17 year old Luce has just arrived at Sword and Cross, a reform school for troubled teens. She's shut away from her family and friends, from her normal life after one tragic event months ago left her with a burden she can hardly bare.
Once there she meets two boys. Cam, who's friendly and welcoming, and Daniel, who constantly pushes her away. But it's Daniel, Luce can't stop thinking about. And she can't shake the feeling that she's met him before. Before long things become tangled, her affections for both guys making things hard for her at Sword and Cross. She arrived determined to keep her burden to herself, but soon she realises that everyone has secret burdens to share. Some far bigger than her own.
Before reading this book, I'd heard good and bad things about it, but fallen angels and forbidden love, how could I not try it? Honestly, I mostly wish I hadn't bothered. The prologue captures interest well, made me think I was in for a decent story, sadly I was quickly proven wrong. The first half is basically all the same things, over and over. Luce unhappy, wanting Daniel, Daniel pushing her away, liking Cam, Cam liking her, seeing 'shadows' that scare her, have scared her, her whole life. It was a continuous loop. Very slow and pretty dull.
Luce was pretty wrapped up in Daniel and didn't seem to fussed about anything else. Instead of questioning his behaviour or ignoring him, she just mooned after him. Very Twilight. You keep being told about the shadows bothering her, but it's all the same thing through the first half, constantly mentioning the places they're worst, that they do this or that but not the other. Likewise, Luce's secret, the reason she's there, it kept being brought up, but never with more detail than before, never in a different way, always with the same background.
Around halfway, things did begin to pick up. More started happening and while Luce's character never stopped being the flat, simpering girl she is, there was at least a little more plot. Around the three quarters mark, things picked up further and it actually became a semi-decent read. Luce still annoyed me, but there was enough going on that I could ignore it for a bit.
The ending could have been worse, but it was a bit too over dramatic in an annoying way. The epilogue though, now that I could do with more of. Unlike the rest of the book, the epilogue is from Daniels POV (though still told in third person, like the rest of the book) and it held far more interest. There was interaction between him and another character, one I won't name for spoiler reasons, that was...interesting. A plot twist with unknown consequences that was much more interesting than Luce and Daniel's tormented love story.
Overall, this book could have really done with at least a hundred pages from the first half being cut. Would have stopped it dragging quite so much. Even so, I don't think I'd have been very impressed. Fans of Twilight will probably enjoy this, it's got the same obsessive love story with some paranormal thrown in for good measure. If however, like me, you prefer your protagonists thinking about more than just A Guy, then chances are, this isn't for you. This book unfortunately probably lends to the theory that all young adult books feature weak, love sick girls. Not something I really think should be promoted quite so highly as it is. Some recs if you're looking for more from a book: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead and Strange Angels by Lili St Crow.
Will I be picking up the second book, Torment, in the Fall? Very unlikely. 3/10 [1 mark simply for the stunning cover, which I adore.]