I *probably* should have known better than to read romantic fiction involving angels. But I went and did it anyway, and now here we are! I’ll try to be as objective as possible, and clear about my opinions when the objectivity isn’t forthcoming.
The series in question here are the Fallen books by Lauren Kate. The story follows Luce, a human girl, as she falls in love with an angel, gets tangled up in the war between heaven and hell, discovers that her past lives are connected to the angels and demons surrounding her now, and finally ends up playing a crucial role in determining the balance between good and evil. Which, on the one hand, sounds like an amazing story. On the other hand, the execution of such a story was not done in a way that I preferred.
I’ll start by saying that the books themselves are very well-written and engaging. The imagery is very vivid – the battles between the forces of heaven and hell are very intense! And I very much enjoyed the time-traveling aspect of the third book, during which Luce is exploring her past lives in order to better understand the history of her relationship with Daniel. (A couple of my Goodreads readers compared my book, The Heart of Everything, with these – probably due to the similar theme of reincarnation for both Emer and Luce – but I’m afraid the comparison ends there.) Perhaps my favorite of her previous reincarnations was the one that took place during the ancient Mayan days: her past self was actually a human sacrifice! O_O (Though, I think I find that so fascinating simply because it’s so different and contrary to our society today.)
But the fact that this series utilized angels as its main characters ruffled my feathers in several ways (pun intended). Part of the intrigue for me was the question of why Daniel, a high-ranking archangel, had fallen for Luce in the first place. What could make a human so special that an angel not only falls in love, but is willing to give up everything for them? Except *spoiler alert!* the answer is actually nothing, as we discover the hidden truth: Luce is really an angel herself, cursed to live as a mortal because of her love for Daniel. So that final plot twist, while quite a surprise, actually ruined some of the angel-mortal fantasy for me.
The ending itself is what you would expect: both Luce and Daniel give up their immortal, angelic existence to spend one mortal lifetime together. I approve, of course – making characters human in order to find their happily-ever-after is what I do in my own books. But when monsters find their humanity, that reflects the redeeming power of love. What does it say when angels (whom I believe were created to serve God) fall from their place of worship and honor to choose romantic love? That love distracts you from your intended purpose? That it destroys who you were created to be?
Not only does the love plotline jar with what I would expect from God’s messengers, but the angels in this story don’t even fit the bill as “angels.” They behave much more like humans. I get that the author is trying to make her supernatural characters relatable, but I tend to view angels and demons as paragons of the virtues or vices that they represent. When they blend together and act more like normal people… well, that takes away from any truth or meaning that comes from these characters being members of a heavenly or unholy court. I didn’t realize I would have this opinion until after reading this series, but other than making a nice visual image of feathery wings and glowing faces, I can’t seem to see any good purpose behind using angels in romance – for these books, or any others.
More on why these books have “Fallen” from my original highly-ranked anticipation in the next post!
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Until the next time, keep reading!
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I have two passions: reading and writing. You can't write good stories without first reading good stories - that's my theory, anyway. So this is where I'll share with you the depth of those passions: background on what and why I write, as well as talking about the books that I read and how they impact my writing.