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Series: Fallen Star #1
Rating: 3 of 5 stars
For eighteen year-old Gemma, life has never been normal. Up until recently, she has been incapable of feeling emotion. And when she’s around Alex, the gorgeous new guy at school, she can feel electricity that makes her skin buzz. Not to mention the monsters that haunt her nightmares have crossed over into real-life. But with Alex seeming to hate her and secrets popping up everywhere, Gemma’s life is turning into a chaotic mess. Things that shouldn’t be real suddenly seem to exist. And as her world falls apart, figuring out the secrets of her past becomes a matter of life and death.
There’s a phrase, an acronym really, DIB. The first and only writer’s group I was ever a part of, Houston Writers’ Guild, made this phrase readily available to me because we would go around in a circle, reading each other’s manuscripts, and on our copy of the manuscript you’d write suggestions or corrections or comments or questions. Every once in a while, you’d come across a word, or line, or paragraph, or scene, so lackluster but with so much potential, that your only option as a reader to better this person’s manuscript was to circle the word/line/paragraph/scene/whatever and write, “DIB!” Do It Better. It means there’s nothing that us readers can do for you, the writer, except urge you to try something different because all is not lost within the circled circumference, but something has to be done.
I kind of wanted to take my red editor pen across the whole second half of this book and DIB the lights out of it.
Don’t get me wrong, I went in expecting an excruciating Twilight knockoff-esqe experience, so that I surfaced on the other side with my sanity intact should speak volumes of my opinion on The Fallen Star. In fact, I downright enjoyed the heck out of it. But I feel the plot of this story was a little meandering in focus and execution.
Let me try to gather my thoughts because there are some pretty specific comments I want to come across in this review.
The Fallen Star starts out as a typical teenager wasteland with a few highlights few and far between. Case 1: Gemma’s recurring nightmare of being frozen to death by yellow-eyed monsters. Case 2: She’s begun to feel emotional lately–and that’s strange because she’s literally never felt emotions before a strange sensation brings a new one along. Case 3: She is in love with astronomy class. (Never mind the fact that it was the only class ever mentioned, so I couldn’t even be pretend to be surprised when all the important stuff happened there. The only Twilight aspect I spotted, recalling the importance of biology on Bella and Edward’s relationship. Moving on! Also, are there schools out there that offer astronomy is real life? Never heard of such a thing. Maybe I’m expecting too much. And YAWN at the curriculum. It was abecedarian at best, not high school0level anything, astronomy or otherwise.) Case 4: Two new students, one of which is a boy, Alex, and ignites a strange sensation in our protagonist, Gemma, like electricity.
That’s pretty much it for the first half. Seemed pretty standard “girl has to discover what the new guy in school has to do with her in a big way” storyline. Then they go on a field trip, some freaky stuff happens, and everything gets thrown out of whack. We never see that part of the story again. No more school, no one gives two fucks about astronomy, Alex and Gemma basically end up hating each other, and ten million more things step in between them in the half-normalcy of the beginning of the book. And quickly.
I mean, out of nowhere, there are vampires, special swords, people who can see into the future and past, witches, an organization of humans constructed to keep the world from coming to harm–the Keepers, and loads more! At this point, I was rolling my eyes. I cared less about Twilight references and more about trying to differentiating them from City of Bones, et al. Honestly. There were very unique variations, of course, but it was all so TMI for a while there.
What bothered me the most was the unnecessary “need” to have the love interest seem as if he were goading the protagonist. Alex and Gemma bickered, for the most part, about nothing. Every interaction that happened between the characters, particularly those two, seemed dictated by the plot. Even Gemma putting the pieces together at the end felt forced! She’d think something like, I couldn’t be sure, but earlier I had an idea and I wanted to ask Alex about it. “Hey, Alex, I was thinking, and I have to ask you something.” It got tiring.
Somehow, though, I still ended up enjoying the heck out of this. Because, as corny and contrived as it could be at times, it had just as many redeeming moments I wanted to dive further into. The writing was only a few steps short of gripping. Like I said, it just needed a little push from a DIB-er, somewhere. I do believe that what it lacked in intensity it made up for in creativity, so I’ll give Sorensen that much, and I’m already all for reading the rest of the series (as of my completion of The Fallen Star). I’m actually pretty excited to see what happens from here. That ending killed.
It’s not magic, but something about it is pretty spellbinding.