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Friday, 22 October 2010

Review: Torment

Author: Lauren Kate
Release date: 30th September 2010 UK
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Angel Fiction/ YA
Target audience: 12+

Summary from Amazon:
In Torment fallen angel Daniel and his mortal love Lucinda think they are safe but evil forces are massing against them. As Luce learns more about her past, and discovers that the lives she’s already lived hold the key to her future happiness; she starts to wonder if Daniel has told her the whole truth. What if his version of events isn’t the way things happened? What if that means that she’s really meant to be with someone else?

Torment is pure escapism. It is a journey through truth, lies, the past and being at the heart of making your own choices.

The book spans about three weeks in time. Following on from the end of Fallen, Daniel and Cam are pursing the handshake with angel fervour. Luce is safely stowed away at a new school for the long-diluted descendents of angels and a few mortal scholarship students. The school was an intriguing setting for the book and the characters that Luce meets there all bring life to the story.

In Torment Luce is battling with her frustration that Daniel repeatedly keeps her in the dark. Not knowing the truth of their past lives togther, she finds that trusting him is beyond her. Blind faith is not in her repetoire. For all those who like to moan about young adult heroines being lamb-like and dependent on their male lead I think you will find Luce's refusal to follow instructions rather refreshing.

Sadly, I have very mixed feelings about this novel. I still haven't really resolved them. On the one hand there is the fact that if you just read this book at face value and enjoy it for the story it is, then it is an enjoyable way to pass time on the tube. For me at times this was my reading experience. On the other hand, the quality of the writing left me rather disappointed. It is peppered with "teen speak" which made me cringe. It was almost as if it wanted to be a book written in the first person rather than the third. I could have suspended my disbelief if the whole book had been written from a very teen-esque viewpoint. But I understand that the brevity of the concept would make this very difficult.

The highlight for me was the exploration of the relationship between angels and demons. I liked the fact that God and Satan were reinvented to fit the mythology without the story feeling like a religious text. I also thought the imagery and description of the the contrast between the two angelic fractions was beautiful and evocative. I am interested to see how much further Lauren Kate goes with the leaders of the two "tribes". The novel also got me thinking about Satan in a new light. My whole understanding of angelic mythology comes from Paradise Lost and it got me wondering about the other possible motives for a character like Lucifer to lead a rebellion. Fascinating stuff when you delve into the layers.

Torment didn't reach the addictiveness of Fallen for me. But then perhaps my expectations were too high? It was a great escape and at the heart of the story is a brilliant concept. I guess I just didn't respond so well to the way it was told. I'm definitely going to read Passion though. The angelic representation is enough to make me want a little more.

Thank you to Random House Children's Books for the review copy.


Christina/Book Addict said...

I'm sorry to hear it wasn't as addictive as Fallen. :( Ugh- thanks for the heads up regarding the "teen speak"- that is definitely a turn-off! Thanks for the honest review, Becky!

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

Great review, Becky, very insightful. I don't have any expectations about Torment, I just know I want to read it, since I liked Fallen, but it left me wanting more. I'm worried about the teen speak, since I really don't like it used in descriptions; I only approve of it when characters talk. But I am fascinated by the reinvented mythology you mentioned. I am a sucker for angel and vampire mythology and am always interested in authors trying to add their personal touches to a certain mythology. I also can't wait to read about Cam again - believe it or not (and this is my dirty little pleasure), I like him better than Daniel.:) Again, great review and thanks for sharing!

Lauren said...

I love how honest and balanced this review is. I also really agree about the way Lauren Kate has reimagined the two 'sides' without making the whole thing too religiously charged. While I love books about angels, it's a fine line for me and thankfully this book walks that line without crossing it.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Fascinating review. Thank you for your honesty. I'm interested to experience the reinventing of God you mentioned.