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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

'Passion'? Sorry, for me it was more like 'Mixed Feelings'...

Another review for you all!  Passion is released tomorrow and should be available in all good bookshops - and much as I squirm at passing this information on, for UK readers, Amazon has it at better-than-half-price until Sunday night, as one of its Deals of the Week.  Oh, and in case you missed it, you can read my blog-tour interview with Lauren Kate HERE.

REVIEW: PASSION (3.5*)
by Lauren Kate (Doubleday, 2011)

*WARNING - SPOILERS FOR 'FALLEN' AND 'TORMENT'!*

I have mixed feelings about this one. I hate to say it, but I think Passion might turn out to be Lauren Kate's New Moon - the installment that's more filler than thriller. As fans of the Fallen series will be aware, Torment ended with a tremendous battle of angels vs Outcasts. At the last moment Luce hopped into an Announcer in her attempt to start working out how to break the curse hanging over her - with Daniel, Cam, Shelby and Miles hot on her heels, of course.

Passion picks up at that moment, plunging the reader straight into Luce's quest for understanding. The novel is a hop, a skip and a jump backwards in time through a selection of Luce's many lives, as she seeks answers by immersing herself in each Lucinda's world, watching her past selves interact with Daniel, and ultimately, watching each of them die the same fiery death that she herself has so far managed to escape. Daniel hops along behind for a while before realising that he has his own answers to find before he catches up with her again.

The book definitely gets better as it goes on. Some of the earlier jaunts - to Moscow, for example - are fairly forgettable, because the reader is just as clueless as Luce at that point! There is also one terribly clichéd jaunt to the Globe Theatre, where she and Daniel just happen to be pals with Shakespeare himself - that jarred a bit. Other 'lives' are more interesting and fascinating to read, including a thrilling chapter set in the Mayan city of Chichén Itzá, and a spectacular ringside view of the Fall itself. Once Daniel stops blindly following Luce, we also get more insight into him as a character, which was very welcome for me; finally, in this book, he becomes less 'enigmatic man-angel' and more human.

One thing that really shone through for me was how much Lauren enjoyed writing this book. You can tell that she had fun playing around with the time travel element and the forays into major civilisations across the world - though at times, I have to say, it became quite predictable. Shakespeare's London? Check! Ancient Egypt? Check! 18th century Versailles? Check! I also missed the grounding humour of characters like Shelby, Cam and Arriane, who in previous books were a great counterfoil for the intensity of the very inward-looking romance.

All in all, I think Kate has laid a solid foundation in this novel for a truly epic finale to the series (Rapture, out next year) in which all of the characters will have an opportunity to really stretch their wings - no pun intended! The questions raised by the last two books are starting to pull together, and she ends with a real 'how the hell are they going to get out of this one?' cliffhanger which already has me excited for book four. I definitely recommend this to fans of the series - I didn't like it as much as the previous two novels but I think the star-cross'd lovers really needed this journey through their pasts to set the stage for THE BIG ONE!

Note: Many thanks to Random House Children's Books, who sent this book for review. 

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