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Lauren Kate – Torment

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Daniel leaves Luce just as Edward leaves Bella, but at least Daniel comes back many times throughout the book.

Publisher: Doubleday (Random House)
Pages: 452
Type: Fiction
Age: Young Adult
ISBN: 978-0-385-61809-0
First Published: 28th September 2010
Date Reviewed: 23rd January 2011
Rating: 2.5/5

Even if I absolutely hate a book, I’m always willing to give the author a second chance. This was Kate’s chance to prove herself, however I was constantly considering abandoning Torment because for the most part it remained just as bad as Fallen.

Daniel takes Luce to the other side of America where she enrols at a school that’s at the opposite end of the spectrum to Sword & Cross. Told to stay there for her protection, Luce makes friends with Nephilim and attends lessons taught by fallen angels. Meanwhile Daniel and Cam work to stop the new common enemy from kidnapping her. But Luce is unlikely to stay put all the time, especially as she wants to learn more about her past lives.

The biggest problem with Fallen, to my mind, was that there was no reasoning to the love story. Luce just trusted Daniel when he harped on about her past lives – she never questioned it – which is why it’s good that Kate finally has her thinking about those lives in Torment. However a lot more could have been done. Luce delves into the past but she still doesn’t contemplate why she loves Daniel, it’s still the case that she’s been told she does and so that’s why she does. And there is a more general reason for this:

The relationship between them is severely underdeveloped. If Luce and Daniel had just a quick fling it would be ok to not know about them, but considering theirs is supposed to be a relationship spanning thousands of years, one requires more information than simply what they feel about each other’s physical appearance. Luce is as dull as a milk bottle. She does appear to have an interest, swimming, but it’s rarely addressed and thus causes you to wonder if she really enjoys it. Kate does ultimately addresses this, albeit accidentally:

“I don’t want you to be anyone other than who you are.”
“Which is who, Daniel? Because if you know the answer to that, feel free to clue me in.”

Following on from this, one must ask why there is such a big deal made over this particular relationship when Luce is going to a school full of children who are the product of human/angel couplings – why aren’t those parents being blasted too? Kate says somewhere in the middle of the book that it’s because Daniel is the angel whose future choice between good or evil is the one that will tip the scales and is therefore the most important, but again she provides no reasons. She says Daniel was an important angel, but unless she is going to purposefully yank the well-known archangels from their seats to create an ever more fictional story then he is of no significance.

It takes until the end of the book for Luce to finally start enjoying herself because otherwise, every time she thinks she might be, she reminds herself that Daniel isn’t there. The end of this book suggests that Luce might actually grow some balls in the next, which would be a very belated relief.

The vast majority of this book is terrible and it’s apparent that little to no research has been conducted. It reads like a cheesy fan-fiction, as an outline for a story rather than the story itself, and Kate appears to have no idea about grammar and word usage.

So here is where I explain why I’ve not given the book a zero. It takes until past the halfway mark for the story to start improving, but I’m pleasantly surprised to say that although it’s not Austen, a change in scenery makes up for a lot. Kate shows that she does have a bit of an imagination. At length she wrenches herself away from her Stephenie Meyer backbone and includes some interesting action. She shows what she can be if she creates her own mould.

I’m struggling with the notion that scholarship pupils pay their way by waiting on the other pupils at breakfast, and that a publishing house will, in this day and age, allow an author to keep a highly offensive paragraph calling a stumbling person a spaz and describing why they are so, but at least there is an improvement to the series.

Will I read the third book? I can’t say. I’m reluctant, because I don’t think Kate will carry the story as well as the opportunity has presented it. Would I recommend a person to read Fallen because Torment gets better? No. But if, like me, you invested your time in Fallen, you may feel better about it if you continue onto Torment.

Kate has proved that she has the ability to be better than she was and that her series might be going somewhere. Hopefully she will include in that a lesson in computing so that next time Luce sends an email, she doesn’t send it twice.

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