Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Torment - Lauren Kate

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.


I liked the first book in this series.  Didn't love it like I'd hoped I would, but liked it enough that I dove right into the second book.  Finished the second book last night and  . . . I'm starting to think the young adult genre is not for me after all.  I would almost say I hated this book, but a lot of the things that bothered me are things I"m finding popping up in my gripe list from other books too.

Ok, in the first book we met Luce and a cast of characters at the reform school she'd been sent to as punishment for a crime she can't remember much about.  There we also met Daniel, who Luce was strangely attracted to, and we eventually learned they have known each other time and time again through previous lives.  Well, through Luce's previous lives anyway, because Daniel is a fallen angel, ancient and ageless, and has lived to see her die time and time again.  Sounds like a potentially fabulous story!  And while they don't go into too much detail of the past in the first book, you're kind of ok with it because you're thinking they'll get back around to it in the second book . . . that the first is for getting the basics all set up or something.  You're somewhat ok with all the unanswered questions and things unexplained in the first book because you're sure they'll be addressed in the second book.  Only then you find that no, the second book only piles loads more unanswered and unexplained things on top of everything else.

So in the first, when Daniel eventually shares some of the truth with Luce, she's kinda having a hard time taking it all in.  Then there is that big angel battle and Luce is whisked away to a secret hiding spot for safe keeping.  And that's where the first book leaves off.

The second picks up with Daniel moving Luce to a new school clear across the country, and the book takes a sort of Harry Potter turn.  Why were there so many angels at her former reform school?  We don't know.  And now she's placed in a ritzy school with a large population of Nephilim kids.  What?  Really?  Why?  So there is more magic happening in this book, what with Daniel flying Luce all over to share special moments, and the many other kids showing their different powers at one point or another.  Yeah, I didn't like it.

The 'shadows,' or 'Announcers' as we now know they are called, are a huge part of this book and I thought that was all stupid too.  What freakin' purpose do these things serve???  Apparently they are whatever you need whenever you need it because ooohhhhhhh, we could glimpse random history in the beginning, then we could glimpse what we hoped for, then we could actually step through them and travel to other places, and oh let's not forget they can save our lives too when we're about to fall off a ledge.  We're told over and over how they are soooooooo dangerous if you don't know what you're doing, yet the two main teachers bring one to class for no reason and show the kids how they can be used to glimpse the past.  And then we see anyone and everyone having knowledge of them and using them left and right.  They are not at all consistent and it seems the author is just using them as whatever is convenient.

Ok, so Luce is being hidden at this school.  Why?  For her safety is what we're told over and over.  Safety from what?  The Outcasts?  Oh, ok.  We see very little threat of them except for a couple oddball encounters, and then in the big battle (again) at the end.  I feel Luce's pain in this part of things . . . 'Explain something to me!' is sort of what she's fighting for all along and she keeps coming up the same blank spaces we are.  It got old already in the first book to hear that she can't be told the truth because she'll die.  What?  I thought when Daniel kissed her she died?  Neither one makes sense, but I wish there was some consistency here too.  And it's just plain stupid and annoying to constantly hear 'I can't tell you,' or 'It's not for you to worry about,' or whatever cop-out it's going to be this time.

Anyway, we still don't know why Luce is sooooo freakin' important that the angels and demons would need to call a truce and battle other forces together to keep her safe.  It was mentioned in the first book that the difference in her current reincarnated life is that her parents had never had her baptized this time, so if she dies this time it's for good, forever.  Ok, that's interesting.  But it does not explain why everyone wants her now and is a threat to her now.  Oooooh, it has something to do with Daniel but oooooooh, we have to wait and be patient while tiny hints are tossed to us along the way.  So far none of it makes any sense.  Luce has been trying to figure this out but of course is getting nowhere on it.  Why would some high ranking angel fall for a teenage mortal girl, so much that he's cast from his place in Heaven and cursed to watch her die over and over again whenever they meet and fall in love?  What is so important about Daniel that the fate of the whole world revolves around whether he can save Luce or not?  If she dies for good this time, he'll side with the demons and the world will explode?  Wow, that's some sway he's got.  But why????  We are given nothing to help us understand.  And it got old a long time ago.

I felt absolutely no bond between Luce and Daniel in this book.  The one good thing in this one was that Luce really starts to question her relationship with him this time around.  She is angry at him for the fact that it's his curse that . . . lifetime after lifetime . . . Luce must die, and her families must suffer.  She is so frustrated that he won't tell her anything, and she's fed up with hearing that she "can't" know the truth or the histories.  And I really do feel for her on those parts.  She questions whether she even wants to be with Daniel this time around.  She's having a normal boy-meets-girl relationship with Miles during all this and she's amazed by how easy it is, how normal, and fun and fulfilling it is.  It just adds to her anger and doubts about Daniel.  THIS part of the story is fabulous.  If the whole book could have focused more on this, it would have been awesome.  But no, for whatever reason, the author keeps throwing in that of course Luce loves Daniel with all her heart, that they were meant to be together, that no one knows her better and blah blah sappy blahbitty blah.  One of the other, lady.  One or the other.

There are all these little arguments that Daniel has been working tirelessly during these couple weeks to keep Luce safe.  Really?  Doing what?  Because we never hear about any of that.  We're just supposed to accept that oohhhh he's on a very important, time consuming mission.  Seems to me all the other little minions are doing the work and risking lives for Luce in his absence.  What does he hope to accomplish in this 18 Day Truce anyway?  We don't know.  We're never told.  Seems like it would have been a whole lot easier (and more interesting) to just keep her with you, where you KNEW she was safe because she wouldn't be running all over, and because the mystery threat isn't after you anyway, Daniel.

So yeah, there is another big battle at the end, and Luce is conveniently whisked away again so none of the loose ends need to be tied up in this one either.  So uh, what will her parents say when they return from walking the dog to find the yard and many things destroyed?  How will those who stayed behind explain that?  I guess we're just not supposed to worry about that, huh, because the story ends with the other angels telling Daniel "We'll take care of it."  And now Daniel needs to go on a search for Luce.  Why?  Because he just wants her back?  Because he just can't live without her?  Because he's afraid of what she'll see in the past?  Or because she's actually in danger?  Who freakin' knows??

Still, I bought the entire series because I had such high hopes, so I will continue reading but I have little to no hope that things will get better.

Huge bummer.

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