Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review: The Fallen (The Nine Lives of Chloe King)

Chloe King was a normal sixteen-year-old girl.

She did her homework and got good grades, but she wasn't afraid to ditch class sometimes to hang out with her best friends. She slept at home, but otherwise avoided all human contact with her mom. The usual stuff.

Then she fell from San Francisco's highest tower, and her life changed. For starters, she died. And then, she woke up.

Now Chloe's life is anything but normal: Suddenly guys are prowling around her, she's growing claws, and someone's trying to kill her.

Luckily for Chloe, she still has eight lives to go.

Maybe it was because I watched the TV show and then read the books, but whatever the cause I was hugely disappointed with the series. I’ve thought long and hard on whether or not watching the series first was what ruined the books for me, but I honestly don’t think that was it. Yes, I had a general idea of what was going to happen, but since the books and the TV were divergent I was still genuinely surprised by the events of the book.

Or at least I would have been genuinely surprised by the events of the book if anything had actually happened in The Fallen, but nothing did. It was 200 pages of teen angst and treading water with 50 pages of decent action crammed in right at the end. It I didn’t already have an idea where all of this was going I would have been completely lost by the plodding pace of everything.

The girl not only survived but walked away from a (drunken) fall from a really tall tower, and it still took her half the book to realize there was something different about her. I personally found this hard to believe since I grew up with Saturday morning cartoons, X-Men, Smallville (which was even given a nod in this book), so I have a hard time buying that it took Chloe so long to catch on to the fact that she had super powers. To add insult to injury one of her best friends was even a comic book nerd.

Also, Book One of The Nine Lives of Chloe King was one of those books that falls pray to trying too hard to be relevant to “kids today.” Skipping class, punks, gangsta’s, making out in the janitor’s closet, smoking, drinking, double dipping: it was all tossed in there, but what was, I’m sure, intended to give the book a more natural feel just made everything feel staged. The few things that really could have made the book stand out like the no kissing humans thing or Amy making her own clothes was vastly under played in favor of the easy cop out. Chloe could have been a truly unique and likeable character, but instead all she amounted to was a bitchy, rebellious teenager that was a little to much like the teenaged girl stereotype many of us get pigeonholed as.

The one aspect of Celia’s writing that truly impressed me was her use of zoomorphism. I may not have enjoyed the story, but reading The Fallen definitely helped me improve that aspect of my writing. I feel like I’m better equip to write about one of my own characters after reading Celia’s descriptions of Chloe’s traits.


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