Book Review: The Fallen Star
By: Jessica Sorensen
Published By: CreateSpace
Release Date: April 2011
Buy it at Amazon
Source: Provided by Author
Audience: Young Adult
The Fallen Star is one of those indie titles that I have been hearing about for awhile now so when the author asked Reading Lark for a review I jumped at the chance. I am always on the lookout for paranormal reads that go in directions that are fresh and unique. The Fallen Star certainly delivers on that front. There are so many interesting supernatural beings in this one - both old favorites and new creations. However, I don't want to go into details about it because I went into this read totally blind; I feel that I enjoyed the read so much more because of that. The Fallen Star is solid science fiction with a dash of magic and paranormal intrigue.
I will tell you that the story revolves around the main character, Gemma, an 18 year old girl who has spent her entire life being emotionless and invisible. As a teen, I had more than my fair share of days where I felt invisible. I think all teens experience that from time to time, but Gemma's brand of blending in is more extreme that what most teens experience. She also has no problem with this life until the prickle begins in her neck and sends emotions coursing through her body. The appearance of emotions is quite a shock when Gemma has no recollection of ever having them before this moment. To make matters worse, she begins to have nightmares of cloaked figures with yellow eyes killing her in the forest. Something is not right with Gemma, but what could it possibly be?
I loved the amount of creativity that Sorensen put into her book. It is obvious that she took a lot of time to create her universe. There are so many cool aspects within it that she could use in future books. I loved the idea of all the beings with special powers being marked by special tattoos. This seems to be cropping up in other books a lot lately - from the runes in Cassandra Clare's works, the wolf pack tattoo in the Twilight Saga films, and the spirit tattoos in the Spirit Guide series by E.J. Stevens. However, I still think it's such an interesting concept. The tattoos in this story allow you to quickly identify the gifts of characters.
The ideas and concepts in this book were so interesting and fresh. However, I will caution readers that you do have to work for it. This book is a gem, but requires you to get through about 40% of it before the action picks up and things get truly exciting. The beginning was slow for me. I understand that Sorensen is building up Gemma's uniqueness, introducing some other major characters, and foreshadowing big plot points, but it just felt like it took too long. I would have liked to have seen less in the beginning and gotten to the field trip (where things start to get really exciting) quicker.
Another major issue I had with this read was that Gemma is constantly stopping the flow of action to speak directly to the reader. While her asides are often useful in helping me understand her perspective and many are humorous, they disrupt the flow of the read. I wonder if there is a less obtrusive way to work these tidbits into the story.
Finally, my last reason for not being able to give this book 5 birdies is the editing. I know that Sorensen recently had the book edited, but there are still so many mistakes littering the text. As a teacher, I instantly see those and it does slow down my pace. I trip over the mistakes and at times I had to figure out what the word should actually be because the one on the page was obviously a typo because it made no sense at all in the context of the sentence. This series could be something great with better editing. The mistakes were not a deal breaker for me, but I do know that there are lots of readers out there who won't read a book that has not been well edited.
With all that being said - I do recommend that you pick up a copy of The Fallen Star and give it a try. The positives of this book far outweigh the negatives. I love the world that Sorensen has created and can't wait to spend more time in it. I particularly want to get back to the Crystal City & Nicholas. Does that make me a freak? The book also ends on a MAJOR cliffhanger - I mean I was screaming I was so frustrated - so I can't wait for the second installment of the series to be available. Jessica Sorensen is a writer to keep your eye on for sure.
One Last Gripe: I want to know what happened to Aislin & Laylen. I don't buy Alex's story at all. I love those two characters so not knowing their fate for sure irks me.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: The unique and mesmerizing world
First Sentence: In the midst of a dark, forest, haunted by the winters chill, I found myself running for my life.
Favorite Character: Laylen
Least Favorite Character: Alex
For eighteen year-old Gemma, life has never been normal. Up until recently, she has been incapable of feeling emotion. And when she's around Alex, the gorgeous new guy at school, she can feel electricity that makes her skin buzz. Not to mention the monsters that haunt her nightmares have crossed over into real-life. But with Alex seeming to hate her and secrets popping up everywhere, Gemma's life is turning into a chaotic mess. Things that shouldn't be real suddenly seem to exist. And as her world falls apart, figuring out the secrets of her past becomes a matter of life and death.