Saturday, July 23, 2011

Passion, a Fallen novel by Lauren Kate (a book review)

Passion is the third (but not final) installment in the Fallen series. The second book, Torment, ends with the protagonist Luce jumping into an Announcer (kind of a shadowy, past memory/time portal device), as she is frustrated with her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel, who won’t tell her anything about their past lives together or the curse that has plagued them for centuries, destining Luce to repeat her life, birth through age seventeen, again and again. Passion is almost exclusively a time jumping tour (feels a little like Groundhog Day goes island hopping), each trip taking her further back into the past with Luce learning a little more about the curse and the triggers that end her life each time, perpetuating her circuitous rebirth.
This is one series I look forward to, one that doesn’t merely get tossed on top of my teetering “To Be Read” pile.  Luce and Daniel are definitely one of the swooniest couples in current YA paranormal romance (anyone who knows me, knows I love my swoon). And this book has plenty…dare I say almost too much. Almost. I can’t believe I just said that! Excuse me while I wash my proverbial mouth out with soap. But alas, it’s true. I learned that even I  have a limit and this book took me right to the edge and dangled my ‘ruby slipper red’ pedicured tootsies over it. So, fellow swooners, rejoice. 
Ms. Kate seems to have had some fun with this book, imagining her characters in different times and parts of the world and how the social conventions of those would affect the couple’s relationship. World Wars I and II are covered. Also 1800 England, 1700 Tibet and France, all the way back until the years tick in reverse, 1046 BCE China and 3100 BCE Egypt. This novel is a bit of  a bonus for lovers of paranormal and historical fiction. 
At this time, I’d like to tip my hat to Ms. Kate for creating a male and female character I adore. Thing is, it’s not Luce or Daniel.  Supporting cast Arriane and Cam win that prize. Now for a deep, dark, secret confession few know: I generally don’t like female characters. Trust me, I want to be all girl power, but very few of the fictional fairer sex garner my admiration. Arriane is a street smart, tough cookie of a fallen angel, capable of kicking any guy’s tail feathers. We get to see loads of her in Fallen, one great scene in Torment,  and barely at all in Passion. L I’d have loved one big scene in Luce’s past life with Arriane, (perhaps while cast in the trappings of frills, lace, and a corset), seriously clocking someone.
So clearly for me…it’s all about the boys. And in this case, Cam, a superbly written character with a crystal clear voice. If Cam saunters into a scene, you know who is speaking long before the first dialogue tag. He’s a demon who’s a little bit sexy and a whole lotta sarcastic. My favorite combination. And we certainly get more of Cam in this book than the last (though I confess, I was still left uttering to Ms. Kate, “Please, mum, can I have some more?”). 
Parental note and potential spoilers: There is very little foul language, perhaps the only usage being H. E. double hockey sticks. All three books contain very descript kisses (Lauren Kate is one of the best writers of kisses) and some very non-descript wandering hands over fully clothed bodies. Keep in mind, Disney has optioned this series, so it would be a good ‘mom/daughter read together’ before it’s in the theaters (Dear Disney producer people: Think Pirates. This series is a bit dark. Respect it. Thank you. P.S. I’ll be there opening night). 
In closing, I say, read the books, don’t wait for the movies.  J

    --Suzi Ryan

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