EDIT: I wasn't entirely happy with my review, too messy, so I decided to rewrite it with a better overview.
This book... It didn't do it for me, plain and simple. The story tells of Lucinda Price, a girl who's unsure whether she caused the death of the last boy she liked, or not; she ends up at the Sword & Cross, a reform school, as a result and meets Daniel, an unfriendly loner, whom she seems to remember from somewhere.
Here's what I like about the book:
1. Writing flow
The writing flows naturally (though it isn't innovative and it is riddled with cliches); there a not too many awkward sentences or nonsensical paragraphs that need to be re-read to understand them.
2. Interesting Setting
The setting for the story is very well described, though unoriginal, and the descriptions of the characters are engaging and easily imagined.
Each of these points gets half a star because even though I like them, they are neither original, nor terribly amazing.
Here's where the book failed, with me (WARNING: If you don't like spoilers or negative reviews, stop reading NOW!):
1: Fallen...A title, one step beyond obvious
Fallen, Fallen...hmm, wonder what that could mean. Seen as it takes place at a reform school, maybe it could be about how the student have 'Fallen from grace' in society?
Maybe the main character falls into a deep hole and discovers something amazing?
Oh, it's a supernatural novel? Never mind, then.
2. A Reform School? Really?
Putting aside the whole: another YA-novel in a boarding school setting, I could have miss-read the first few chapters, but as far as I understood, Lucinda was never indicted, she wasn't actually convicted of murder so why would she have to go to a reform school?
If she's having difficulty remembering and she seems to see shadows everywhere, the professional opinion of a psychiatrist would have pushed for admitting her to a psych-ward for a certain period of time, rather than sending her to a place with hardened criminals that could potentially harm her mental welfare. At least in the part of the real world that this seems to take place.
3. Sword & Cross? Riiiight...
The 'Sword and Cross' doesn't sound like some school penitentiary, in fact it sounds like a high-class academy, that you'd be lucky to attend and graduate from; it's not like the school needs to try and change its reputation to attract more students with rich parents, so why the name?
Such a blatant attempt at romanticizing juvie seems insincere and...childish, for lack of a better word.
4. All Angels Gathered...wait, what?
By some freaky little coincidence, almost half the student body either are or are involved with supernatural biblical beings and what, they just happen to attend the same school? These beings are immortal and they have NOTHING better to do than hang out, together? Way to make eternity suck, seen as half of them despise each other!
5. First day, two guys
She's at the school for less than an hour and she falls for two different guys: Cam, who's friendly, open and cheery, and Daniel, who's hostile and secretive (Edward, anyone?). Oh, and he happens to have known Luce in previous lives (And her comes Damen!).
So, we have a love triangle (sigh).
6. Love Triangle, how I loathe thee!
On one side: the charming, nice guy, who just happens to represent the 'serpent of Eden' and is therefore a bad guy (way to skew the balance of nice and mean).
The other: a 'good' fallen angel who's so madly in love with Luca that he just can't help but kiss her in every lifetime, ending in her death (way to show sacrifice) and otherwise treats her like crap 'because he wuvs her!'.
Here's the reason I hate love triangles: A lot of people claim that they are there to represent a protagonist who has to choose between two sides of themselves, which would make sense, except most people try to reconcile their own differences within, rather than make a metaphorical choice in the shape of 'true love'.
Usually, I just see a whiny spoiled brat, who doesn't have the balls to make the choice and the decency to let the other off the hook once he/she has made it, not to mention that it's apparently impossible for them to say 'out of two evils, I'd rather be single and independent'.
I never feel too sorry for the two love interests, though, seen as they both constantly fight over someone who's willing to expose them to such torture.
No one EVER moves on in the fictional world!
7. Male Cardboard Cutout (Otherwise known as Lead)
You know, it really speaks to the depth of a character when the author needs to slab on a coat of supernatural paint to make him even remotely interesting.
But that's what happened to Daniel; his bad qualities: he treats Luce like a little child who doesn't know anything (what a turn on!) but he doesn't want to explain things to her and she's okay with that, he constantly kiss her because 'the power of boner is stronger!' despite it killing her, (he's so unselfish!) but apparently, that's a good thing...or something.
'Good' qualities: He really loves her, he's good-looking and he's an angel...uh...
I'm not even sure there's enough characteristics here to make half a person, let alone a male lead! And here's the biggest mistake: Daniel just happens to be perfect, perfect looks, perfect athletic abilities, smart, and wings (OMGOSH!).
When will these authors learn that there's nothing more boring than a perfect male lead? IT'S.NOT.REAL! And, to think about it, it kinda objectifies men...huh.
If you ever met Daniel in real life you'd be forced to eventually dump him because you'd realize that he'd be wrong, he'd be boring.
8. Lore...what little there is
So Daniel and Lucinda can't kiss, because she'd die...except in some lifetimes they can, except it's never happened before, except it has, except everything is different this time, except she'll still die if they explain to her, except if they explain slowly, except they barely explain at all! ARGH, I'm getting an aneurism from trying to sort this out!
There's a lot of rules set up but almost no explanation and the story ends up breaking them and breaking its own lore in a frustrating merry-go-round of unanswered questions.
9. Death doesn't really matter
The first boy she likes burns to death in front of her eyes...this should affect her but she's more concerned about the shadows she's been seeing since she was little.
The boy who helps save her from the library fire falls and breaks his neck...this should hurt her, deeply, but she's happily sipping drinks with her friends and wondering about Daniel bringing her flowers. Todd's death is conveniently used to propel her relationship with Daniel forward, instead, hurray!
Her best friend gets her throat slashed in front of Luce but as soon as Daniel shows up, she's more absorbed about how beautiful he is, rather than him being too late to save Penn.
10. Lucinda...Where do I start?
Lucinda is the most pathetic, whimpering, simpering, wishy-washy, boring protagonist I have ever read. I'm serious. I didn't care two bits about her, honestly, I just wanted her to stop whining, already.
You see, Lucinda never actually does anything, she just sort of stands around, letting things happen to her and waits to be rescued by (wonder of wonders) Daniel. She doesn't even have enough backbone to tell Cam off, going as far as letting him kiss her, even though she's with Daniel, already.
She barely has any opinions not concerning Daniel and she's constantly thinking about how unfair the whole world is to her. And while Daniel treats her like crap she turns around and dishes it on to Cam.
The entire first half of the book is all about her obsessing over Daniel, and after the first few chapters, it gets old.
She's supposedly very smart, but not smart enough not to get into a car with a stranger...FAIL!FAIL!FAIL! Red warning bells should have gone off all over the place when Cam wanted her to drive somewhere to meet him, what the HELL did her parents TEACH her???
Cam would have eventually come back to school and she could have confronted him THEN! That one, really just made me want to throw up (to be fair, I'm pregnant so that might have influenced it, a little).
And then, when she finally gets Daniel, she's all over him, all her thoughts are about him, all her opinions, all her fears, everything, everything, everything! It's pathetic how she's constantly crying 'I can't leave you!', 'I won't let you go!', 'I love you!' ALL.THE.TIME! Ugh.
11. Trust your instincts...please.
Daniel tells Luce to trust her instincts because they're probably right...these are the instincts that makes her feel safe with Cam, even though he's the bad guy, and makes her follow Sophia, even though she kills Penn and wants to kill Lucinda too...those instincts?
You know what, Luce? In real life, you'd be dead, already, so...yeah...go ahead.
12. Book Ending.
Thank God! But the ending? Nothing is wrapped up, everything is left open, begging people to read the sequel. Even the Lord of the Rings had some loose ends tied up in the end of every book but this one is almost a set-up, readying for the next one, while answering almost NOTHING.
This is barely a proper work to sell to people, it's simply the first 250 pieces of a 1000 piece puzzle but you have to pay more to get the rest. Luckily, enough is showing to let me know that I won't care for the final product.
I recommend this book to people who liked Twilight and Evermore and have a thing for weak heroines but that's about it.