After three unsuccessful attempts to complete this book, I finally managed to read it cover-to-cover. My initial struggles should have given me some inkling that the remainder of the book would not be much better. Instead, I chose to give this book the benefit of the doubt, convincing myself that the story had to pick up at some point. Fortunately, I chose not to hold my breath.
The dark, mysterious cover, the mention of "fallen angels," and the promise of a tragic love story made this book enticing. I quickly realized that this was not the compelling read I had been expecting. Seventeen-year-old Lucinda Prince, or "Luce" for short, is enrolled in Sword and Cross reform school after she is caught at the scene of a devastating fire. Luce fills the role of the stereotypical "new girl," quickly becoming hopelessly entangled in a love triangle. Both boys are polar opposites, but have one thing in common: they're both hiding something dangerous and potentially deadly. And when their secrets are revealed, Luce realizes that she may be in over her head.
My first complaint is the plot, which moves slower than molasses in January. Approximately 3/4 of the book focuses on Luce's attraction to two of the most popular boys on campus. While I don't usually object to a little romance, I found Luce's constant pining for attention to be a bit excessive. It easily could have been more subtly incorporated into a faster-paced plot. Instead, the author took her time, spelling out every minor detail and leaving nothing to the reader's interpretation. The climax eventually made an appearance in the last 20 pages of the book, resulting in a rushed and confusing conclusion. A more consistent pace throughout the entire book would have made it a much more appealing and engaging read.
My second objection was the characterization, or lack thereof. I struggled through pages upon pages of Luce lusting after Daniel. Luce's incessant obsession with him makes her come across as weak, pathetic, and needy. Her otherwise nonexistent personality made her unrelatable and monotonous. Her predictably poor decisions do little to improve the plot or pacing. The remaining characters are flat and unrealistic, strongly reminding me of those in the Twilight series.
All in all, this book was highly disappointing and caused me unnecessary frustration. The book as a whole was uninteresting and slow due to the sub-par writing style, plot, and characters. For example, the narrator states, "Luce could hear the squish of her own mortification as all of Sword and Cross got its viewing of the meat-loaf-coated new girl." Such statements contributed to my source of aggravation, causing me to question why I hadn't set the book down 50 pages ago. As many other reviewers have stated, this book is an angel-ridden version of Twilight. Enough said.