Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Review: Torment

Author: Lauren Kate
Release date: September 28, 2010
Pages: 464
Read it in: 3 days

The Hook: "How many lives do you need to live before you find someone worth dying for?"

Summary: Hell on earth.

That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel.

It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts— immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something— something dangerous.

What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?

LC's Take:   
**NOTE: This review contains a few spoilers and a lot of ranting**

Torment took me a little while to get into, simply because I had long forgotten pretty much everything that had happened in the first book, Fallen. To refresh your memory (and mine) Luce is the main character and she has been haunted her whole life by what she calls "the Shadows." She is caught between two guys that she meets at Sword & Cross reform school: Daniel and Cam. Daniel is an angel and Cam is a demon-- but it was never really made clear who was distinctly good or evil. Book One ended with a lot of unanswered questions-- and **spoiler** so does Book Two.

~Brief synopsis~

We quickly learn that there is some new evil trying to kill Luce besides the Elders from Book One, called the Outcasts, and they are the very worst kind of angels. Caught between Heaven and Hell, they control the deadliest weapon known to angels and demons alike. To protect Luce from the Outcasts, Daniel and Cam form a Truce that will last 18 days. Meanwhile, Luce is sent to another school in California called "Shoreline," where the students are made up of celestial beings called "Nephilim"-- the offspring of angels and humans. Luce then spends the whole book trying to figure out her past lives with Daniel and why he has left her at this new school...

~Thoughts~

I need to preface this review by saying that, even though I do have major issues with the Fallen series (and this book in particular), I still for some unknown reason enjoy reading these books. (And even more, I love reading what people have to say about them.) The whole human-girl-falls-for-fallen-angel-and-now-celestial-beings-are-out-to-destroy-her plot line is intriguing, even though (in my opinion) poorly done. Also, I was extremely lenient to the point of being too generous with LK's first book Fallen. See that review here. That being said, Torment was an obnoxious repeat of the first book.

So... let the ranting begin!
  • It felt like Luce did nothing but pine away after Daniel-- Yes, she missed him while she was at the new school, but holy crap, did we have to be reminded every other paragraph? You're going to see him in 18 days! It got real old real quick, having to listen to Luce go on and on (and on AND ON) about how much she misses Daniel, she wishes Daniel was there, she can't stop thinking about Daniel, Daniel is so beautiful, oh my god, Daniel! Please, get a grip already. 
  • While we're on the subject, seriously don't even get me started on brooding, chauvinistic Edward Daniel. If you've read even 2 pages where Daniel is involved, you already know that he's a controlling douche-bag with perfect blond hair and zero personality who treats Luce like crap. (Do you remember that Daniel's first social interaction with Luce from the first book is to flip her off??) Spare me.
  • Why did the author have to make Luce such a clueless and dimwitted airhead? Like when she fell for the obviously shady fake note supposedly written by Daniel to lure her outside of school grounds-- um, hello, he just warned you like 5 pages back NOT to leave the school, and then you immediately catch a bus into town after finding a TYPED note at your door telling you to leave the school, and then almost die! Dumb and gullible? Yeah, I would say so. I get that the author wanted to set up a situation where Luce runs into Cam again and learns about the Outcasts, but did she have to do it at the expense of making Luce seem like the biggest idiot ever? If you are going to throw your heroine into dangerous, life-threatening situations where she has to be rescued again and again, can't you at least give her a little credit and not make everything the result of her own stupidity?
  • Added to this, we are kept just as clueless throughout the book as Luce is-- not a big change from Fallen. At every turn where we might grasp onto some pertinent piece of information that holds the key to what on earth is going on, we're frustratingly disappointed. Oh, we're gonna find out something meaningful here! Oops, nope-- false alarm. Meanwhile Luce continually gets into scrapes and needs to be saved because she's totally left in the dark about what's happening. Really Ms. Kate, give the girl (and us) something to go on!! Where are the Elders from Book One? Who are the Outcasts? Why are the demons siding with angels? There's a premonition of some great war? What the heck is going on in this book?? I'm sorry but at SOME point, you need to explain SOMETHING to your readers. Any little scrap of information would be GREATLY appreciated... 
  • What is up with the 18-day Truce going on between Cam and Daniel? It is all kept very wishy-washy and vague, but then it's made out to be some really big deal, since every chapter after the prologue counts down to the end of it. And then at the end, after building up all this suspense and anticipation, nothing happens. Like, nothing. No epic battle, no explanations or loose ends tied, no background to Luce and Daniel's story that we didn't know already-- nada. It was pretty much a big confusing let down with some lame angel-fight in the backyard, leading us no closer to knowing where this whole story and series is going than the first book. It just seemed like a lot of pointless filler and fluff.
  • I wish I could describe Luce's character without using the term "Mary Sue" but gosh darn it, I just can't. She's a wish-fulfilling Mary Sue, through and through. I mean she and Bella could be twin sisters for crying out loud. She thinks she isn't good-looking, yet she has every stinking guy drooling over her, she's continually in trouble and needs to be rescued, she has a mind-numbingly vapid personality, and she's also continually psycho-obsessive over her uber-controlling boyfriend. And speaking of Twilight references, Torment is also full of  insanely unnecessary details (literally, there are like 2 pages dedicated to what Luce and her friends order to eat at an IHOP in Las Vegas. I swear I'm not making this up.) 
  • Speaking of unnecessary, did we really need yet another jealous guy falling all over Luce? Isn't Miles just another version of Cam? A guy to distract Luce from Daniel? Now we have three guys vying for Luce's love and attention. Dude, this is getting out of control.  
  • And here is one of the biggest issues that I have with this series thus far: The titles, the cover art, the summaries-- all of these things market the Fallen series as being serious, dark, and Gothic. But when you read the actual books they're... how do I put this... corny as all get out? The characters are just so unbelievable and their dialog and actions are so ridiculously dorky to me, that I just couldn't take them or the story seriously. (LK: How does one "waggle" their eyebrows? PLEASE explain to me what on earth you mean when you say this because it's driving me insane!) I must have rolled my eyes a couple hundred different times throughout the book, due to the fact that it was such an enormous cheese-fest. And I'm sorry, but it takes more than insanely gorgeous cover art to make a good series (Case in point: Wicked Lovely). I'm over the cover art already. 
So at this point you may be asking yourself: If you weren't all that pumped about Fallen, why the heck did you pick up Torment? Well, despite my rants, I am still entertained by this series, and might take just the slightest of guilty pleasures in saying what irks me about them. I know, it's horrible to take pleasure in writing ranting reviews, but I do it with the disclaimer that I am still ultimately and inexplicably attracted to these books. Even though it's a total hot mess, I just can't look away. I will probably still read both Passion and Rapture when they come out, even though my expectations for them are about 2 millimeters above my toes, and there's pretty much no way I can take these books seriously in any sense of the word. This series is truly epic for all the wrong reasons.


LC's Rating:
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I have a love-hate relationship with the Fallen books. I hate the fact that they're popular to begin with, but I love reading them anyways because 1.) they're terrible (like really terrible) entertainment and 2.) I practically die laughing from reading the other rants from fellow readers about them-- hence, the two stars. My advice is to not think too hard about the merits of literature whilst reading this book and it might actually pass for being somewhat enjoyable-- albeit in a mindless and brain-numbing kind of way.
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8 comments:

  1. 2???

    Dude... I still haven't read Fallen and you're not making me want to!! LOL!
    The Bookish Brunette!

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  2. Get it from the library, puh-lease save yourself from being sucked into buying it! Haha :) Like I said, it's fun to read and then hear what everyone couldn't stand about it, kind of like Twilight. It's not that bad actually, I liked Fallen and Torment better than Wicked Lovely, which was so boring I almost DNF-ed it...

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  3. I've had fallen sat on my TBR pile for quite a while now and I just can't seem to get motivated to pick it up.

    This was an absolutely great review!

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  4. Thanks Jules!

    I know I am giving the impression here that there is nothing good about LK's writing-- but actually, she does do some things really well. I've noticed that she is very good at "creating mood," whether it was dreary, muggy Georgia or cool, windy San Francisco-- you def get the sense of where this story is taking place, and that's not always an easy thing to do...

    Also, the story is pretty good-- it's just that with 4 books, it drags on and could have been much better condensed into 2. I have a feeling this was the publisher's doing (more books, more $$$), which is too bad.

    Here's hoping the last 2 in the series get better!!

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  5. Hey stopping by from follow friday, great choices & great blog! Looking forward to more posts. Have a great weekend. New follower!

    Darcy @ Open Book Empty Cup

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  6. That's how I felt when I read it! I thought nothing really happened and it was basically a pointless book after the first one.

    -Jessica ( Peace Love Books )

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  7. Darcy~ Thanks for the compliments, I always love hearing from my followers :)

    Jessica~ Glad you felt the same way-- I didn't mean to be so critical, but I DID give Fallen a chance, so after that it's hard to read a second book without any answers or explanations too! Well, here's to hoping the last 2 improve :)

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  8. This is an excellent review! Fallen was the first YA angel book I read and I thought it was pretty good, but I may have to go back and reread now that I've read halfway decent books!
    Also, I agree with NOTHING being explained in any of the books, not even in Passion! We want information!!!

    -Taneika :)

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