for Young Readers
by Lauren Kate
Book two picks up where book one in the series, Fallen, leaves off; Luce is whisked away by boyfriend Daniel to a temporary, yet safer, secret location to continue her schooling. Where Sword and Cross was all cobwebs and shadow, her new school, Shoreline, is sunshine and designer shades, but the bright setting does little to resolve Luce’s mysterious past. Here too, characters are not all that they seem. Shoreline is a school for Nephilim, kids with part-angel lineage, who serve to hide Luce from the dangerous "Outcasts" who are hunting her. A clever hiding place, but what Daniel doesn’t expect is that Luce might learn more than he ever wanted her to know, and this knowledge might cost him her love, and Luce’s life.
The strength in this novel is the illumination of the elusive "shadows" and what they actually begin to reveal to Luce about her history with Daniel. The flashbacks to Luce’s prior lives are interesting, although they would have been richer if they had delved even farther to Luce’s past (say, a thousand years back). Additionally, Luce’s roommate, Shelby, whose gruff snobbery at first seems off-putting, is a nice touch to the story and actually becomes a beloved character—someone who grows on the reader and enamors herself to readers through her sharp wit. What suffers in this story is the relationship between Daniel and Luce. Daniel comes off as a real jerk, always bossing Luce around and treating her like she’s fragile; who would want someone like this for a boyfriend even if he looks good and has supernatural powers? The chemistry between the two simply disappears in the midst of their constant bickering, and the new love-interest, smokin’-hot classmate Miles, isn’t a well-developed enough character to be a convincing temptation for Luce. Perhaps most disappointing is Luce herself. I understand that her love defies the ages and all, but I cringe when she actually says, "who am I without [Daniel]?" Ouch. Of course, those who adore Luce’s character (like every single supporting character in this novel) will forgive Luce her sappery and look forward to book three. But those who didn’t bond with Luce in book one might opt out of the next installment.