Cynthia Ayala ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
By: Lauren Kate
Published: December 8, 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
For Luce Price, the darkness is a thing to fear. After a tragedy lands her in the boarding school/reform school Sword & Cross in Savannah Georgia, Luce finds herself drawn to the eerily familiar Daniel Grigori. As Daniel pushes her away, keeping her at a distance, making it painfully clear that he wants nothing to do with her, Luce persists. She knows that there is a secret tied with this feeling and is determined to figure it out…even if it kills her.
This novel was absolutely gripping, but there was one big problem: Luce was too perfect. Everyone who met her instantly took a liking to her, either as a friend or as a romantic interest. All the while, she is fawning over Daniel, the one guy who spends most of the novel playing tug of war, first pushing her away, then pulling her close before pushing her away again. She wasn’t the most in-depth character, but there is one thing that works in her favor: she is still one hundred times better than Isabella Swan for the one reason that she has a personality that is far from one dimensional. The other characters who are represented by her point of view are more captivating and more fun than her, but it’s all the scenes where she is with another character that we get to see a soft side of her, a benevolent side that makes her likable. However, the comparison to Audrey Hepburn was too much on the writers part to make her stand out and be “beautiful”, when her beauty should come from what the personality and spark the writers have failed to fully give her. It’s on the fringes, but it’s not believable, and simply doesn’t resonate off the pages.
Not only that, but the plotline was unique. The story telling was wonderfully done, starting out as just a normal young adult novel with a normal adolescent, but then it blooms into something more. Darkness creeps into story, little by little, subtlety solidifying the plotline. The strong religious aspect of the fallen angels represented in the novel displays a brilliant story not unlike others we have seen before; just take the Blue Bloods series for example. Just to be clear: the religious context is the only similarity between the two.
The theme following the fallen angles from heaven has become incredibly popular in YA fiction as of late, and while the popularity rises, Kate finds a way to make her work stand out. Kate has the talent of a writer, and while she needs to work on giving her protagonist more personality, the dynamic between the characters is well done. She also has a knack for detail and description. The scenes, brilliantly detailed, ground the reader in not only where the story takes place and where the characters are, but also highlighting the mysterious and spooky shadows that creep into her peripheral, causing chaos and death in their wake.
The last one hundred pages were amazing, though. The inside and the outside plots collided perfectly. The unveiling of the big campus secret coupled with the pace grab you and drag you into the turbulent action of the novel. It was amazing, beautiful, and enticing to the very last second. ★★★☆☆ (B+)