Saturday, February 12, 2011

Book Review: Torment (first angel review for 'Descent of the Angels' Reading Challenge)

Reviewer's Notes

This is my first angel book for the 2011 "Descent of the Angels" Reading Challenge.  
I wish I had discovered this in January,
so I could have started on it then.  
Well, I'm currently reading Unearthly, so I'll be posting
another angel book review soon!

Author: Lauren Kate
Hardcover, 452 pages
Published by Delacorte Press, 2010
First Edition
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance

The first book in the Fallen series was a real page-turner for me.  The suspense and excitement built as I read, due to Kate’s skillful pacing.  The way the characters were introduced, as well as how they interacted with each other, also contributed to my overall enjoyment of that book.

In contrast, I have very mixed feelings about Torment.  The characters were, indeed, interesting, but the plot moved along much more slowly.  I kept waiting and hoping for a key event to lead inexorably into the next one, only to be disappointed, time after time.  Things suddenly picked up toward the end of the book, only to culminate in a rather disappointing fashion, however.  I am also puzzled by some of the actions of the main characters.Yet, I can’t say I hated the book.  I didn’t love it, either, unfortunately…

Luce wanted answers, and she couldn’t seem to get them from Daniel, her angel boyfriend.  He had hidden her away at Shoreline School, located on the California coast, while he attempted to hunt down the Outcasts, angels who are shunned by both sides in the eternal conflict between good and evil.  These angels wield very unusual weapons – starshots, which are somewhat like arrows, and deadly to both angels and demons, while harmless to humans.

Daniel’s decision to have Luce enroll at Shoreline was supposed to protect her.  He told her that he must also leave her for a few weeks, adding, “If I could be with you, I would.”  To drive the point home, he emphasized that he wouldn’t put her in danger by being around her.  Several pages later, however, he showed up at Shoreline, on the sly, with the excuse that he couldn’t stay away from Luce.  He did this not only once, but at least three times during the course of the novel!  This contradiction is one of the things that bothered me about the book.  A character’s actions should be consistent with that character’s typical pattern of behavior.  Daniel is acting completely out of character here.

Another problem I had with the book is strictly a religious, or spiritual one.  There were two instructors at Shoreline that taught classes together.  No problem there – except for the fact that one of them, Francesca, was an angel, and the other, Steven, a demon.  The narrator also hinted that they were romantically involved.  Now wait a minute!  An angel and a demon, having a romantic relationship?  I simply couldn’t “suspend my disbelief” long enough to accept this.  Angels and demons are poles apart!  At least, they are depicted as being so, in every religious system on this planet.  Furthermore, this particular demon did not act in a despicably evil manner.  In fact, he even helped save the life of a student, at one point.

I did like how the mysterious shadows mentioned in Fallen evolved into Announcers, bearing information from the past.  It was also fascinating to see how Luce interacted with them in order to gather such information. 

I also liked the characters introduced in this installment.  Shelby is even edgier than Arriane, Francesca is appropriately angelic, and Miles is a genuinely nice boy who starts to develop feelings for Luce.  I must express my surprise at Kate’s introducing yet another love interest for Luce, though.  Has Cam suddenly decided to give up the chase?  Again, I find this to be very much out of character.

The ending obviously leads in to the next book, Passion.  I thought it was interesting that Miles suddenly displayed a previously hidden talent that ultimately saved Luce.  However, her impulsive decision at the very end was not satisfactory – I did not finish the book with the feeling that what she did was completely inevitable, and necessary to the story.  Instead, I thought that her action was a bit too contrived, a bit too much of a neat set-up for the next book.  I also didn’t think it was believable, in light of her love for Daniel.

What I liked best about this novel was the background information the reader got on the angels and Announcers.  I also enjoyed the partial revelation of Luce’s past history.  The combination of these elements was one of the things that kept me going until I had finished the novel.   I also finished it because I loved the initial story, as described in Fallen.  I also became enchanted with Daniel.  What girl wouldn’t want an angel for a boyfriend?  (The only other obvious choice, for Twilighters, of course, is Edward Cullen....)

I will summarize by saying that the book is quite interesting, although not quite as absorbing as Fallen.    In spite of this, I am definitely moving on to Passion, once it becomes available.  That's because Kate has succeeded in creating a world and set of characters that are seductively fascinating!


  1. I have this book sitting in my reading pile, though I'm procrastinating getting around to it because I thought Fallen was only so-so. But I love the covers for this series! So darkly haunting and beautiful!

    P.S. Thanks for stopping by and following my blog! I'm now following you as well. :)

  2. Hi, Ava! Yes, the covers are indeed beautiful! But I did like "Fallen" a lot. This second book wasn't as good, unfortunately...

    Thanks for the comment and the follow! : )


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