Book review: Lauren Kate’s “Passion”

I only started reading Lauren Kate’s “Fallen” series when I had to interview her for the paper that I work for. While the cover art was certainly intriguing, I didn’t feel any pressing need to get copies of the books until that particular assignment.

After finishing the books — about two days after my interview, I think — my opinion was mixed. “Fallen” didn’t exactly sweep me off my feet as it’s yet another young adult (YA) supernatural romance in the same vein as “Twilight”: Hundreds of pages spent on the girl worrying if the boy really loves her or not before A WILD PLOT APPEARS! If I wasn’t intrigued with her angel mythology, I would have passed on her second offering, “Torment”.

“Torment” was much more enjoyable, even if it still had what appears to be the de rigeur dilemma for YA supernatural romances these days: BUT DOES HE REALLY LOVE ME?!? Getting into angel mythology was a welcome break for me from all the romance, and the cliffhanger at the end actually had me looking forward to “Passion”, the third installment in the series.

“Passion” begins right where “Torment” left off. After surviving a fierce battle with the Outcasts — fallen angels rejected by both Heaven and Hell — Luce takes matters into her own hand and goes on a journey through time to find out what it is exactly that has doomed her relationship with Daniel.

Her journey, however, is one that is fraught with danger. As someone who is only beginning to understand how to use Announcers — shadows that Luce can manipulate to serve as portals into the past — she has no idea when the Announcers are taking her or why. She has to learn along the way if she intends to unravel the curse that has followed her and Daniel for millenia.

But Luce isn’t the only one hurtling through time. Chasing her desperately across the centuries is Daniel, seeking to prevent her from rewriting the long history that the two of them have together. And right on his toes is his rival, Cam, and the Outcasts who long to capture Luce as they believe her to be the key to their own salvation.

As Luce sinks deeper and deeper into the past, she also runs the risk of destroying everything between Daniel and herself — and this time, perhaps permanently.

When the crucial moments, will Luce make the right decision?

Right from the book’s first two chapters, it is clear that Kate has taken her story towards an entirely new and much more exciting direction. While “Fallen” and “Torment” are both serviceable and enjoyable introductions to the world that Kate wants to share with her readers, both of them fell like a set-up for something much more grandiose.

“Fallen”, for instance, mostly focused on establishing the love story between Daniel and Luce, while “Torment” only begins to explore and explain the rules of the universe that Kate’s characters live and breathe in. In both books, Kate is saddled with the unenviable task of having to prepare her readers for the story that she actually wants to tell – and hoping that their patience won’t run out during the wait.

Kate has no  such concerns in “Passion”, and the way that she plunges Luce straight into a horrifying Moscow in the midst of the second World War certainly tells readers that they have now finally arrived at the meat of the story.

The plot moves quickly with very few pauses for the reader to catch their breath in between, a far cry from the sometimes plodding pace that plagued “Fallen”.

Freed from the constraints of having to establish relationships and mythology, “Passion” is free to become epic in its scope, taking the readers through different eras in time right down to the very moment of the Fall. Near the end of the novel, there is a scene involving God, Lucifer, and a whole host of fallen angels that seems inspired by Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and makes clear that Daniel and Luce are fighting for their love — and that often that is the best choice to make.

Even Kate’s characters seem to be reveling in this change of pace. Daniel, who sometimes came of as somewhat of a jerk in the previous books, gets redeemed in this one. He has a lightness and a humor about him in this book that we don’t get to see in the previous installments, and it goes a long way towards cementing why Luce chose him instead of Cam.

Readers who first got into this series because of the love story of Daniel and Luce won’t be disappointed either.

After all, Luce goes back through the centuries to learn from the experiences of her countless incarnations, and readers will get to see the sweetness and the poignancy of Daniel and Luce’s love played out over several eras.

But unlike “Fallen”, where the love story often took center stage to the detriment of the actual plot, “Passion” weaves Daniel and Luce’s love seamlessly into the greater fabric of the story. If “Fallen” was a love story with a plot tacked at the end, “Passion” is a story where love blooms – again and again – in the midst of a fast-moving and exciting plot. And more often than not, those are the best stories to be told.

“Passion” is indeed a promise fulfilled for the numerous fans Kate has here in the country and around the world. With an ending that completely elevates the stakes to one that involves everyone in Luce and Daniel’s lives, readers will definitely be foaming at the mouth for this series’ rapturous end.

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2 thoughts on “Book review: Lauren Kate’s “Passion””

  1. I must say the only reason why I persisted with the book Passion is that I was clinging onto the vain hope of some form of understanding and clarification from the whole plot,

    I’m usually not the type of person who will go out of there way to write a review about something but clearly this book has left me just so confused and perhaps even more disappointed, that I felt compelled to find out if I was the only one that just didn’t quite get it?? after reading a lot of other reviews about the book Passion, i am glad to note that I am not the only one.

    The story line and settings lack substance and purpose, while the characters actions and intentions are left unexplained.
    All that the reader is assured of is how gorgeous Daniel is and how she wants to kiss him all the time, it seems to me that Luce and Daniel hardly communicated verbally at all and the characters have not managed established a foundation or reason behind their remarkably strong chemistry.

    To add to the mayhem and confusion the pervious characters from the first and second book seem to appear then disappear conveniently and without any reason though out the novel.

    None of the original characters have really been brought to life in this book, almost like they have been pushed to the side.

    Most frustratingly, Luce seems incapable of asking informative questions or taking charge on this vital ‘quest’ and the reader is tagging along all the way without any understand of what exactly it is she’s looking for???

    ironically whilst Luce is out trying to justify the love her and Daniel share, I as reader am left even more confused about the characters and the plot (which keeps changing without any sense of direction) and i am left to vindicate my reasons for following this story to the end.

    1. Hi! Thanks for leaving a comment.

      The book does have the unenviable task of being the middle of a quartet, so I think it’s expected for its plot to not have quite a beginning or an ending. I think that Kate is waiting until “Rapture” to finally answer everything.

      I talked to Lauren about the process of writing the book, and she did say that she had set out “Passion” to be just Daniel and Luce’s story, with the other characters just showing up intermittently.

      I thought it was pretty clear from the ending of the first book that Luce is looking for what really started the curse in the first place, and I think she sort of gets a partial answer by the time she gets all the way back to Egypt. I thought that the book had a clear direction — the root of the curse — if a little lacking with the resolution.

      Once again, thanks for sharing your thought on my blog! I really appreciate it!

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