Thomas E. Sniegoski
Simon Pulse (2003)
Aaron Corbett has just turned eighteen, and is quite possibly going crazy. Not only does can he understand foreign languages he has never learned, but his dog, Gabriel, has actually started to talk to him. To top it off, he's been having nightmares about angels, and a strange man has told Aaron that he might have more to do with the angels than he ever could have imagined.
This is a face-paced, action-packed read propelled forward primarily by its plot. Mr. Sniegoski writes efficient, but vivid descriptions that make it unsurprising that these novels were adapted into a miniseries by ABC Family back in 2006-2007. The Fallen is primarily Aaron's book, and though he is likable enough, Mr. Sniegoski's novel does best when it sticks to plot, rather than venturing into its characters' psychologies. Perhaps because of this, Aaron's journey of self-discovery, when he discovers and must come to terms with his true identity, falls a bit flat to me.
Readers of The Fallen, I have questions for you!
The Fallen felt stuck between middle-grade fiction and YA, between the plot-driven, sparse psychology style on the one hand and the age of its protagonist and Sniegoski's one-dollar words on the other. But maybe it is just responding to a different model of YA than that which I ordinarily read (i.e. fantasy with a strong romantic plot line à la Kristen Cashore or Cassandra Clare or "realistic" fiction with heaps of humor and angst à la John Green, Bennett Madison, Natalie Standiford). Simon & Schuster recommends the novel to ages 16+. So: To whom would you recommend this book?
Addendum: The Fallen and its sequels, Leviathan, Aerie, and Reckoning have recently been released as a two-volume set with sexy new cover art.
Though I'm sure the shirtless angel photographs form part of a concerted plan to market the novels to the teen girls who've devoured Hush, Hush (and I have no qualms admitting that I certainly would have been more likely to pick this one up unrecommended solely based on the new covers), I'm not sure that they accurately represent the novel -- at least not the first one. "Sexy" would not be a word I would use to describe The Fallen. But, on the bright side, Sniegoski's abusive angels are not love interests. Amen to that.