Lauren Kate has done it again!

And I don't mean she wrote another great book.  I mean that she's told the same story that I've read 30+ times.  In fact, as I was reading it, I was thinking, Is this Hush, Hush?  The answer:  pretty much.

  • Writing.  It's easy to read, with the right balance between exposition and figurative language.  It doesn't depend on flowery language to carry the reader through a marsh of bad story like some of the parapseudos I've read.  The style was enough keep my interest (even though I was pissed about reading the formula--again).
  • Characters.  I like batshit people, so I appreciate when an author can write a nutso character realistically.  Dreadlocks tied up in little pom-poms?  Yes.  Freaky hair colors?  Yep.  Snappy outcast vernacular?  Yes!  But the characters were varied enough so that I didn't think Ms. Kate is a frustrated grown-up goth.  
  • Pace.  I always appreciate a story that has momentum.  I like to finish novels, and if a story lags, I get annoyed.  This novel is 450-ish pages, and I finished it in a day-and-a-half, including long breaks when I had to "work." 
  • Good ol' good vs. evil.  When it's done right, it can give me shivers.  Yeah, this one wasn't like that, but it tried.  I appreciate the effort.
  • SSDA (Same Shit, Different Author).  Self-explanatory.
  • Unfulfilled fallen angel promise.  When are these fallen angel stories gonna come through with the SATAN thing?  I'm very ready for some super evil, the oldest evil, the unconditional evil--but sexy.  It almost come through with the Hush, Hush plot, but it fell short when Patch turned into a love sap.  In Fallen, I wanted a twist on the fallen angel thing.  Alas, SSDA.
  • Setting.  A reform school could've been radical.  But no one did anything bad!  They were typical high school students, only some of them pierced their faces up.  I'd have liked some commentary on youth criminality or reform culture.  Obviously, the author just wanted to have an easy setting for rejects.  But she forgot to draw the rejects as they'd really be.
  • Kissing.  Yet another story that makes kissing a deadly pursuit.  Yet another story that has lips hovering all over the place and then fierce, mashing face sucking.  Yet another story that characterizes kissing as life changing.  SSDA.  (And a new subject for the Pro/Con page.)
  • Depth of character.  Yes, the characters are fun...but I don't give a damn about what happens to them.  Luce (who I was hoping would be Lucifer--wouldn't that have been a perfect twist?) is flat--another confused, yearning girl.  Daniel is another reluctant hero--just like Jace, Patch, Edward, and all the other dumbasses.  Cam is an under-developed baddy--not seductive enough, not evil enough, not dynamic.
  • No real mythos.  I'm ready for a novel that really gets into the mythos of angels--fallen or not--and shows some real effort for research.  Is it too much to expect authors to respect young minds enough to research their topics?  Why leave that up to old men authors like Elmore Leonard?  
  • The "shadows."  Like so much in the story, it takes too long to find out what they are, so by the time you do, you're annoyed by them.  Black, gooey tentacles that pulse around eternally on the ceiling, never really causing any damage.  I wanted the Blob.  How about some soul devouring?
  • Loose end.  What really happened with Trevor?  Did Cam light him on fire?  Did Daniel kill him out of jealousy?  Did Luce kiss him to death?
So the overall verdict?  Better than Hush, Hush, but that's not a full endorsement.  It'll go down as the novel that made me realize that I'm reading Wuthering Heights over and over and over.

Still, there must be something to the formula, or else I wouldn't keep reading.  There's got to be some cultural gender stuff happening here--more than the obvious.  After reading Fallen, though, I don't know if I can make it to my 100 goal.  And maybe I don't need to.

Next up, faeries and more vampires.  How about a vampire faerie?  Or a vampire angel?  Or a demon marmoset?  I'm desperate for something new!

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