The Fallen (The Nine Lives of Chloe King Series #1)

The Fallen (The Nine Lives of Chloe King Series #1)

4.3 98
by Celia Thomson
     
 

Chloe King was a normal sixteen-year-old girl.

She did her homework and got good grades, but she wasn't afraid to ditch class sometimes to hang out with her best friends. She slept at home, but otherwise avoided all human contact with her mom. The usual stuff.

Then she fell from San Francisco's highest tower, and her life changed. For starters, she died.

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Overview

Chloe King was a normal sixteen-year-old girl.

She did her homework and got good grades, but she wasn't afraid to ditch class sometimes to hang out with her best friends. She slept at home, but otherwise avoided all human contact with her mom. The usual stuff.

Then she fell from San Francisco's highest tower, and her life changed. For starters, she died. And then, she woke up.

Now Chloe's life is anything but normal: Suddenly guys are prowling around her, she's growing claws, and someone's trying to kill her.

Luckily for Chloe, she still has eight lives to go.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
On the eve of her 16th birthday, Chloe King survives falling from San Francisco's Coit Tower "with no visible injuries." Then, other strange things happen: when a homeless man attacks her, she defeats him with expert moves even though "she didn't know a single martial art," she runs superhumanly fast-and she grows claws ("white and sharp and curved and beautiful, just like a cat's." She also attracts men; besides Xavier, who she makes out with at a club, she's juggling Alyec, a popular guy from school, and slightly older Brian, whom she suspects may be one of her kind. But her biggest problem: someone is hunting her. This book has all the makings of a scintillating opener for The Fallen series (even Chloe's back story about being adopted from the "old USSR" adds intrigue), and Chloe's snide attitude can be fun. Unfortunately, the writing does not live up to the premise. Readers may have a hard time believing that Chloe would abandon sick Xavier after finding him with "long, oozing cankers and welts, like claw marks" on his back (she flees after calling an ambulance), and a subplot about Chloe feeling ignored by her best friend pales in contrast to the heroine's supernatural changes. Even the final scene in which Chloe faces her hunter feels implausible. Still, genre fans may find this entertaining enough. The sequel, The Stolen (ISBN 0-689-86659-3), is due in September. Ages 14-up. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
Move over, Catwoman! Here comes Chloe King! Chloe was a responsible student who liked hanging out with her friends, argued with her mom, and had a part-time job. Her whole world changed, however, on the day before her 16th birthday. She died, and then came back to life. It doesn't take her long to discover that she is undergoing some changes, changes that are a bit different than those caused by normal teenage hormones. For one thing, she can now run at a superhuman pace and not get winded. She can jump high and fall from heights and land on her feet. Oh, and another thing: she now has claws. With her newfound powers, Chloe becomes more confident and she finds herself torn between two suitors—one who represents what the human Chloe wants and the other what the cat Chloe wants. In addition to her problems as a human cat with romance issues, someone is trying to kill her. In the second volume, The Stolen, Chloe's mom has been kidnapped by the Order of the Tenth Blade. Chloe's friends come up with a plan to help Chloe's mom and enlist Brian, one of Chloe's suitors. Chloe learns that she is more powerful than she thought and that she might be next in line to rule her group of Mai. This is an entertaining series that has fast-paced action and quirky twists. With its mix of romance, fantasy and humor, it will be addicting for fans of the whole "teens with magical powers" scene. Thomson's creative ideas and use of Egyptian mythology are a winning combination. The books contain mature language and sexual situations and are perhaps best suited for high school students. KLIATT Codes: S—Recommended for senior high school students. 2004, Simon & Schuster, Pulse, 250p., Ages 15 to18.
—Erin Darr
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-The day before her 16th birthday, Chloe ditches school and, with her two best friends, goes to San Francisco's Coit Tower. When she falls from a window at the top of it and lands on her head on the concrete below, she appears to be unscathed. In the days immediately following, Chloe develops both unusual physical powers and ever-stranger relationships with assorted young men. While this plot outline holds a lot of promise for teens who like suspense mixed with slowly creeping horror, Thomson fails to deliver a page-turner. The prose is clunky and many descriptions either make no sense or offer tantalizing tidbits that never get adequately addressed. There seems to be a secret supernatural society working undercover, but it takes center stage only in one chapter. There are some moments that are charming, including Chloe's introduction to one character who turns out to be paranormal many chapters later. The ending-which comes several pages after readers have finally been told that Chloe is, in fact, dead-suggests the intent to be cliff-hanging, with two sequels listed on the back cover. Hopefully they will offer smoother writing without sacrificing the tale's successful quirks.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This sci-fi thriller with a dose of high-school angst is the first in a series. Chloe King is just turning 16. She's a nice girl and a good student with two pals, Amy and Paul. The three climb to the top of San Francisco's Coit Tower, where Chloe falls 200 feet to the pavement below. Not only does she not die, she finds that she's barely hurt. But her life won't ever be the same. She's jealous when Amy and Paul begin a romance together, and then finds she has suddenly developed enormous sexual urges. Not only that, she's growing claws and the ability to run and leap fantastic distances. Chloe has become a cat person, and there's a secret society dedicated to murdering all of her kind. Better written than the usual teen thriller fare, the series promises to hook readers with suspense, action, and adolescent romance. (Fiction. YA)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689866586
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Publication date:
05/25/2004
Series:
Nine Lives of Chloe King Series, #1
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
0.59(w) x 5.00(h) x 8.00(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Fallen


By Celia Thomson

Simon Pulse

Copyright © 2004 Celia Thomson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0689866585

Chapter Ten

Normal people called the police. That was what normal people did in situations like this with weird notes and death threats and things like that.

Too bad I'm not normal.

It was probably just a joke. Right? Chloe had been terrified in fourth grade when she found a note in her cubby telling her that she'd better "watch out." And that had turned out to be Laura Midlen's idea of funny. But somehow this seemed less amusing than that incident.

My life is in danger? Did that mean someone found out about Xavier? Maybe he was after her? That didn't make sense, though: she hadn't meant to hurt him, and it wasn't worth killing her over. What was the company she kept? Paul? Amy? Nothing strange about them or dangerous...Whoever wrote the note probably meant her new friends: either Alyec or Brian. More likely Brian since Alyec was a known factor, a normal high school kid with roots in the community. She didn't really know anything about Brian besides what he had told her....

Then again, he could also be the "friend" who was warning her. But he hadn't been in the café -- in fact, Chloe didn't really know anyone at the Black Rooster except by sight. When was the note slipped into her pocket? Maybe it wasn't even meant for her.

She checked the locks on the doors several times before going to sleep -- or trying to go to sleep. She felt pretty sure she could handle a daytime attack by a street thug, but a nighttime ambush would be another story.

The next Monday at school Chloe was even grumpier and sleepier than usual. She kept looking up suddenly, jumping at noises, and seeing things out of the corners of her eyes. All for what was probably just a prank. As soon as she got a free period, she went to the newspaper office.

"Hey, Paul," she said, making straight for the couch.

"Chloe," he answered uneasily. He was sitting at the computer, playing some bright-colored and contraband video game.

"I'm wiped. Do you mind?" She threw herself into the couch.

"No. Go ahead." He stood up and played with a pencil for a minute. "I...might have overreacted Friday night....Are we cool?" he finally asked.

Even through her sleep-thick haze, Chloe smiled. Paul actually cared if she was angry at him! Then again, she had a complete right to be.

She raised her arm to give him a thumbs-up.

"Cool." He threw his bag over his shoulder. "Just close the door on your way out, okay? It's already locked."

But Chloe was already asleep.

She woke up perfectly, precisely forty-five minutes later, almost in time for phys ed. Which was really odd because usually once Chloe was out, she was flat out until someone woke her up. The second, warning bell rang and dozens of classroom doors slammed shut, students trapped inside, being forced to learn.

She stretched and yawned and scratched herself, rolling her head and shaking the stiffness out of her shoulders -- she hadn't moved from the position she'd fallen down in, and it wasn't really the most comfortable of couches.

She slumped out of the room, pausing to pick up the obituary sections of the local newspapers lying around and remembering to make sure the door was closed like Paul had said. She started down the hall toward gym, possibly her most-hated class. Although, she considered, maybe I could surprise them with a thing or two. But probably not. The one thing every TV show, book, and comic book had ever suggested about people with special powers was to never reveal them to the outside world. At the worst she could be kidnapped and dissected by the government. At best Mr. Parmalee would insist she go for a drug test.

"Chloe King!"

Alyec was coming down the empty hall. She smiled.

"What are you doing at this end of the school?"

"I am going for my flute lesson," he said, somewhat embarrassed. He held up a small black case. "I have always wanted to learn it, but there was no money or opportunity in Russia."

"Funny, I would have picked you for a boner," she said.

His eyes widened.

"Tromboner? You know? That and trumpet are what all of the popular guys play."

"Well, I am not a normal popular guy. And anyway, if I am so popular, how come you haven't asked to see me since the sea lions?" There was a sexy little smile that he was just hiding. Chloe felt a shiver run through her body. "How's Brian?"

"He's great." Except for that whole lack-of-kissing-and-phone-calls thing.

"Oh yeah? You really like him, huh? I think you're just playing hard to get."

"Awww, what's the matter? Keira not enough for you?"

"Nope," he answered, grinning. Then he leaned over and kissed her. "She is just a stupid little girl," he whispered into her ear, brushing it with his lips.

Although such things had been placed far, far from her mind since -- well, since her period began, Chloe felt the desire she had felt with Xavier rise up through her again. She turned her head so they were cheek to cheek, her lips against his jaw.

"We should go somewhere," he whispered, kissing the tops of her cheeks over and over again.

"Janitor's closet," Chloe breathed, pointing.

They both broke for it. Unlike on TV, this one was filled with actual janitorial stuff -- mops and buckets and bottles of cleanser -- and there was no real room to stand. They looked at it, then at each other.

Chloe giggled. Unlike the time with Xavier, this was playful and fun. Alyec threw himself against the back of the closet so he would bear the brunt of their weight and pulled her in after him as she closed the door.

Everything was very close and warm. She could smell all the disparate aspects of Alyec: his cologne, the fabric softener on his clothes, his toothpaste, the shampoo or gel in his hair, his skin and his breath.

Also Lysol and Mr. Clean, but she tried not to think about that.

He put his hands around her face and kissed her full on the lips, the way she had been aching for Brian to do the other night. He didn't stop, not even to breathe, feeling every corner and surface of her mouth with his own.

The way a girl should be kissed, was Chloe's last coherent thought.

When they stumbled out into the bright light of the hallway later, it was, fortunately, still empty. Alyec had to clap his hand over her mouth once or twice when they were in the closet because she was giggling and making him giggle, too. But no one had come by. She pulled and adjusted her shirt.

"You are one sexy girl, Chloe King," Alyec said, kissing her one last time on the cheek. "That was powerful stuff in there."

She felt pretty sexy. But...

"Well, and now you can tell all your friends that. How you finally cornered Chloe King and you had the time of your life." She smiled weakly.

Alyec frowned. "Do you really think I'm like that? Chloe, I was serious about Keira. She means nothing to me. And I'm not a complete dick."

Chloe nodded. She hoped, of course. In nice-guy competitions Brian had him definitely beat. She reshouldered her bag and then realized Alyec was empty-handed.

"Where's your flute?" she asked.

They looked back into the closet and saw the black case sticking out of a bucket.

Getting out of gym was easy -- as soon as she and Alyec parted, she ran for the nurse's office and made a big deal about how she was bleeding and this was her first period ever and she was cramping and had spent the whole time in the bathroom. The nurse was brusquely sympathetic and promised to speak to Mr. Parmalee before it was officially filed as a cut. She also recommended that Chloe get her gyn exam ASAP. Chloe agreed and left, limping a little as if she was still in pain.

She had texted Amy earlier about meeting for lunch -- in the corner of the cafeteria near the pay phones. It wasn't a desirable area, but at least they would be left alone. She planned on showing her the note. Maybe even telling her the truth about...Well, about what? Running really fast? Kissing Alyec in the closet? Whatever. Anyway, Amy loved mysteries -- she had gone through a whole Harriet the Spy/Nancy Drew/Agatha Christie stage that had lasted a lot longer than those of most little boys and girls who were interested in being detectives. Even if she had no idea what to make of the note, at least it would be entertaining. After all, maybe the note wasn't even meant for her. Maybe it was a mistake.

Chloe looked up and around the cafeteria, then at her watch. They only had twenty minutes for lunch today, and five of them were already gone. Amy hadn't texted her back, but that didn't mean anything. One of them always said "meet me here" and the other one just showed up. It had always been like that. Unless there was a problem -- that was the only reason for a response, if one of them couldn't make it.

She checked her phone. No messages.

At 12:35 she finally gave up, realizing Amy wasn't going to show.

• • •

She had the whole evening to herself, sort of a nice change from recent events. And sort of not. Chloe did some desultory straightening of her room and read a little of The Scarlet Letter for class. She went to the computer and surfed for a while, downloading MP3s and seeing what her favorite celebrities were up to. Then on a whim she searched on AIM for Alyec Ilychovich...and there he was. Under Alyec Ilychovich. He sure does have a lot to learn about hiding your real identity and other American things. Chloe smiled and added him to her buddy list. His account was private -- such a popular guy! -- so she sent him an invite from oldclothesKing, one of her more common aliases. Then she went on surfing.

There was an e-mail from Brian on her Hotmail account:

Chloe,

I really enjoyed our playdate the other night. But I never gave you the pattern!

Do you like ska? Downtime hosts Kabaret Saturdays, no cover. No penguins, but it should be a cool night otherwise. If not, maybe you have an idea...?

-- Brian 415-555-0554

She smiled. He was just so...perfect. It was almost like he could sense she was lonely and sent this. She called him but got his answering machine.

"Hi, this is Whit Rezza -- if you're looking for Peter Rezza, you can reach him on his cell, 415-555-1412. Leave a message, thanks!"

"Hey, Brian, it's Chloe. I'd love to go out on Saturday -- not a huge fan of ska, but I like it enough. Just going to have to figure out what to tell my mom first; she's not big on me and guys. So this is a possible 'yes,' and..."

The electronic sound of a door opening came from her computer. She looked over; Alyec was online. A second later there was a beep as he accepted her invite.

"And I'll call you or e-mail you later, okay? Bye!"

She would have to remember to call before her mom came home; on the home phone bill it would only appear as a local call, but on her cell phone the bill listed every number. And her mom went through the bill very carefully each month, demanding to know what unrecognizable phone numbers were. She said it was for budget reasons...ha!

Chloe spun back in her chair so she was facing the computer. There was already a message from Alyec.

Alyec: Miss me yet?

She giggled.

Chloe: Only your lips. The rest of you -- well, whatever.

Alyec: Shallow girl! I have a brain, too, you know.

Chloe: Yeah?

Alyec: And more...

Chloe flushed. She had felt a lot of his body -- fully clothed -- in the closet. She wished it was summer so they could go to the beach and she could rub oil all over his broad shoulders. Or that they could date like normal people. Too bad I'm not normal, she thought for the second time in a week.

The phone rang.

Chloe: Hang on, brb.

"King residence," she answered.

"Hey -- uh -- Chloe -- was that you who called?" Brian's voice came from the other end. "My dad has caller ID and callback on this thing."

"Yeah, it was me." She was still flushed, thinking about Alyec and his body and the closet, and suddenly found herself thinking about Brian. More specifically, her on top of Brian, holding him down while she kissed him. I'll bet I could do that with my new strength, too....

He must have heard something funny in her voice.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. Why?"

"Oh. You just sounded -- never mind. So, you still want that pattern?"

No, I want you, you dillhole.

There was a beep from the computer:

Alyec: I'm waiting....

Or Alyec. I want Alyec, too. It was funny right this moment, the two guys on two different means of communication. But soon, if her life was anything like TV -- or even real life -- it would all get very complicated without a decision. But not yet. Not just yet!

"Yeah. Should we try for Saturday?"

"Uh, sure. That's fine. I mean, it's great!" There was a long pause. "Chloe? I, uh..."

"Yeah?" She waited to hear him say that she was too young for him, that they had to break up, that he didn't find her attractive. She sucked in her breath. So much for me making a decision.

"Uh, nothing. I just think you're cool, that's all."

"Oh." She grinned. "Thanks."

"Yeah, so call me about Saturday, okay?"

"Absolutely."

There was another beep from the computer.

Alyec: Chloe King is so full of herself that she lets Alyec Ilychovich, one of the most popular guys in class, hang on the telephone. Or computer. Or whatever.

"All right, then, bye."

He hung up sounding excited, pleased, and embarrassed. Chloe ran back to the keyboard.

Alyec: Doopy doo, doopy doopy doo...

Chloe: All right, all right! Jeez, can't a girl pee?

Alyec: I'll bet you were talking with your other boyfriend.

Chloe froze. Now would be a good time to say something.

Chloe: If by talking you mean urinating and boyfriend you mean toilet, then yes.

Alyec: Your sexy talk is leaving me all hot.

Chloe: Ewww! I didn't know you were into stuff like that.

Alyec: Hey, we foreign boys are weird.

Chloe: At least you have nice lips.

Alyec: Oh, and you don't even know the half of what they can do.

Chloe: Yeah? Want to give me a hint?

Alyec: I can blow up balloons really fast.

Chloe: Now who's being the tease?

Alyec: Why? What do you want me to do with my lips?

They typed back and forth furiously for several hours, taking breaks to go get drinks, or more bathroom breaks, or to IM other people. Alyec told her that Jean Mehala was just asking him if he had any desire to join the Junior UN. I am the junior UN! And Lotetia wanted him on the dance committee, which he might just do; most of the music at the dances sucked.

Chloe: It must be neat being so wanted.

Alyec: Yeah? And exactly how do you want to be wanted?

There was a noise behind Chloe, the slightest scratch of a throat. She jumped and spun around, expecting a murderer or something awful.

It was worse. It was her mom.

"Who is that you're talking to?" Mrs. King demanded. She was wearing her driving glasses and looked stern and real mommish for once. Her gray eyes narrowed, and she gripped her attaché like an ax.

"How long were you standing there?" Chloe demanded.

"What was it you two did at school today that was so exciting?" From the set of her lips it was obvious that she had a pretty good idea already. She must have been standing there for quite a while. How had Chloe not heard her?

"Nothing," Chloe said dully.

"Making out in a janitor's closet? During class?"

"It was only gym. And besides -- it's not like you let me go out on actual dates."

"This is precisely why!" Her mother hit the computer screen violently enough to make it ring. "You are grounded, young lady! For the next week at least!"

"That's so unfair!" Normally Chloe would have been thinking about how badly she'd screwed up right then and doing whatever she could to make up for it -- lie, apologize, finish out the normal teenage fight, and act good for the next week -- but real anger was growing inside her, and she found she couldn't think. "Everyone else dates -- and I have to lie and sneak around, even with nice guys like Brian...."

"Who's Brian?" her mother demanded. Her hands shook with rage.

"What does it matter? He's totally great, but you won't let me date him, either!"

"It seems like you're doing well enough, whoring around like -- " She fell silent.

Chloe just looked at her, eyes like coals. She couldn't hear; rushes of blood and fury rose in her. For the first time since she was a child, she had the almost overwhelming urge to hit her mother.

"Take. That. Back."

Mrs. King bit her lip.

"I'm -- sorry. I didn't mean -- that was way too harsh. I apologize. I shouldn't speak to you like that." She played with the hammered silver earring on her left ear, tugging at it.

"You're going to give me the whole 'how hard it is to be a single mom' speech now, aren't you?" Chloe spat.

"No, I -- "

"Are you going to 'keep me' from dating when I'm in college? Jesus Christ, Mom, I'm sixteen. I have a job. I get good grades. What psycho-pop book did you get this 'no dating' bullshit out of?"

"It wasn't a book!" Mrs. King said, her voice rising again. Then she fell back on her heels, suddenly tired, all energy and anger drained from her face. "It was the last thing your father said before he disappeared. He made me promise to never let you date."

Chloe's jaw dropped, but she had nothing to say. The man she had been glorifying and missing for twelve years was the one responsible for this?

"This is bullshit," Chloe growled. She spun on her heels and pushed past her mother.

"Chloe, wait -- "

She ran into the bathroom and slammed the door.

"FUCK!" she screamed. She clenched her fists, fingers aching painfully. She pulled back to punch the door.

And then she stopped.

There were claws where her nails had been. White and sharp and curved and beautiful, just like a cat's.

Copyright © 2004 by 17th Street Productions, an Alloy company



Continues...


Excerpted from The Fallen by Celia Thomson Copyright © 2004 by Celia Thomson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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