*Originally posted on Southern Bred, Southern Read Blog on 12/12/14*
This book reminded me of a cross between Mara Dyer (book one), Twilight, and a way turned down Mortal Instruments. I thought of Mara Dyer because of all the hallucinations that Luce has and how everyone things she is cray because of them. Twilight, well, the overall feel of the book plus the romance she has with Daniel/how Daniel treats her. Mortal Instruments strictly for the fact of the whole fallen angel thing. It’s the only other book that I have read with fallen angels, so it was the only thing I had to compare it to (well besides Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick but we won’t go into how much I hated it).
Luce is a seventeen year old girl who has gotten herself into a world of trouble. She has had problems her whole life with seeing “shadows,” which has led her parents to thinking she has some sort of psychological problem. She has spent the past few years in a fancy prep school in New England that her doctor recommended. She tried as best as she could to pretend to be normal, but one night when she is hanging out alone with Trevor, a guy that she has a crush on, something bad happens when the shadows get too strong and somehow Trevor dies from catching fire. Luce doesn’t have any memory of what exactly happened other than the shadows were somehow involved. Because Trevor’s death is so mysterious and no one else was around when it happened, the police automatically connect Luce with the death. She is shipped off to a reform school outside of Savannah as part of her deal.
Upon arrival to the school, she immediately knows something is off. The whole place is dripping with gothic charm since most of the kudzu covered buildings are leftover from the Civil War and are former churches made into school buildings. Despite it being a reform school, the students are able to get away with a lot. There are dorm room parties and goods smuggled in and all sorts of other forbidden behavior. Luce gets assigned to Arriane, one of the more eccentric students, as her guide to show her the ropes. Arriane takes Luce under her wing and they become fast friends even though Arriane is fifty shades of cray most of the time. The only thing that grounds Luce from the weirdness of the school and the people is her friend Penn who is really the only person she has met that she can actually relate to. She develops a really sweet friendship with Penn who has suffered a lot loss in her life as well. One of my favorite scenes from the book is on Parent’s Day when Luce’s mom and dad come to visit her. Luce invites Penn along to join them because she doesn’t have parents of her own any more. Penn is very grateful and the scene is a big turning point in their friendship where they really connect and get close.
She gets herself thrown head first in a love triangle with Cam, the dark mysterious charming guy who is super into her, and Daniel, the blonde ridiculously handsome loner who basically wants nothing to do with her. The book pretty much follows the formula of Cam stalking Luce, Luce stalking Daniel, Luce fretting over both of the boys, Cam trying super hard to get with her, Daniel being wishy washy and then blowing her off… rinse and repeat. The love triangle finally comes to a head towards the end of the book when Luce finally (FINALLY) makes a decision on who she wants to be with. Throw in a couple of good boy fights and a few plot twists as well. The biggest headache for me was the bad decisions that Luce makes. Ok, let me rephrase that, she doesn’t exactly bad decisions, she just doesn’t make decisions at all. She lets other people influence her and gets herself into all sorts of bad situations because she lets other people thing for her. It’s really frustrating and it definitely makes me miss strong willed heroines from other books.
If you have read any sort of fallen angel themed book, then you can kind of figure out what is happening as the story unfolds. I was able to guess most of the twists, but there was one good wrench that was thrown in towards the end. I will say that I didn’t LOVE this book. I liked it good enough, but it doesn’t fall into the love category for me. It is a quick read despite being almost five hundred pages, so it is a good filler book if you are looking for something a little cheesy but still has some action. I don’t know if I will read the rest of this series. I skimmed the synopsis’s for the remaining books and just had a “meh” reaction. I think this book will translate well into a movie though, so I am really excited to see it in theaters!