I'm rather flummoxed by how a book that had such a promising beginning, could discombobulate so easily toward the middle and turn into a three-alarm Mary Sue alert by the end.
Lucinda (Luce) has been plagued most of her seventeen years (well, presumably not when she was in diapers, because who remembers that?) by mysterious, seemingly sentient shadows. A few months before the start of Fallen, she is at a party, and somehow her love interest gets very dead. Lucinda can't remember what happened beyond the arrival of the shadows. In the aftermath of the boy's death, it is decided that Luce will be enrolled in Sword & Cross reform school. Yeppers. Sword & Cross. Obvious, much?
On day one she instantly becomes one point in a love triangle between dark, handsome and friendly, Cam, and rude, but glowing and golden, Daniel. Le sigh.
Point of confession. I like love triangles. But only if both guys are worth inclusion in the geometry. Daniel is pretty, but a jerk. Because...he really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really likes Luce. Yes, he's seventeen going on ten.
Nevertheless, the mystery of the shadows, the evocative description of the hot humid south, the sexual tension, held the story together well enough for the first 200 pages. As did some of the secondary characters, like Luce's new friends Penn and Arriane.
Trouble is, the story never really progresses beyond atmospheric descriptions of hot summer nights and Luce's desperate need to be with Daniel because he makes her nethers get all tingly and such. I like to rag on Twilight for having a passive heroine, but when compared to Luce, Bella is a superhero.
The cover of Fallen (really cool cover, btw) shows a young woman with her face in her hands, distraught. Which, it turns out, is the most accurate representation of a book's contents possibly ever. Because that's about all Luce does. She mopes over the pretty, pretty boy. Her friend Penn does all the work, researching the history of the Watchers, an ancient group of angels or demon fighters. Or something.
See, that's the other problem with Fallen. The mother-flacking-mystery is never solved. I mean beyond the obvious--Fallen Angels. In fact, the book ends with Daniel telling Luce, (in my head in Jack Nicholson's voice), that she can't handle the truth. The only thing she is told is that she is, I shit you not, kids...."important."
ENTER MARY SUE, STAGE RIGHT
Klunk! That would be my head hitting the desk, brain bouncing in skull.
To further solidify Luce's Mary Sue status, the Epilogue shows...spoiler, but if you've read this far, what difference does it make...Daniel and Cam, combatants in the eternal battle for Luce's [bleep], watching her sleep, pretty much agreeing to continue fighting over the rights to her [bleep].