Introduction

For a book as boring as Fallen was, it was amazing how popular it got in so little time. I suppose that since people were on some kind of Twilight deprivation, they will willing to take what they got. And since Kate was giving them a bland heroine and a supposedly dark hero who passionately loved her for no real reason whatsoever, they were willing to go along with it.

Kate, still being either a pragmatist or twihard decided to follow the general pattern of New Moon and have Daniel vanish for a while. After all, it worked so well in the past, didn’t it?

I wasn’t going to pick this book up as soon as I did, but since I got some attention for my general opinion, I decided to review the next one quicker.

After all, there is nothing that gives me more happiness than crushing the fantasies of teenage girls.

Cover Impressions

I have no idea what this is.

Seriously, this is just the girl from the first cover looking like she’s trying to hug herself provocatively and doing a bad job of it. This has no bearing on the plot, and if it wasn’t so bizarre, I’d probably forget about it within a few seconds. It offers nothing, means nothing, and once again, as far as I’m concerned, she’s just another girl in a prom dress trying to look pretty but offering no insight as to what the book is actually about.

Now, I have a theory. The reason for this lack of anything in the covers is simply because, as the books have no plot, there’s nothing to really place there. So they go with a girl in a prom dress because it looks pretty.

The background isn’t too bad looking, with the beach and the water. That’s kind of atmospheric, but once again, it offers nothing of what the plot is about. This beach doesn’t appear in the book, and the atmosphere, dark and stormy, really isn’t right for the setting.

The phrase at the back of the book “How many lives do you need to live to find someone worth dying for” is pointless as far as the plot is concerned and melodramatic. Also, it doesn’t really make any sense. Being that I, who does not have and never has had a ‘special someone’, have parents, siblings, friends, and a niece and nephew, I’m pretty sure that, unless your family life stinks, you only need to live once.

Plot

From Amazon:

Hell on earth.

That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel.
It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts—immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something—something dangerous.
What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?

The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series . . . where love never dies.

My version:

I have one word to say to this book: Explain.

We start out with Daniel and Cam in a boat disposing of the body of a fisherman. Seriously. After getting a pointless description of Daniel’s eyes, which I really didn’t care about, and how much he pines for his true love, and how it’s just him, Cam, and the dead guy. We are reminded that as Luce wasn’t baptized, she’s not going to reincarnate for some reason or other that isn’t explained, and Daniel states that the only reason that he’s still hanging around Cam is because he wants to talk to him about Luce.

Don’t get interested. Despite the fact that Cam was the obvious romantic false lead in the last book, Kate has changed her mind, and now he’s not interested in her.

They toss the body into the water like it’s nothing, and Cam and Daniel get showcased for their differences. Cam feels no remorse. Daniel does. Grant it, this is better than many male characters that I’ve seen in this review series. (Patch, Cas, I’m looking at you.)

They have some lovely, mysterious dialog that isn’t very easy to understand but basically amounts to the fact that Cam and Daniel are, for some reason that is supposed an angelic tradition that sounds really stupid, going to have an eighteen day truce. Why eighteen days? According to Kate it’s because

In Heaven, eighteen was the luckiest, most divine number: a life affirming tally of the two sevens: the archangels and the cardinal virtues) balanced with the warning of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.

What about the five wounds of Christ, the five joys of Mary, the seven days of Creation, and three: the number of the Holy Trinity? I’d go for forty days and forty nights or something like that, since that kind of sticks out in the Bible, but hey, I’m not the Suethor.

The reason is really because she just came up with that number for some odd reason as the amount of time that her little star-crossed lovers should be apart.

Moving on, Cam and Daniel discuss terms, something call the starshot (I wonder if Rainbow Brite is going to come looking for it) is mentioned as a deadly weapon against angels, then the topic goes back to Luce and how Daniel just can’t live without her. Apparently, the truce means that she’s going to go to some school, neither Daniel nor Cam can see her, and she’s going to have to learn a lot.

In eighteen days.

Also, it’s mentioned that they killed the wrong guy, that Daniel’s not telling Luce something, and there’s a group called the Outcasts who seem to want something with Luce, but that pales in comparison to the fact that Daniel and Luce are going to be kept apart for eighteen whole stinking days.

That’s a little more than two weeks, Kate.

Oh, they keep a day count on this thing. It’s nauseating.

The narrative then goes to Luce, who is, as to be expected, thinking about how torturous it’s been to be without Daniel for a good couple days. She’s on a plane, feeling sorry for herself and going to California. We get a infodump about what happened in the last book, some puny human dude flirts with Luce for no reason other than for her to compare him with Daniel and be shot down and Penn’s death gets jammed in so we know that she feels kind of bad about that.

Then she sees Daniel, and all her thoughts go out the window and she runs into his arms and the two start talking in a stilted kind of way about how wonderful the other is, and then Daniel drives Luce off in his SUV that is in no way supposed to remind me of Edward Cullen’s Volvo and they drive off towards the beach. There’s a conversation about one of her incarnations that lived there during the gold rush, and then Daniel drops the bomb that, horror of horrors, he’s not going to see her for a little less than three weeks. Luce throws a fit.

Then he tells her that she’s going to have to go to another school, and Luce whines for a while. Then they agree not to talk about it, and they don’t, unlike every other couple where I’ve seen someone say this. We get some flying around once their at the beach, and Luce and Daniel talk about how wonderful they are and how Daniel Fell for her, and it’s all very disgusting.

Then Daniel leaves.

She whines and gives lines about how she

thought true love would be easy.

Protip: The phrase ‘true love’ will get derisive snorts out of anyone who isn’t a teenage girl. This is how, once the next fad hits the bookstores, you sink into the obscurity of The Magickers.

And if you know what I’m talking about, I’m very, very sorry.

At Shoreline, the name of the school, Luce meets her new roommate, Shelby, who is, at the present, gloriously unimpressed by Luce though she hints that Luce is famous for some reason.

The next day, Luce (I keep typing Lice) comes down to breakfast, meets a guy named Miles who is nice, and obviously going to be the tail end of the new love triangle. She also finds, from a pair of ditzy girls who aren’t really worthy of names, that she and her romance with Daniel are famous for some reason.

So now Luce is Harry Potter. But if she’s a girl…doesn’t that make her…

Rose. Potter.1

So, it’s explained to Luce that she’s going to go into the Super Special Awesome class for people who are…guess what? Nephilim! We haven’t seen enough of them lately, have we? That means that she’s at the top of the social food chain there, not that she ever socializes with the normal people. There’s some sneering at a guy who’s really smart but isn’t special enough to meet the requirements.

That makes me think that it would be a whole lot easier to avoid some kind of lawsuit or something if you made the class for people who supposedly need remedial training, but that wouldn’t made Luce look special enough.

The class is held in the afternoons after normal classes, and it is taught by a pair of lovers who happen to be an angel and a demon. Joy.

There are introductions, and Shelby is proven to be one of the Nephilim. In class, instead of doing much for the first part, they all talk about the special powers that they have. Miles is revealed to come from a pretty powerful family, but he is supposed to have lame powers that are not specified. Obviously, they will come in handy later. Shelby, can help people glimpse past lives. Luce is interested.

Once again, it’s mentioned that Luce is famous, but everyone seems to be avoiding what she’s famous for. Explain. Kate seems to think that she’s being interesting and elusive, but honestly, I just think that she’s being obnoxious. After introductions we have an actual class where we find that the Announcers from the last book are going to be prominent again. They seem to be able to record a second of time, meaning that there are a lot of them. Now, I’d like you to note the time limit. Kate won’t.

The demon professor decides that he wants to show them what he means by recording time, summons an Announcer, and does something to the thing that causes it to show the exact instant that Sodom (or Gomorrah) blew up. He gives some moralization about how evil this was that I’m not sure is showing just how good of a demon he is or just how clueless that Kate is as to why demons rebelled against God. But at least mention God as existing. Maybe she’s reacting to some of her critics or done a little bit of research. I’m not sure.

The angel professor (who is a girl, so we can keep with gender stereotypes) tells him to stop preaching and the lesson ends. Luce feels all creeped out and such, and then realizes that if the Announcers could see things from the past, then they must have scenes from her past lives. Because everything is about her.

She doesn’t really act on this for a while, but sits around, and feels sorry for herself for having to be away from Daniel and having a roommate who doesn’t think that she’s the most wonderful thing ever. She also suddenly remembers that she has parents who apparently are unaware that she has decided to leave the school they sent her to and sends them a letter than any parent worth their salt would know was hiding something.

After the class, everyone starts talking about how there’s going to be a big party out in the woods, and how Luce should go. It’s apparently being hosted by Roland, a guy from the last book who was said to be Daniel’s best friend even though he’d decided to be a demon, but never actually had any speaking lines. (He has about one here.) This party is supposed to be a big deal and everyone is going. Naturally, Daniel shows up once Luce toddles off away from the crowd. They are boring for a while and do nothing but gush about how wonderful the other one is, but then Luce gets whiny about how she didn’t want to be there, and Daniel says she has to, and they get made and leave. Luce sulks in her room, and Shelby is gloriously unimpressed by her emoness.

The next day, Luce gets a letter that is obviously not from Daniel that wants her to meet him in town, even though he’s told her not to leave the school. Luce, being Luce, toddles off to find him. Only to get attacked by a female Outcast. Who are all albino. Yay! We haven’t had an evil albino since…Clare! Have you noticed that I don’t like this stereotype yet? Before the Outcast can end my misery by shooting Luce with a bow and arrow, presumably a starshot, Cam appears out of nowhere and saves her by killing the chick. Luce get mad at him for attempting to kiss rape sacrifice seduce do something keep her from her One True Love last book, but Cam doesn’t care. He flirts with her a little in an uninterested kind of way and tells her to go back to school since she is suddenly a target. Then he takes her back. He also mentions that Shelby was at some point dating Daniel. So, she’s just jealous. Because no one could really dislike Luce for the whiny, useless, emo that she is.

You can see how effective this ‘keep away from Luce’ thing is.

The next day, completely ignoring the warnings of Cam and Daniel and the attempt on her life, Luce goes with the class in a luxury boat for some reason or other, and then one of the fangirls that she met from earlier who happens to look like her falls into the water. Luce suddenly shows some actual gumption and jumps in after her, feeling something pulling the girl in. She’s rescued by the Demon Instructor, who tells her not to mention the pulling thing to anyone, who is now looking at her as a hero. This isn’t going to be mentioned again, including the fact that the Demon Instructor might be…evil. Who’d have thought?

Class continues, and instead of teaching the students anything useful with their powers,2 they decide to teach them how to summon up Announcers. Why? So that Luce can of course!

Later, Luce decides to sneak into the woods around the place, and summon an Announcer. She summons it, and sees a scene in a room where an older woman in a retirement home has pictures of Luce and Daniel in black and white. Luce doesn’t get it, but wants to know about it, so she gets Shelby, who is suddenly Luce’s tentative friend with little development, and Miles to go with her to investigate.

They sneak go off to another city, still completely forgetting about the whole thing about the freaky albinos who are after Luce. They use a car from Shelby’s ex, who is…albino. I wonder if this is going to turn out to be important derp derp?

Once they get to the retirement home that she saw, they manage to find the house and peek through the window to look at it. Then Luce realizes for the first time that this is one of her past lives’ parents, hence the picture of her. She mentions that she always assumed that her parents reincarnated with her, which is really, really stupid since if she dies and is reborn the very instant that she dies, it would be rather hard for her parents to age in time to have her.

They go home. Then, because she doesn’t like people staring at her because she so special, and her fangirl squeeing because they look similar, Luce dyes her hair blonde. This is treated like a seriously big deal. I mean, everyone mentions it. I guess none of Luce’s prior incarnations, even in places where people didn’t usually have black hair, never ever, ever had a different color.

During another party that night, where Luce is wearing a hat for some reason, she meets Daniel. They go off, fly around for a while, have an incredibly boring conversation about how much they love each other, and finally Luce’s hat falls off, showing off her new hair. Daniel pitches a fit. Luce says that it’s her hair and if she wants to dye it, she can. I can’t believe that I agree with the little snot.

Daniel gets really huffy, and eventually leaves, and Luce stomps off to feel sorry for herself. This happens a few other times within the novels, usually with the same results. Personally, I get the feeling that it’s a sign that the attraction is purely physical.

Continuing to break her own continuity, Luce decides to summon another Announcer and this time gets an image of herself and Daniel at a beach and Luce about to spontaneously combust that lasts longer than a second. It’s not badly written, though Daniel’s easy to read emotions make past!Luce look pretty stupid for not noticing that he looks like someone’s about his kill puppy for the fifth time since he’s been in a stable time loop. Luce decides to attempt to reach through the Announcer and save herself. Which, given that she managed to combust surrounded by water, doesn’t sound like it’s going to do much other than wreak havoc on the time space continuum.

She doesn’t go through, but the experience makes Miles decide that he wants to raid the teacher’s longue and find a book on Announcers.

This leads to a very cliché scene, where nothing happens, some more discussion about Shelby’s past with Daniel, which amounted to nothing, and getting a badly done infodump. But it suddenly resolves all of Shelby’s Scary Sue tendency’s. So, now Shelby is Luce’s new sycophant. Like all converted Scary Sues, she maintain some sarcasm, but will usually be pretty servile to the Sue.

So the next day they summon another Announcer, and, because all Announcers around this school seem to be intimately connected with Luce, it shows her a scene of an unhappy looking woman in Vegas. She looks like an older version of Luce, which Luce marvels at, and goes through the Announcer to meet. While the woman, whose name is Vera, is dealing cards, Luce manages to touch her fingers (which I’m pretty sure is as illegal as their actually being in one of those casinos) and have a flashback that reveals that Vera is in fact Luce’s older sister from a past life, and that she had watched Past!Luce combust one evening while iceskating.

Also, it’s hinted that Past!Luce was pretty much the only thing that Vera really loved in her life and was keeping her together as a person. It’s actually kind of sad. Vera recognizes her, freaks out, and out of absolutely nowhere, Deus Ex Arianne3 shows up and saves them.

Bye, Vera! It was nice meeting you! Your character looked very interesting, and I’m sorry that we’re not going to see you or ever have you mentioned again! Have fun with the psychiatric treatment that you’re going to need after seeing your dead little sister and watching her vanish with no explanation!

We have a stupid scene where we find out exactly what Luce has for dinner at IHOP so we know that she eats low fat and a ‘history’ lesson about angels and demons that tells nothing more than anyone with a casual acquaintance with Judeo-Christian beliefs would not know. Oh, and Paradise Lost is treated as if it was completely Biblical, rather than very well written poem written by a man with his own view of things that is certainly not the only explanation. Oh, and, fun fact, Kate admits through Luce that she’s only read the cliff’s notes.

Here’s an expert, people!

Naturally, Kate isn’t going to explain what’s going on. Why did Daniel fall? We don’t know. What is the nature of the conflict between angels and demons since it is hinted to be more complicated than ‘I don’t like humanity and I’m better and I’m special’? We don’t know. The only thing that she knows is that Daniel is the one who’s supposed to tip the scales between Heaven and Hell. Luce whines about how everything’s so complicated, and how both sides are so alike.

I vote you go with the side that isn’t trying to kill you and doesn’t seem to have shady intent. But since Luce has no actual curiosity, and she’s never attempted to learn about the sides prior to this point, I really don’t care.

Out of nowhere another one of the Evil Albino Outcasts shows up and attacks. Arianne fends them off (off screen of course, we wouldn’t want our darling girls to see violence) and they return to school. Where Luce gets in trouble, but no privileges get taken away. In fact, she gets to leave and have Thanksgiving with her family!

Now, I’ll admit, Thanksgiving is not a big deal in my family. We have little extended family who comes over, and honestly, I don’t really like turkey. At the same time, Luce is somewhat surprised at being reminded that she has a family or a so called best friend who we haven’t heard much about since the last book.

While she’s sulking in her dorm for being told off but not getting into any real trouble, Miles comes by and confesses to her. Luce has a few minutes of conflict and then decides that, why not! Daniel’s left her for almost two weeks, he didn’t pity her when she complained, and he whined that he didn’t like her hair. She is perfectly justified on cheating on him! She makes out with Miles for while, but Daniel, who was apparently waiting for her, sees and flies off in despair to go sparkle in front of the Voltori with a very melodramatic cry instead of calling Luce out on her crap.

Not one to have Luce question herself, Kate decides to rush things over to that Thanksgiving with her family where, for some reason, Shelby, Miles, Daniel, Callie (Luce’s “best friend”), Cam, Roland, Arrianne, Gabbe and Molly (remember them?) are also here.

Because Luce’s parents are so wonderful and have so little characterization, they’re cool with the first time that they’ve seen their daughter in months being interrupted by a bunch of random people that they don’t know. Now, if Kate had been implying that her parents were kind of neglectful or were still so upset by the fire that Luce supposedly caused in the last book that they honestly didn’t want to talk with her, I would have been fine with this. It would have even been an interesting detail. But it wasn’t. Thanksgiving was implied to be a big deal in her family, and kind of a special event. If I were seeing my kid for the first time in a couple of months, you can be sure that I wouldn’t want her pack of friends and admirers there.

But her parents are fine with it, and Thanksgiving passes in a boring way. You’d think that something interesting would happen at a table with humans, angels, demons, and hybrids all sitting together on a holiday where, in its original conception, you were supposed to thank God for all the good things in your life. But, no, just Daniel glaring at Miles, and Luce feeling sorry for herself because everything’s so hard. Mommy and Daddy leave –so the plot can finally arrive- to walk the dog, and suddenly Shelby’s ex turns up, but SHOCKER he’s an Outcast!

Confirming what anyone who actually did more than skim over this book to get to more LucexDaniel crap knew from the second he was described as being albino.

This is treated like a complete and total shock, and really just makes me think badly of every single character. Didn’t it occur to Daniel and Cam that there might just be an Outcast hanging around the school? Didn’t Luce find it odd that that guy looked like the other Outcasts she’d seen? I can kind of forgive Shelby and Miles, since they never actually got to see an Outcast and might not have made the connection. Still. You’d have thought that they might listen to the description.

Acting like your typical villain, the Outcast ex gleefully explains their evil plan. For some reason that isn’t explained, Luce is considered acceptable payment for the Outcasts to get back into Heaven. So they’re going to drag her with them to the pearly gates whether she likes it or not and dump her there. This does not really involve killing.

There’s a problem: I don’t really see why this is a bad thing.

YOU HAVEN’T TOLD ME WHY THIS IS A BAD THING, KATE!

EXPLAIN!

Luce tries to get more info out of Mr. Monologue, but sadly she doesn’t get much more, and since the Outcasts greatly outnumber the others, Luce selflessly (you’ve seen how selfless she’s been in the past, right) decides to go with them.

I’d care if I knew what she was sacrificing.

The next part is…confusing. Miles can apparently make illusions of people, which is not in any stretch of the imagination a lame power, and he is working on one that looks like Luce. Somehow, when Luce walks by a shed, they switch. I wasn’t really sure how it worked either. The Outcasts take fake!Luce away but then Cam whips out a starshot (I’m still waiting for Rainbow Brite to show up) and shoots fake!Luce, who disappears. This, instead of making the Outcasts attack in rage, makes them all break up and freak out. Daniel, thinking that was the real Luce, attempts to kill Cam, but he hears something and turns around just in time to see an Announcer swallowing up Luce.

Oh hai, plot! You’re kind of late you know.

That is the end. Apparently, Kate wanted to go for the cliffhanger. Sadly, I have to say I have only one sentence to give Kate. The worst sentence that any writer can hear: I don’t care what happens to these people.

Characters

Luce is agonizingly passive in this book. I know there are introverted characters or characters that have events spin completely out of their control, but Luce does nothing to gain control over the situation, and even her little ‘I did what I thought was right’ at the last part when she was sacrificing herself was flat. She essentially sits back, doesn’t really care that everyone is keeping secrets from her and feels woe because the guy that she was stalking through the last book and doesn’t really know anything about can’t see her for nearly two weeks. Then she whines at him when he’s not positively perfect. She’s a Sue, but still mostly there as a blank slate for the reader to slip into and fantasize about a inhumanly gorgeous man (who is frequently described as such) without enough personality to have flaws loving her passionately.

Daniel is, like the last book, almost completely devoid of personality. Even the shocking revelation that Shelby dated him for a while isn’t particularly shocking. Since it’s very clear that it was brief, and nothing happened. He exists, like in the last book, to love Luce, and that really is the extent of his personality. That’s why, in my opinion, he can’t actually be in the story all that much. Because if he is, his lack of personality will become apparent and even the most clueless fangirl will get bored. Strangely enough, I’m pretty neutral to him. He doesn’t have enough personality for me to hate.

Shelby…Shelby, Shelby Shelby, you had such potential to be a Scary Sue who might actually be a threat. Why did you have to cave in and become her little sycophant? I really liked Shelby when I first met her. She seemed like the type who would call Luce out on her selfishness and get villianized by everyone for doing it. Even her brief thing with Daniel seemed to make her fit the bill. Then Kate changed her mind. And that was sad.

Miles (who has nothing to do with Miles Prower) is supposed to be something like the Jacob Black of the series. He’s everything that Daniel isn’t: not very strong, very much present in Luce’s life, and actually contributes to the action and the plot. He doesn’t have much personality himself, but enough to remind me a little of Peeta from The Hunger Games. I think that I could like him, but it seems as if the romance with him, which is pretty much his only function, is flat. His scenes fell rushed and the romance seems to come to quickly.

The Outcasts, who are as far as I’m concerned a single entity, are poor villains. I mean it. While they do have some ties to the Fair Folk, given that they were angels who were ‘not bad enough to go to hell, but not good enough to good to heaven’, but the potential is completely wasted on them. They have no characterization. While I can see that they were meant to be sinister, they don’t manage to get it. Mostly because we never actually see them until the end, and even then, their motives are so convoluted, that I just can’t really care about them.

Cam has been pretty much demoted to extra, which is kind of sad. I liked Cam. We only see him at the beginning, where he’s hinted to be important, in the middle, where he rescues Luce and flirts with her a little, and the end, where he isn’t overly interested in her. I feel like Kate changed her mind with him, probably because Cam had more personality than Daniel, and she didn’t want her precious Edward Cullen wannabe to be less popular than someone.

Love Triangle

Rather like the last time, the love triangle is there, and it isn’t handled all that well.

Now, I’ll give Kate her due, unlike a lot of YA paranormal romances, Luce does actually consider leaving Daniel for Miles. There is a conflict and a question in her mind of who she should chose. The problem is that the story kind of suddenly shoves this in for drama, and it’s not particularly developed.

Now, I’m going to be honest: I hate love triangles. I have never once in my life seen a well developed one. The books I’ve read that were developed in an interesting way, weren’t really love triangles as much as they were unrequited love and people chasing one another around in circles. I don’t think that a love triangle can be done well.

I know why authors are so fond of them lately though. For one thing, they give conflict to a story that, otherwise, doesn’t have any, and for another, it makes the Sue more desirable to have multiple guys fight for her.

Themes

Ladies, it’s fine to be completely passive and uninterested in the world around you. Everything, including someone who loves you, will be presented to you on a silver platter.

Albinos are evil. (Seriously, what’s with all the albino hate, YA authors? I know that the white hair and pale skin is a little eerie in fiction, but there are real people who happen to be albino.)

It is unnecessary to understand anything. Rely on Love. Everything will be fine.

This is probably something about how love is hard sometimes, but really, the two week thing makes the whole thing sound like a teenager whining because she isn’t getting her way.

Setting

This was disappointing. In the last book, the story stayed in one rather interesting setting. The gothic reform school where there were hinted abuses, abuses of power and an all-around possibility of a plot other than romance. Here, it’s just a ritzy school where cool people go. It almost felt like Kate had given off all pretenses of this being an atmospheric novel and just went for self-insert romance.

Shoreline is devoid of personality. It’s a rich school where rich people go. Big deal. Your character is awesome and everyone loves them. Give me something else.

What really annoys me is that several points about Cross and Sword were brought up but never considered, like how they were starving the students or how the cameras watched you even in your rooms or…

But that would have gotten in the way of the Epic Love Story.

Gag me.

Mechanics

Nothing much has changed between Fallen and this one. The dialog feels stilted and unnatural in places, there is way too much talking about True Love, and the author can’t seem to stop describing how hot Daniel is.

Cheating

When is it ok for the main character to cheat in fiction? The answer is when the significant other cheats first. In that case, it’s not really cheating. It’s just the jerk getting what they deserved.

It doesn’t make your character more romantic to make them cheat on the character who’s supposed to be the stand in for perfection. It doesn’t make them more desirable. It makes them look like a jerk. Even SMeyer knew this. She made sure that, Jacob was only a possible love interest when Wardo was busy angsting with the penguins or whatever he was doing. Once he was back in the picture, the relationship (or whatever it was) was over.

Does that mean that this can’t happen? No. It just means that that’s the only time that cheating is really justified. Every other time, it’s there to show that your character is selfish.

Reincarnation Romance

Reincarnation isn’t an easy thing to put in a romance. The reason being that even when they’re reborn, the person isn’t necessarily the same. Kate doesn’t seem to realize that by writing what she has, she’s essentially said that Daniel doesn’t really care about Luce as a person since her personality is different every time that he sees her. It’s just how she looks that’s the same.

Which doesn’t made a lot of sense since he mentioned that she was reborn in India and China at some point.

Essentially, Daniel wants Luce’s body. That’s really about it. She can be a completely different person with a completely different view of life, and he still wants her. This is not love. This is lust. Granted, the two are often intertwined, but if someone I loved was a completely different person in his next life, I wouldn’t be overly interested in him, even if I still found him attractive. If anything, I’d avoid him like the plague because I’d be upset when he looked the same but acted completely different.

Can a reincarnation romance be done well? Yes. Yes, it can. You just have to think about it and put more care than what Kate has done. And have the person still generally be the same person, only with some different experiences. This can be done.

Mythology and Religion

Fail. Fail on so many levels. Fail.

Let’s begin.

Demons, fallen angels, whatever you wish to call them, do not like people. They fell because they didn’t like people. They resented the fact that humanity, a weak little species that didn’t know up from down, was going to rule over them. There’s pretty much a constant theme of Christianity: Humans are the apex of Creation, and therefore everything that happens is either for humans or because of them. And since that happens to be the world view that Kate is working with, she either has to out right state where the Bible doesn’t give enough information or work with what she has.

Now, if we were going to find that the reason that the Demon Instructor said what he did was to tempt people away and fill their heads with lies so that they’d go to hell, I’d applaud Kate on her brilliance. Or that there was another reason for the fall other than people, and even the fallen were kind of divided on the issue, I’d be ok with it. The problem is, she’s not, and I know she’s not, and you know she’s not.

Now, Sodom and Gomorrah. This is a complicated piece in its own right because there is the homosexual issue here. Some people say that the two cities were turned to nothing because of the fact that they were all gay. Personally, I hold to the idea that the men demanding to rape the two angels who had come to see if the city was worth saving was the thing that really pushed the whole thing over the edge. But this isn’t really the point. The point is that it is cheap to just show the people burning without any context to view this story in.

It would be like taking any time that a city is destroyed in war, taking the event out of context, and judging everyone on this one thing when you never consider all the other factors around it that might help explain what was going on. Kate claims that it’s so that people don’t pick sides, but…why can’t both views of things be presented? Then you’re not really preaching, you’re giving two explanations for an event, and, let’s face it, the kids are going to pick a side regardless. Personally, I think that Kate just doesn’t want to explain things because she thinks it’s mysterious.

I’m not saying that Kate couldn’t necessarily do this, I’m just saying that she really needs to, like in the last book, at least acknowledge where what she is saying is different or where things weren’t explained, even involving God, who is mentioned and ignored again. Taking Supernatural again, after season four, where an angel pops up, we start seeing a lot of deviations from the traditional view of angels/God, and the writers acknowledge them when they turn up. While I don’t personally agree with them, they at least acknowledges that there were traditions about how things were viewed and don’t pretend that this is just the way it’s always been and…religions? What religions? Those are so uncool.

Literature

I’m coming to hate anyone who quotes literature in these books. Particularly when they show that they don’t really understand the literature that they’re talking about. Paradise Lost is fanfic. It’s beautifully written, well thought out fanfic, but it’s still fanfic. It’s limited by Milton’s interpretations of people, the ideas at the time that it was written, and the fact that it was created to serve a certain style. It can’t be considered “canon”. And anyone who has even the most casual knowledge of literature should know this.

Even if you were to look at the work alone, and base the story off of that, there’s still a problem: the line “better to reign in hell than serve in heav’n” is out of context. In the first book of the poem, Satan says this to one of his demon generals, right after they have been utterly defeated. He was having a case of sour grapes as well as making their defeat seem less of a blow to his subordinate. (Thus keeping rebellion against him from happening) This was said right around the time when he talks about how his ‘glorious rebellion’ ‘shook the throne of heaven’ when, when you read about the battle in another book, it simply wasn’t true. If anything the battle was comedic, since no one could die no matter what they did. The poem just doesn’t work with this story, and Kate really needs to stop trying to make her book seem higher brow than it is. It’s not working.

Final Assessment

This book was named well.

Kate might think that she’s being mysterious by not explaining anything, but really, she’s just being annoying. The story holds together a little better than the last one, and doesn’t shift too much, but the same problems are still there, and honestly, before she expanded her world, she should have explained it a little better.

The main character is still boring, the plot is all over the place, Kate keeps trying to philosophize about the nature of good and evil and heaven and hell, while refusing to fully explain what is going on around the character, who is to passive to do anything or ask questions. The romance that is the main focus of this book is never fleshed out, and the whole premise and plot feels like a badly made patchwork quilt.

Has anything improved? Not really, even the more interesting aspects of the first book, like the school are missing, and too much focus is placed on the past lives while almost none is given to the situation at hand.

If this was Kate’s attempt at New Moon then I have to say that Meyer did it better. That’s probably the greatest insult I’ve ever given a writer. Including the Cast Ladies.

Score: 2 of 10 (There were a few decently written scenes that convey something like an emotion.)

Next Up: Betrayed

1 For all those who don’t know, Rose Potter is one of the most infamous Sues of the Harry Potter fandom. The writer was obsessed with nudism and frequently had loving descriptions of preteen girls in all of their glory, sounding like supermodels. The stories were also known for the author taking huge chunks from the original books and merely changing things into first person, changing the gender being specified, and then taking out all the humor, explaining all the jokes and having every single problem solved by Rose and her Super Special Awesome druid powers which have nothing to do with actual druidism before any real conflict could appear. Oh, and taking from Lord of the Rings.

2 Which are, admittedly pretty useless in reality. Astral projection might be a fun way to sound More Spiritual Then Thou, but it’s not going to do much against a powerful spiritual being. Suethors seem to have an issue with the more standard, but useful powers. Like throwing fireballs. There’s nothing wrong with fireballs. And they’re a nice level 1 attack spell.

3 Remember her? Luce’s roommate from the last book. She was built up as being important, but never really amounted to much? Yeah, she’s here now. I guess that everyone just decided to leave that boarding school now that Luce wasn’t going to be there. How convenient.

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Comment

  1. swenson on 10 June 2013, 09:52 said:

    a deadly weapon against angels

    Because it’s not like angels are non-physical immortal beings or anything OH WAIT.

    That’s a little more than two weeks, Kate.

    “Eighteen days? That’s almost two weeks!”

    She mentions that she always assumed that her parents reincarnated with her, which is really, really stupid since if she dies and is reborn the very instant that she dies, it would be rather hard for her parents to age in time to have her.

    In fairness, this does sound kind of like something a teenager who never thought about it before might say. It’d be even better if she was sad over the fact that, well, her parents aren’t really her parents—or, rather, they’re just the latest in a long line of parents—but I’ll take what I can get.

    It would’ve been even better had she thought about going in and talking to her former parents, but I may be asking too much out of this book for it to have logic and emotion and all that.

    Have fun with the psychiatric treatment that you’re going to need after seeing your dead little sister and watching her vanish with no explanation!

    This is because no one matters in the book aside from Luce. In fact, as soon as they’re off-screen, they cease to exist. This is most likely because either Luce or the author never developed object permanence, the ability to realize that things exist even when you can’t see them, which means they’re exceptionally far advanced in every other area for a three-month-old baby.

    [Thanksgiving stuff]

    My family is very big on Thanksgiving, and while my parents would be welcoming if a bunch of my friends didn’t have anywhere else to go and came to our dinner instead, they would still probably be a little annoyed, because it’s family time, not everybody in the world time.

    the two week thing makes the whole thing sound like a teenager whining because she isn’t getting her way.

    Conveniently enough, that is precisely what it is!

  2. Pryotra on 10 June 2013, 14:57 said:

    Because it’s not like angels are non-physical immortal beings or anything OH WAIT.

    Actually, that’s another problem with the fact that she’s using Paradise Lost Milton was pretty clear that angels couldn’t die, so the battle between them grew steadily more and more ridiculous to the point where they were tossing mountains at one another for a while until God essentially brushed them away.

    But she’s trying to add something to make the angels vulnerable. There’s another problem. It wouldn’t really effect them. The thing couldn’t destroy an angel, so it might hurt them, but it would only slow them down while their body reformed or something.

    Kate hasn’t really thought this out.

    It would’ve been even better had she thought about going in and talking to her former parents,

    Well, she did intend to go and interrogate them about Daniel, but she got cold feet. My real objection is that she hasn’t thought about it. It seems kind of logical to, once you discover that you reincarnate, think about this kind of thing. That’s my biggest complaint against Luce. She never considers anything, she just allows herself to be pushed along.

    This is most likely because either Luce or the author never developed object permanence, the ability to realize that things exist even when you can’t see them, which means they’re exceptionally far advanced in every other area for a three-month-old baby.

    LOL. That makes so much sense!

    they would still probably be a little annoyed, because it’s family time, not everybody in the world time.

    I’d have to say the same here, and that’s from a family that doesn’t do a lot with Thanksgiving. I think that that’s the real problem with this entire book, everyone bends over to accommodate Luce, or rather Kate’s fantasy, in every way. Even when it isn’t logical or normal.

  3. Bekah on 10 June 2013, 18:45 said:

    I remember reading Fallen and Torment a few years ago. Call me crazy, but I actually liked the little Luce/Miles romance, because for once the main character was actually realizing that yes, options besides your Jerkass of a love interest still exist. Even though she was technically cheating, at least that was doing something besides letting herself being dragged along.

    Admittedly, my standards were quite a bit lower when I read this book.

    Also, as someone who has been in a long distance relationship for over a year: shut up, Luce. Ever heard of texting? Skype? Why does no one ever use those in YA? I don’t even remember a BSplanation about how magic interferes with technology or anything. Even if you don’t have that kind of thing, eighteen days is really not that long.

    It really ticks me off when authors take Christianity and ignore most of it so they can get the plots they want. It’s like the American authors who think they can write about Japan by giving a character a katana and having them insert random Japanese words into the story. I guess they forget that, yes, Christianity is still a big part of many people’s lives.

    I can sort of understand the Vague Beliefs of Vagueness, since you could alienate some readers by making your character a devout Baptist or something, but that’s no reason not to do it. (And if the baptism thing is an issue that could keep Luce from reincarnating…why don’t they baptize her? Go down to the beach and have Daniel do it.)

  4. Oculus_Reparo on 11 June 2013, 02:45 said:

    I can’t help but be amused at the line “A fallen novel” on the cover. I’d admonish it to repent, but I’ve never heard whether repentance is possible for fallen novels.

    Also, “both sides are so alike” ? As in, angels and demons? Really? Are they supposed to be alike in this universe?

  5. Nate Winchester on 11 June 2013, 09:32 said:

    I have no idea what this is.

    It’s clearly a candid shot of the Ring girl in between one of her killings!

    Being that I, who does not have and never has had a ‘special someone’, have parents, siblings, friends, and a niece and nephew, I’m pretty sure that, unless your family life stinks, you only need to live once.


    I’ll be your special someone, Pryotra!
    (ah, the old days of the II shipping game – you bastards)

    (and yes, I did this joke entirely as an excuse to post ponies)

    We are reminded that as Luce wasn’t baptized, she’s not going to reincarnate for some reason or other that isn’t explained, and Daniel states that the only reason that he’s still hanging around Cam is because he wants to talk to him about Luce.

    You know… this just bugs me. See, to me it would make more sense that NOT being baptized is what gets you reincarnated. It makes earth kind of purgatory and solves some of those questions like “how can Jesus save those born before He died” and all. I mean, I know there are doctrinal answers to those questions, but that’s me putting a bit more thought into this set up than the author did.

    In Heaven, eighteen was the luckiest, most divine number

    That’s a little more than two weeks, Kate.

    And that’s terrible!

    Oh, they keep a day count on this thing. It’s nauseating.

    You know, I’m actually surprised she didn’t do “18 months” kind of thing and then have the blank month pages again. Of course, THAT would be a bit more drama there than a fortnight and a half.

    The demon professor decides that he wants to show them what he means by recording time, summons an Announcer, and does something to the thing that causes it to show the exact instant that Sodom (or Gomorrah) blew up.

    So… do we have an Announcer (seriously, why that name?) recording the Announcer showing a recording? And do Announcers have to record Announcers recording? Then who records the Announcers recording Announcers recording? Is this Announception?

    She looks like an older version of Luce, which Luce marvels at, and goes through the Announcer to meet.

    1) That sounds almost rapey. (to the poor Announcer)
    2) I keep reading “luce” and I keep thinking “Lucifer”. Damn you SPN fandom!

    …Wait, that’s actually appropriate.

    she had watched Past!Luce combust one evening while iceskating.

    Wait… what? Why does this girl keep combusting all over the place? Great, I need to go reread the previous NRR.

    Not one to have Luce question herself, Kate decides to rush things over to that Thanksgiving with her family where, for some reason, Shelby, Miles, Daniel, Callie (Luce’s “best friend”), Cam, Roland, Arrianne, Gabbe and Molly (remember them?) are also here.

    No, I don’t remember any of them. Even the ones that you have mentioned several times this review. Not a one. Nope.

    You’d think that something interesting would happen at a table with humans, angels, demons, and hybrids all sitting together on a holiday where, in its original conception, you were supposed to thank God for all the good things in your life.

    You know… that COULD be interesting. A sort of “Joyeux Noel” situation where they agree to a truce on Thanksgiving (since Christmas would be the afterlife equivalent of D-Day so definitely no truces for Angels/Demons then).

    Characters

    Formatting thought occurs: Maybe when you do this, bold the first instance of the name of the character you’re devoting to?

    I don’t think that a love triangle can be done well.

    What about Clark Kent/Lois Lane/Superman?

    if someone I loved was a completely different person in his next life, I wouldn’t be overly interested in him, even if I still found him attractive.

    But then… what makes it reincarnation? See this is why I don’t use reincarnation, I don’t quite get it if it’s not the same person, just different context.

    It’s like the American authors who think they can write about Japan by giving a character a katana and having them insert random Japanese words into the story.

    Hey! I tried doing some work and used a lot of google earth to get a sense of how the nation looks.
    (though I should probably get a publisher and see if I can get a “fact-finding junket” over there as a business expense…)

  6. swenson on 11 June 2013, 11:55 said:

    In Heaven, eighteen was the luckiest, most divine number

    Forgot to mention this, but:

    The number of God/perfection is 7. Alternately, you could argue the most divine number is 3, the number of the Trinity. Cardinal virtues and the exact number of archangels are extrabiblical anyway—but that’s hardly a surprise if she’s considering Paradise Lost canonical. If she really wanted to add them up, she could use ten—but that’s never really used in the Bible. It pretty much just sticks with 7 and 3. (and also 12 and 6, but those are significant for other reasons—6 is the number of man, 12 has to do with government or something)

    What about Clark Kent/Lois Lane/Superman?

    Oh, that is a brilliant one! But it should be pointed out that this was usually more of a “Clark Kent likes Lois Lane who likes Superman who is secretly Clark Kent” thing than a “Lois Lane can’t decide between Superman and Clark Kent”.

    And it leads me to the best love triangle ever, of all time: Lois Lane and Lara Lang fighting over Superman. Because as misogynistic as most of that stuff is, it’s also hilarious.

  7. Nate Winchester on 11 June 2013, 12:38 said:

    And it leads me to the best love triangle ever, of all time: Lois Lane and Lara Lang fighting over Superman. Because as misogynistic as most of that stuff is, it’s also hilarious.

    I don’t consider it near misogynist as much as misanthropic (remember, 2 humans arguing over an alien).

    Oh now there’s something to compare. Old Lois Lane stories with modern day Twilight & its rips. Because sometimes back then Supes could be a dick as much as Edward. Was Lois/Lana any better than Bella? Well they were more competent…

  8. Apep on 11 June 2013, 14:05 said:

    re: Love triangles

    I’ve run into a couple good renditions of the Arthur/Guinevere/Lancelot triangle. The trick is having Lancelot going “I’m in love with my best friend’s wife,” Guinevere going “I’m in love with my husband’s best friend,” and both of them caring about Arthur. That last one’s especially important, because otherwise it’s just Lancelot and Guinevere having an affair and treating it like “true love” or some crap. (Fucking Malory…)

  9. Nate Winchester on 11 June 2013, 14:24 said:

    Malory… Dante…

    Let’s face it, fanfiction’s been around a lot longer than we want to admit.

    (it was just better written)

  10. Apep on 11 June 2013, 15:20 said:

    Have you actually read Le Morte d’Arthur? It’s crap. Especially when Galahad shows up. He’s the original Gary Stu.

  11. Pryotra on 11 June 2013, 15:52 said:

    Call me crazy, but I actually liked the little Luce/Miles romance, because for once the main character was actually realizing that yes, options besides your Jerkass of a love interest still exist. Even though she was technically cheating, at least that was doing something besides letting herself being dragged along.

    Meh, it had more chemistry than DanielxLuce, but it wouldn’t take much. I’ll give it that Luce, at the beginning essentially saw herself as Daniel’s possession, and that’s an improvement, but I honestly couldn’t sympathize with Luce. Her motives stank, and since in the last book, she had been the one to relentlessly stalk Daniel, I saw her as worse from the beginning.

    Also, as someone who has been in a long distance relationship for over a year: shut up, Luce. Ever heard of texting? Skype? Why does no one ever use those in YA?

    The authors tend to make it so that cellphones are either not allowed or they show their age and don’t think about them. Honestly, cellphones make a lot of the drama in these stories ridiculous.

    (And if the baptism thing is an issue that could keep Luce from reincarnating…why don’t they baptize her? Go down to the beach and have Daniel do it.)

    Because then she wouldn’t have the ‘spark of individuality’ or something. Because being baptized automatically makes you act like everyone else who was ever baptized.

    As in, angels and demons? Really? Are they supposed to be alike in this universe?

    I’m pretty sure that Kate is trying to make a very deep comment on the nature of good and evil, but she’s being too vague for it to make any sense.

    (ah, the old days of the II shipping game – you bastards)

    (and yes, I did this joke entirely as an excuse to post ponies)

    Lol. And yes, I believe we were shipped together at some point. As well as me and Tim. We all get around here.

    I keep reading “luce” and I keep thinking “Lucifer”. Damn you SPN fandom!

    …Wait, that’s actually appropriate.

    Actually, Luce is a shorted term for that name. Ironic. I don’t think that Kate realizes it, but if this turns out to be the shocking twist, I think you’ll all really be able to hear my scream of rage.

    Wait… what? Why does this girl keep combusting all over the place? Great, I need to go reread the previous NRR.

    Kate never tells you why. She just does. It’s some kind of punishment for Daniel I think. I told you, Kate doesn’t like to explain things.

    See this is why I don’t use reincarnation, I don’t quite get it if it’s not the same person, just different context.

    I actually avoid it for this reason as well.

    Well they were more competent…

    Lois could usually walk across a room without needing Clark or Superman to help her do it. Honestly, I think that, looking back on some of the comics I read (though I mostly watched the animated show) Lois tried to be useful, and that made me forgive the fact that she was used as a hostage with depressing frequency.

    Let’s face it, fanfiction’s been around a lot longer than we want to admit.

    Pretty much yeah.

    Have you actually read Le Morte d’Arthur? It’s crap.

    Yes. I’ve read it. History of the Kings of Britain was better. Galahad and Lancelot are both Stus. They both got added to the mythos later.

  12. Juracan on 11 June 2013, 18:26 said:

    After all, there is nothing that gives me more happiness than crushing the fantasies of teenage girls.

    I… um…

    [shrugs]

    I suppose everyone needs a hobby.

    In Heaven, eighteen was the luckiest, most divine number: a life affirming tally of the two sevens: the archangels and the cardinal virtues) balanced with the warning of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.

    What?

    No seriously, what? Why the flying fudge would the Horsemen enter the equation at all? What do they have to do with holiness? Why bring them up?

    Now I just wish the Horsemen would show up and wreck everyone’s shit.

    For some reason that isn’t explained, Luce is considered acceptable payment for the Outcasts to get back into Heaven. So they’re going to drag her with them to the pearly gates whether she likes it or not and dump her there. This does not really involve killing.

    This sounds like quite possibly the most benevolent evil plan I’ve ever heard.

    (Fucking Malory…)

    …this is my favorite comment on Arthurian literature ever. Just saying, Apep.

    Galahad and Lancelot are both Stus. They both got added to the mythos later.

    Weren’t half the knights added later, sometimes being fused from other legends and canons? Merlin himself was originally from an unrelated story, too. Maybe.

  13. Pryotra on 11 June 2013, 18:46 said:

    Weren’t half the knights added later, sometimes being fused from other legends and canons? Merlin himself was originally from an unrelated story, too. Maybe.

    Meh, kind of. Gawain didn’t have any real stories associated with him from before he was added to the knights, from what I’ve researched, but Lancelot pretty clearly had a group of legends that were completely his own prior to what was essentially the greatest crossover fanfic ever told, to the point where, yeah, we’re not always sure who came from what and who is completely original.

    Merlin is Merlin. He might be connected to Taliesin. Then again, there was also a nutty hermit that he was connected with by scholars. It’s hard to really tell with him.

    I think the reason Galahad and Lancelot get scrutinized so hard is because they essentially take over the story once they turn up, and Arthur himself spends most of his time twiddling his thumbs in Camelot while they got all the glory. (Though, from a realistic standpoint, he did have a kingdom to run.) He wasn’t even a major player in the quest for the Holy Grail.

    Sadly this is being said by someone who, while having researched it, is not a Arthurian scholar.

  14. Apep on 11 June 2013, 20:08 said:

    …this is my favorite comment on Arthurian literature ever. Just saying, Apep.

    Thanks!

    And I was actually enjoying Le Morte d’Arthur until goddamned Tristram showed up. I felt way more sympathy for Palamedes after his little speech than I did for Tristram for his whole story. He’s Lancelot, but without the potential moral ambiguity.

  15. Thea on 11 June 2013, 21:31 said:

    Have you actually read Le Morte d’Arthur? It’s crap. Especially when Galahad shows up. He’s the original Gary Stu.

    I am so glad I’m not the only one to have thought so.