Torment by Lauren Kate
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.
"Lois Lane is falling, accelerating at initially 32 feet per second. Superman swoops down to save her by reaching out two arms of steel. Ms Lane, who now is traveling at approximately 120 miles per hour, hits them and is immediately sliced into three equal pieces. (...) Frankly, if he really loved her, he would have let her hit the pavement. It'd have been a more merciful death." Sheldon Cooper, the Big Bang Theory, season 1, episode 2.
Go look for consistancy in a movie where a man can fly. Or book.
The mechanis of Daniel and Luce's flying aside, this was both better than Fallen... and worse. The writing has certainly improved, the descriptions are lush and tangible, and we finally have some pretty nice supporting characters. We even have a semblance of a plot!
God, I'm pathetic.
After the events in Sword & Cross, Daniel drops off Luce at Shorelin academy, a prep school for Nephilim, supposedly to protect her. Luce, of course, doesn't like his vague explenations and constantly gets herself in trouble. She also starts to suspect that there is more to things than Daniel lets on, and when his lame responses don't satisfy her, she goes off to find the truth herself.
Right. This is a very promising premise - Luce questioning her status quo and her 'love' for Daniel is something I've been waiting for ever since the first book. It could allow for a lot of character development and growth, and it could bring the romance in the book to a more mature level. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen because every single time Luce rebels against the restrictions set against her, Daniel swoops in to kiss her brains out... and she totally forgets everything!
Case in point: Early in the book, Luce is on a party with the rest of her class, dancing and having fun and finally feeling better after, you know, all Hell broke loose. Suddenly, Daniel clamps his hand over her mouth and draggs her away to take her on a 'romantic' flight, talks about how her dance card is full for eternity, and then picks a fight with her because she bleached her hair.
Excuse me, are you the love of her life or her parole officer?
Usually around this point, I mock the Mery Sue, but believe it or not, Luce would have been a good character if it weren't for Daniel. Yes, he's protective of her, but at times that protectiveness borders on abuse. Every one of Luce's attempts to do something creative or eccentric or unusual are met with immediate rebuttal, as if bleaching her hair would somehow kill her. And don't give me this crap about not telling her for her own sake: seriously man, she almost never listened to you in Sword & Cross - do you honestly think that would change? I don't know what's worse - that Daniel is a stick-up-the-arse control freak, or the fact that the book expects us to accept the systematic psychological abuse of the main character as loving devotion.
On the other hand, it's hard to sympathise with Luce - she compares herself to Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Eyre, yet lets Daniel control her constantly. I'd dearly like to see Luce tell Daniel off, or actually leave him intending to never see him again. I mean there is a reason why Jane Eyre is such an iconic character - she had the guts to walk away when her moral integrity and sense of self-worth are endangered.
Plotwise, the book is only slightly better than "Fallen" - mostly it's Luce trying to be herself, flesh out and understand the past, but whenever she does anything to asses her independance and individuality, Daniel comes in, gets all hot and heavy with her, picks a fight and then flies away, sending Luce stumbling back into the state of perpetual depression that she was in "Fallen". And this not only stops us from having a decent main character - it stops us from having a plot too. The entire purpose of this book was Luce finding something that the reader had pretty much deduced in the first hundred pages or so.
In fact, the main driving force behind the plot isn't Luce, it's the Announcers. You know, the creepy shadows from the first book? There is this rare moment where a teacher uses The Republic (the Analogue of the Cave, in particular), to illustrate how their role is both to be useful and deceitful. I'm still trying to figure out whether to be impressed or disgusted that Plato got involved in this.
So, all in all, it's an ok read. If you're a fan of the series, great, but I didn't like it. Much like the first book, the plot drags, we have an artificial fight scene to substitute climax, and while Luce's quest to understand her past lives does seem logical, the situation begs the question: When the toilet breaks, do you call for help first, or do you stare at it until you figure out the problem?
Just trying to get my priorities straight, is all. Two out of five.