Unforgiven: Better than the Original!
It’s funny. The one book in Lauren Kate’s Fallen universe that I was convinced I wouldn’t like – Cam’s story, titled Unforgiven – turned out to be my favorite. The story here obviously isn’t as complex as the original series (only 1 volume compared to 4), and the plot itself is fairly straightforward. There’s no real twists or surprises, yet the simplicity of the storyline is still gripping: can Cam redeem his lost love and win bet against the devil, or not?
I had a myriad of complaints against the other Fallen novels (see previous posts). Not so here. There weren’t any stupid miscommunication issues going on in this story – in fact, Lilith doesn’t even trust Cam, so he’s forced to open up and be honest, which I like. There also weren’t any lines of thought or dialogue that bothered me. Case in point: the devil, known to lie and deceive, actually has a fantastic line of truth in Chapter 4. He says, “If you refuse to do things that are beneath you, you’ll never get much accomplished in this world.” Even Christ, the son of God, came to serve and not to be served.
One of the surprising features of this book (one that actually made it more special to me as a story) were the “interludes” that give glimpses of Cam’s original relationship with Lilith, circa 1000 BC in Jerusalem. They give a wonderful picture of Lilith’s personality and why Cam fell for her. Life back then was obviously simple compared to today, but Lilith as a person was not. She comes across as vibrant and confident. It’s often hard to relate or connect with anyone so far back in history; to me, it usually feels like we don’t have anything in common. That’s not the case with Lilith.
But perhaps my greatest recommendation for this book was how the love plot was built and resolved. Unlike the rest of Fallen, where the love between Daniel and Lucinda led them away from God, Cam’s love in Unforgiven not only redeems Lilith but also himself, as evidenced by the return of his snow-white wings – indicating that his allegiance has shifted away from the devil and towards the purity of love (and presumably, to God). You see, my favorite part of love stories is not when the story gets sexy or romantic (though I admit, I really do enjoy watching the relationship grow and seeing the emotional drama). My favorite part of love stories is how “love conquers all.” Love defies all opposition, overcomes all obstacles, and even defeats evil. That’s what I want to see in a love story – not only because it gives hope for what love can do in our own lives, but it reflects and reminds us of the ultimate love story: how God so loved the world that He gave His only Son to redeem His lost children. And this book perfectly captures the sacrificial nature of love as Cam offers himself in Lilith’s place. To quote Cam’s thoughts in Chapter 14, “In his heart, there was no question that he had to save Lilith. It wasn’t a choice. It was a measure of his love for her.” And that’s the kind of love I want to write about in my own novels.
Overall, I’d say I learned an important lesson about myself from reading all the Fallen books. I can safely say that I don’t think angel stories are my thing, for two reasons. One: I think I expect too much from fictional angels. They are close to God, and therefore they should know better! >< Two: I find that I prefer the really broken characters. Monsters, demons, the unredeemable (such as Cam) – those are the ones I want to save. Not only does that better reflect our stories as humans, but it really showcases the glory and miracle of God’s grace. If He can save them, then He can do anything ;-). And those are the stories that I’m aiming to write!
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.