Torment, the second book in Lauren Kate’s Fallen series, picks up after Luce and Daniel’s showdown with Cam at their reform school, Sword and Cross. It opens with Daniel bringing Luce out to a new boarding school in California. Shoreline is the polar opposite of Sword and Cross. Gone is the gothic architecture, Spanish moss and black clothes. Shoreline is a sunny, beach-front property filled with rich Nephilim kids. Luce even bleaches her hair blond. Daniel stashes Luce there with orders to stay on campus and lie low while he leaves her on some mysterious errand to keep her safe.
I really hate to say this, but Daniel comes off like a total dick in this book. He orders Luce around and scolds her like a naughty puppy when she breaks his rules. The worst part is he refuses to answer any of her questions as to why he wants her to do certain things. If she just knew what was at stake, maybe she would have listened to him a bit more. While I really liked the fact that Luce is beginning to question the overall healthiness of this relationship, it annoyed me that the minute she & Daniel were in the same room, she would run right into his arms. Gag me. I also was annoyed by Luce’s whining about missing Daniel when they had only been parted for a couple of days. Is it too much to ask for a YA heroine with a backbone?
While the last book’s love triangle revolved around Luce, Daniel and Cam, I was disappointed to read this book’s love triangle was between Luce, Daniel and a new character, Miles. Is it a love square now? How does Cam fit in this whole thing? Cam is basically a non-entity this whole book. He appears now and then, but really doesn’t have much of a role. I really liked Cam in the last book and in many ways found him more interesting than Daniel. To replace his sexy danger with Miles’s sweetness was a major let down.
Before you get the idea that I hated this book, let me point out what I liked about it. Some of the new characters were interesting. I really did like Miles, even if he was no replacement for Cam. He was the catalyst for Luce to realize her relationship with Daniel might not be the best thing for her and the people she loves. Her new roommate Shelby was okay, but again, no replacement for the fun craziness of Arien.
I also liked that this book is less about the black and white conflict between angels and demons, but revolves more around the shifting lines of good and evil. This is illustrated well in the relationship between two of Luce’s teachers, Francesca (angel) and Steven (demon). Not only do they co-teach classes in order to give the students a balanced point of view, but they are a loving couple outside the classroom as well. This blurring of the lines causes Luce to question a lot of her attitudes about the world, although I don’t know that she ever came to any real epiphany about it.
Even though my reviews are mixed, I will definitely be reading the next book, Passion, when it comes out. Overall, I give Torment…
Plot – 3 ½ bookmarks
Character development – 2 ½ bookmarks (Daniel was a jerk, and Luce fell short of what she could have been.)
Love story – 1 bookmark (Unhealthy and annoying. I hate it when characters won’t communicate.)
World building – 4 bookmarks (I like what she is doing with the shadows.)
Dream cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Vanessa Marano (Luce), Alex Pettyfer (Daniel), Escher Halloway (Cam), Portia Doubleday (Arien), Aaron Johnson (Miles), Rachael Hurd-Wood (Shelby)