesting subplot as Will and Dr. Sara Linton spend time together and form a romantic relationship. We also see Faith wanting to do everything that she can to save her mother and so she begins her own investigation.
The story moves along swiftly and with an inventive plot, knock out characters and a fascinating conclusion, this makes for an engrossing read.
Opening Sentence: Around midnight, her eyes at last took shape.
Marketing almost sold me on this book, but the book itself couldn't close the deal. With a beautiful cover, the promise of a tragic love story, a creepy, gothic boarding school setting, and fallen angels, I expected a compelling read. Unfortunately, Fallen is a disappointment.
Fallen's protagonist, Luce, is a suspected arsonist, and claims that she's constantly stalked by malevolent shadows. Her parents, at their breaking point, send her to Sword & Cross, a boarding school. Once at Sword & Cross, Luce battles the typical "new girl" problems and immediately catches the eye of two hot guys at the school. She finds herself drawn to the mysterious Daniel and is determined to find out more about him and his past.
Fallen is a flawed novel and I had to struggle to finish. Fallen was crafted in such a way as to make the story predictable and ultimately doing little to keep the reader engaged. I knew Fallen was a series so I didn't expect the overall story arc to unfold at a breakneck pace, but I did expect something to actually happen. The pacing of the story is slow with little to no action. In my opinion, a lot of the chapters that were written really didn't do much to move the plot forward.
I think the most damning aspect for me is the author's inversion of the Show vs. Tell concept. Meaning, Ms. Kate did more telling than showing me what I needed as a reader. Daniel and Luce are supposed to have this amazing connection and be hopelessly in love, yet none of this is shown to the reader. Ms. Kate didn't establish enough background about Daniel and Luce's relationship to make this a believable or particularly compelling love story. I never established an emotional connection with the characters and their plights simply didn't resonate with me. The dialog was flat and character descriptions were inconsistent. There wasn't enough worldbuilding and as a result the story suffered.
My second gripe concerns the lack of characterization. The difficulty in writing immortal/supernatural characters for a sophisticated audience is that you have to respect their reality. For an immortal character, Daniel certainly lacks imagination, maturity, skill and purpose. His brooding and skulking around didn't make me believe that he was dangerous or a bad boy for that matter. Luce came off as a creepy stalker, pathetic, naïve, weak, and at times really annoying. The narrative voices of the secondary characters aren't particularly unique. With no real character development and growth, it was hard to care about them. I'm not sure if I will invest the time to read the second book in the series, Torment, because Fallen did not grab me.
Overall, Fallen falls prey to clichés. It's all buildup with no climax, and that left me more frustrated than satisfied. Ms. Kate seems to have left key elements of the story for later installments, and a bevy of plot devices weakened the story. With little depth to the characters or plot, I fear some seasoned and savvy readers of the genre will have a hard time falling for Fallen.
She looked up into a maelstrom of shadows. A spectrum of shades of gray and deepest black. She should only be able to see as far as the ceiling overhead, but the shadows seemed somehow to extend beyond its limits. Into a strange and hidden sky. They were all tangled up in each other, and yet they were distinct.
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Wow, so with the vast difference in opinions I'm seeing in reviews of this book, I figured I'd throw my hat into the ring. I almost didn't read it, because of the negative reviews I saw, but I'm glad I did. Now there seem to be more positive than negative comments, but maybe I just misread the number of negatives the first time because I read them on my phone instead of a computer screen. Anyway, I liked FALLEN.
There were problems with this book. I'm not denying that. Most of the time Luce is searching for answers, but she really isn't figuring much out. The readers have pretty much figured out by halfway through, at least, that Daniel is a fallen angel and may well be among others of his kind at Sword and Cross. I mean, if the title wasn't a dead give away, there's the Paradise Lost references, and the whole "Los Angeles" thing. Coincidence? I think not. So, you're searching for a mystery that you already know the answer to for quite a while. Also, the first chapter let's the audience in on why Daniel might be fighting the relationship. I think that's the main problem: the audience knows WAY more than Luce, so it's easy to be exasperated by her ignorance. I left the book thinking of Luce as being a bit of a wimp compared to her hardcore angel retinue, but after some thought, I realize she braves a supernatural fire to save a friend; she hides the horrors of reform school from her parents to protect them and keep them from worrying; and she races into a cemetary of doom filled with creeptastic shadows and weird pyrotechnics of destruction to go save her boyfriend. Not bad for a human chick surrounded by supernatural beings. Luce turns out to be a pretty strong character, just not absurdly so. That's a good thing to keep in mind when you're annoyed at her for not figuring it out already. After all, she doesn't have an opening chapter or an obvious title to give her brain a hint. The fact remains that when the book reaches the falling action and these great mysteries are revealed, the audience already knows most of what is told to them. The majority of the information we want is left a mystery, to be revealed in a sequel. And that's irritating. However, there are several things keeping this book afloat.
-1) The Writing: actually quite solid. Lauren Kate really built good images of her story with her language.
-2) Romantic plot: this kept the story going. The readers may have figured out the central mystery: angels. But they'll stay to find out what happens between Luce, Daniel, and Cam. Speaking of Cam...
-3) Cam!! Thank goodness for Cam. It's not that I loved Cam as a person. The whole, 'I'm good, evil, back to being kind of good' thing was confusing, but Cam was a bit of a curveball. I didn't want Luce to end up with him, but I wanted to find out who he was and what his role was in all this. Cam is the main reason I will probably read the sequel: in lieu of the angel mystery which is obvious, the mystery of Cam is still beyond my grasp. Which is good. Cam constitutes a major redeeming factor.
-4) I'm really curious where the author is going to take this whole angel thing. Apparently there are good fallen andgels and bad fallen angels in this book, and that's new. I want to know how she's going to spin it...and what Luce's baptism or lack there of has to do with anything.
I believe I saw someone say there was nothing original about this book: that it was all recycled. I can see some parallels: Edward and Bella's whole, "We can't be together. I'll hurt you." dangerous relationship thing is in there. The reincarnation and repeated falling in love is reminiscent of EVERMORE, though, in my opinion, FALLEN does it better. However, a reform school for delinquents and crazies populated by humans and fallen angels? That, to me, seems pretty original.
Overall, I liked the story. Despite some flaws, I enjoyed it. FALLEN was pretty well written, and it kept me reading. I really wanted to find out what happens, and I still do. I guess I'll just have to wait for the sequel.
Author Kate appears to be able to write well, as there are some good moments here and there in the novel. However, these moments were outweighed for me by the clumsy dialogue and forced attempts to create a dismal, southern Gothic atmosphere. While the author tried to create a strong sense of place, the descriptions of the South and the reform school were so filled with contradictions that each setting seemed implausible. Editing was also lacking in the book, and these mistakes pulled me out of the story. Further, character development was very limited. Luce came across as mostly inept and uninspiring, even though we're told she's smart, beautiful, and worthy. The romantic connection between the main characters felt superficial at best. Luce's love for Daniel may have been fated, but I never felt why the two loved each other so desperately. The secondary characters of Gabbe, Arriane, and Cam were more interesting, but they seemed like caricatures at most.
The book's story arc was mostly predictable, and the most interesting components, like Luce's constant hallucinations of shadows, were dismissed casually once they were finally mentioned. We're told the two main characters have a damned love, but it was never explained why. Nor was it ever explained why these angels had fallen and why some were now fighting for good and others for bad. All of these things, including Luce's involvement as a catalyst for events to come, were never explained. It seemed obvious that these questions were left unanswered to set up things for the forthcoming sequels (including Torment), but I feel that readers could still anxiously await the next installment while understanding why it's all linked and all so important.
Combined, these concerns made this book a very unsatisfying read for me, but I'm glad that others enjoyed it so much. In the three coming books, I hope that Kate better develops the connection between characters and that she provides more background about Daniel's and Luce's relationship.