Monday, April 16, 2012

The Light and the Fallen by Anna White

Title: The Light and the Fallen
Series: Chronicles of the Nephilim
Author: Anna White
Length: 3300 Kindle units
Rating: 4 stars

The Plot

The angel Lucian has come down to earth for a very important reason. Unfortunately, he has no idea what that is, or why he has been stuck in the body of a high school senior. He is supposed to be drawn toward his purpose, but the only thing that catches his attention is his classmate Samara. He knows that his human body’s attraction to the girl has nothing to do with his mission, but he can’t seem to stop himself from falling in love with her. And when the forces of the Fallen seem interested in her as well, he has to decide what is more important, his mission or his heart?

The Good

The very best thing about The Light and the Fallen is that the proceeds are all going toward funding a well in Africa, which should be reason enough on its own to buy it. I mean, you not only get to support an indie author, but you get to help people in Africa have clean water. And you get to read the book too! It’s a win all around.

Of course, the book is quite readable as well, or I would tell you to just donate money to The Water Project yourself (which is what people tell me when I buy red Apple products, except about helping AIDS victims). The story unites three perspectives of the angel Lucien, the Fallen angel Jack, and the entirely ignorant-of-the-supernatural human Samara. I find Samara’s perspective particularly sympathetic, as her father has been missing and presumed dead for the past three months. Her mother has become totally withdrawn, and Samara has no idea how to communicate with her classmates in the face of such a tragedy.

The Bad

The Light and the Fallen starts off kind of slow. And by slow in this case, I mostly mean really weird. The first few chapters deal with Lucian leaving heaven and going to earth, which, as I’m sure you can imagine, is a difficult process to describe. I think I would have skipped most of that and gone straight to him being on earth looking for the key.

In some scenes, the viewpoint switched back and forth between different perspectives, which resulted in a single scene sometimes comprising three or four short chapters. This made reading a bit choppy. At this point, it would be entirely fair of you to say, “But, Elizabeth, if I were to have multiple perspectives next to each other in the same chapter, you would come down on me for using omniscient third person.” I would agree with you and say that this choppy style is preferable to that. However, it would probably be optimal to have each scene from a single perspective. Of course, then the reader would probably lose information, and all I can say to that is that writing a book is hard and there are any number of tradeoffs.

The Romance

Seemingly ordinary human Samara has not one but two angels interested in her. Of course, one of these angels, Jack, is on the side of the Fallen and only wants her because she continually rejects him. Oh, and because his being with her will bother Lucian. I would have liked to see a little more depth to this relationship, like Jack actually coming to like her, but, then, when dealing with demons, we often have to be disappointed that they repeatedly choose the path of evil.

Lucian, on the other hand, has very complicated emotions regarding Samara. He is instantly drawn to her, but he attributes this to the desires of his human body and something to be ignored as much as possible. Thus begins his book-long struggle of trying to focus on his angelic duties when all he really wants is to be with Samara. We have to feel bad for him, but we have to feel even worse for Samara, who has no clue why her quasi-boyfriend is such a basket case.

Will I read more?

There is definitely enough in this book to keep me interested in the story. I had a feeling from the beginning that Samara’s missing-and-presumed-dead father was going to be an important plot point, but that has not played out yet. I would like to see where that goes. Also, I’m feeling bad enough that my free review copy isn’t saving any lives in Africa, so I have to get the next one so I can feel like I’m achieving something.

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