Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review: Falling Under

Title: Falling Under
Author: Gwen Hayes
Series: Falling Under #1
Publisher: Penguin
Published: March 1st 2011

Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams. As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear. And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.

Falling Under
opens with a scene of mystery as a burning man falls through the sky and down onto Theia's front lawn. She is helpless as the nameless man dies, his parting words cryptic as he tells her that it was "worth the fall". Immediately afterwards we are thrust into Theia's everyday life where we see that she is controlled by her strict father who seems unloving and cold. We are then introduced to her friends, Amelia and Donny, who I absolutely adore. Amelia is a shy girl who enjoys delving into the world of magic while Donny is sarcastic, confident and downright hilarious. Their characters are very well developed and I wouldn't mind reading an entire book just about them, to be honest!
Every night that Theia goes to sleep, she is mentally transported to another world where a handsome man wearing suits with coattails awaits her, along with his group of featureless skeletons. He seduces and pushes her away at the same time and she is shocked when he appears at her school, staring right at her. From the beginning, Theia is intrigued by him, not at all scared at what he could possibly be. It is a slow process but she eventually realises that the man haunting her dreams and real life thoughts are one and the same.

We easily fall victim to Haden's sly seduction, even though we can see that he is manipulative and toys with people around him. He uses girls as puppets in order to seduce Theia or make her jealous, and he is possessive when he misinterprets her interactions with other men. Theia falls quickly and the two play the game of one step forward, two steps back. Just when you think Haden will give into his feelings for Theia, he becomes frustratingly rational and we are forced to continue waiting. This eventually builds up a mountain of tension and their first kiss - or all of them really - is magnificent and explosive. Hayes has the ability to write wonderfully steamy scenes as well as those very romantic ones. So don't think that Haden's always a jerk! He's actually very sweet at times and we see his innocent boyishness - his human side - make an appearance. A few times in the novel there are moments of "Stay away from me. I'm too dangerous" and "No, I really love you!" but the positives by far outweigh the minor negatives.
Towards the end of the novel, Haden becomes the narrator and everything is quite literally the other way around. Because of this experience, they grow as characters and have very different identities to those they had at the beginning.  

Falling Under is utterly captivating as we are never sure what to expect next. The pace is good, the twists are exciting, the climax nerve-wracking and the conclusion jaw-dropping. Can we have the sequel now?

Dreaming Awake will be released early next year. Who's excited?
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