Lauren Kate

Doubleday (2009)

ISBN: 978 0 385 618021

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely

Reform school. Angels. Confused girls and hot guys. Sounds like a recipe for a YA paranormal, with angels being the latest successor to the plague of vampire romance than has been enamouring teens since the (love it or hate it) Twilight juggernaut rolled through young adult reading.

Troubled teen Luce has been sent to Sword & Cross “boarding” school as a last resort by her desperate parents. While not a rebellious or overtly problematic girl, Luce has seen major drama in her life, and is struggling to overcome the events of her past. At Sword & Cross, Luce finds herself surrounded by people who seem a whole lot stranger than she is, including wild Arriane, charming Cam, and brooding and completely compelling Daniel Grigori. What follows is a dark and enticing tale of immortal romance (but not of the vampire kind!) sure to appeal to the vampire-angst reading crowd.

Luce is an engaging character, and while the circumstances surrounding her descent to “last resort” at Sword & Cross are a bit shaky in terms of motive, enough depth is offered by the author for plausibility.

At over 450 pages, the book sometimes feels overlong for the actual story being told. While the heft will satisfy those looking for a long and immersing read, for me there were places where the narrative dragged and the action simply did not progress the plot. For a confident teen reader of the sort that becomes deeply involved in the world and every aspect of the character, however, I have no doubt that with its beautiful cover, it will be a hot shelf item in the target age group.