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Lucinda "Luce" Price has been sent to reform school in the South, the result of somewhat murky circumstances involving a dead boyfriend. Though Luce cannot recall how the fire started, or how she escaped and Trevor did not, she feels at fault, and the courts agree. She is shipped off to Sword & Cross, where we learn about the Shadows that seem to haunt her daily; they were present the night Trevor died, and their appearance unnerves her.

And then we meet Daniel Grigori: brooding, dark and sexy --- and mysterious enough to drive Luce crazy if she wasn’t already. She seems to feel connected to him, as if she knows him from someplace, but Daniel only resists her attempts to get to know him better. From time to time, he’s even downright rude to her.

While Daniel might appear to be disinterested in Luce, Cam, another reform school student at Sword & Cross, is laying it on thick with Luce, wooing her with his charm and good looks. Luce wants to like Cam, but she can’t get Daniel out of her mind.

Luce needs to learn more about Daniel. She and her friend, good-girl Penny, start by digging around the school library to find any information on the Grigori family. Then the Shadows show up, and another classmate dies in a fire. Again, Luce escapes, and this time she thinks she knows how. She remembers Daniel and wings. Those two things have nothing to do with one another, right? But Luce has a pretty good guess as to why Daniel has wings, and her instinct proves right. In one of the few moments when he lets his guard down, revealing a softer side that had remained hidden from Luce, he shows his wings. Luce learns that Daniel is a fallen angel.

It’s when Daniel kisses Luce, however, that we start to understand a bit more of what is going on, all because Luce doesn’t die. Why would she die, you might be asking? Well, without giving too much away, Luce and Daniel have been in love for centuries, but because their love is eternally damned, each time they kiss, Luce is fated to die. She is then reincarnated only to repeat the cycle.  Every 17 years, Luce meets Daniel, they kiss, and she doesn’t make it to 18.

Not this time, though. A loophole in how she was raised in this incarnation saves her life. That’s not to say there aren’t others who would like to see her dead.  

While the reader tends to feel a few steps ahead of Luce throughout the book, it’s easy to understand why she has trouble catching on. It’s not every day that you discover you’ve been eternally in love with a fallen angel, and oh yeah, you usually die at 17. It’s the mystery that keeps the book moving. I, along with Luce, wanted to know why Daniel went from hot to cold, and why his history is so shrouded in obscurity. I also wanted to see a bit more of the romance between the two, so I could better understand the pain of losing each other over and over again. Still, there is something very interesting about being fated to love someone and not knowing why. It’s great food for thought. Overall, FALLEN provides an intriguing start to an exciting new series.

Reviewed by Jordana Frankel on July 8, 2015

by Lauren Kate

  • Publication Date: June 11, 2013
  • Genres: Romance, Supernatural
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press
  • ISBN-10: 0385376111
  • ISBN-13: 9780385376112