Plot Summary: There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori. Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move. Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret...even if it kills her.
Fallen angels are making a big splash in YA books. There was much talk and hype over this one, both before and after its release. The cover is beautiful and the summary is compelling, setting the bar pretty high, and I was really looking forward to reading it because the idea sounds amazing. The story is basically forbidden love, which can often be gripping enough to overshadow any flaws in the telling of it. Unfortunately, for me, the flaws were too big to hide in the shadows...
The pacing is agonizingly slow. I found the plot predictable and lacking in continuity – many things happened with no logical explanation, and the fact that Luce didn't try harder to learn what was going on made her seem shallow and unlikeable. It felt like the author was withholding information in order to increase tension, but it came off as contrived.
As with all my book discussions, there are a few SPOILERS below.
As I read, there were so many things I questioned, pulling me out of the story:
-Why does Penn bring Luce to the records room when she can go herself and then tell Luce what she finds?
-Why doesn't Luce wonder why Daniel keeps initiating conversations with her when he also keeps telling her to go away? Makes him seem unstable.
-What were Luce’s experiences with the shadows like when she was growing up? How has it changed between now and then (she tells us that it changes, but not how)?
-Why is Todd's memorial in the cemetery instead of in a more appropriate venue, like an assembly hall? And why aren't Todd's parents there?
-What are the details about Luce’s encounter with Trevor? Since she has a parole officer, that means she was convicted of something. What?
All of these questions made the plot seem contrived and confusing. In some places, the story contradicted itself (the court ‘strongly suggested’ Luce attend Sword and Cross vs. the court ordered her to attend), and in other places information was withheld in order to force the reader to keep going. I understand that the author must manipulate the reader in order to hold his interest, but, for me, this manipulation was too heavy handed.
The entire story stays on the surface of everything. For example, Luce's continued feeling that she knows Daniel from somewhere. This feeling never goes beyond some of his facial expressions. She has supposedly known him for thousands of years, and she doesn't have a single epiphany about things he likes? She would have gotten to know him on some level, and should have inexplicably known a couple of his pet peeves, bad habits, or at least one thing he loved (other than her). But the furthest she gets is thinking she has seen him somewhere, somehow convinced she's in love with him. But her idea of love (can’t keep herself from kissing him because he’s so hot) is the textbook definition of lust. Love is about the person, but lust is about what the person looks like.
My biggest problem, though, was with Luce's parents. Luce paints them as loving parents who are just trying to do what's best for their daughter. If that was true, they NEVER would have run out on her at the hospital the way they did. That, to me, makes them seem like the thinnest cardboard cutouts I have ever seen in a story.
Overall, this is not a book I recommend, and I am not compelled to read any further in the series.