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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 ...
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.
Everything changed the night I saw the burning man fall from the sky.
I'd been reading well past a reasonable hour, the white eyelet quilt tented over my iPhone to block any escaping light even though my father was already tucked away in bed dreaming of new ways to make me safer.
The cell phone was a compromise—I added extra music lessons to my scarce free time in exchange for a phone. It was win-win for Father; the few hours a day I wasn't with him or sheltered in the safety of my pink and ivory room, decorated by a prestigious designer to gild my cage, I was now instantly accessible. In addition, there were now even fewer hours in which I might find trouble. He didn't know I could read e-books on the phone; he didn't even know what e-books were. Father just thought he'd finally broken me of reading by flashlight.
It would never have occurred to him that I hadn't been broken—I'd graduated. Every night I went somewhere new and pretended to be someone else—someone interesting—on the device he'd purchased to control me more than he already did. A priceless freedom to a girl with a strange British accent living in the small town of Serendipity Falls, California, under her watchful father's thumb.
But the burning man falling from the sky pulled me from my faraway world. My gaze wandered to the window an instant before he appeared. And then, slowly, like a feather caught on a light breeze, he willowed past my window, turning his grotesque head towards me, his mouth open in a silent scream. He was more than on fire. He was fire.
Orange and red flames braided together in the shape of a man, but it was his eyes that caused me to suck in my breath and hold it as I ran to the window. His eyes, scared and imploring, told of a darkness and agony I couldn't begin to understand.
I leaned farther into the window, the glass surprisingly warm from his brush past it. Like I touched a trace of him. As he completed his unhurried, torturous descent to the lawn, he kept his gaze locked on mine. Beseeching me for something I couldn't give as the flames consumed him. So many things I should have felt, wondered, or worried about, yet I just watched, fascinated and compelled to see him to the end.
He landed in the yard, still burning alive. My father's pristine lawn would be scorched.
He'd be so disappointed.
Afraid to leave my perch, I was unsure what to do next. Surely what I was seeing was a figment of my overactive imagination. A dream caused by too much reading and not enough sleeping. But what if he suffered while I did nothing?
I turned and ran, as quietly as I could, through my room, down the stairs, and finally out the back door. The dew-covered grass beneath my feet reminded me of my state of undress. The nightgown felt thinner and more revealing than what my father had intended when he approved its purchase.
I shivered, not with cold but with nerves. The flames of the burning man sputtered and cooled, revealing charred bones and hunks of flesh. Yet he moved and groaned.
I sank to my knees, horrified that God would be so merciless as to let this poor human being endure such misery. The scent of cooked meat triggered my gag reflex. Strips of bumpy, burned flesh covered his bones here and there, but—his eyes—his eyes remained whole and lucid, giving him the garish appearance of a Halloween corpse.
The smell of sulfur stung my nose, making it hard to breathe. Yet the burning man continued to rasp and sputter.
How could he? His lungs had been incinerated.
For the first time, I noticed I still held the phone. Stupid girl. I should have dialed 911 a long time ago. I'd just pressed the 9 when he spoke.
I whimpered at the sound of his raspy, inhuman voice. "You need an ambulance."
The skeleton gurgled a bit, the sound grating and raw. "Too late. I don't have much time."
He shouldn't have had any time. I looked to the sky, but there was no sign of smoke or anything else falling. He groaned again.
"I…; I'm sorry." Lame, stupid girl. "I don't know what to do. I…; wish I could make you more comfortable."
"You must be so frightened." He whispered now, slowly yet with a carefully measured cadence. "I'm sorry you had to see this."
How could he worry about my comfort right now? "Do you want to…; um…; pray or something?"
His answer came too quickly, too vehemently.
"You'll stay?" he asked—no, implored. "I have no right to ask it of you, but…; I'm afraid to be alone right now. Will you stay…; until…;"
Moisture from the cold, wet grass seeped into the material of my nightgown, promising ugly stains in the virginal white shroud. I already felt the weight of yet another of Father's disappointments.
"Do you want me to ring anyone for you? To say good-bye?"
"There…; is…; no…; one." His whisper weakened with each word.
No one to mourn him? I forced myself to look him, death, in the eyes, and leaned closer, blocking out the revulsion of his grotesque appearance. His last vision should be of someone caring that he died. Someone mourning him. He raised his bony fingers as if to touch me and I steeled myself not to flinch as his hand, still smoldering, neared my face.
He rattled and spoke his last words. "Worth…; the…; fall."
His hand dropped, and the grass sizzled beneath it.
Then his body turned to dust, leaving only a blackened scorch mark on my father's lawn.
I rolled away from the sunlight streaming through my lace curtains and burrowed my head under the pillow. It was a dream. It must have been. Burning men don't fall from the sky. Skeletons don't speak one minute and turn to dust the next.
I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and stared at the ceiling. I was going to have to look. Resigned, I walked the distance from my bed to the window, and it seemed to stretch farther and farther away, the way things do in nightmares. I touched the glass first—it was cool, of course. My fingers splayed on the window and I leaned into it, looking down, hoping to find the perfectly manicured lawn I'd known just yesterday. But the perfection was marred and the grass seared where he'd lain. The burning man.
My heartbeat sputtered and restarted, thumping wildly and faltering with its own rhythm. My mind raced to find an explanation that didn't include a fiery cadaver with scary eyes and a lonely soul.
What kind of…; people…; fell from the sky? Aliens? Fallen angels? Skydivers?
Maybe his plane crashed. But none of that explained his ability to talk with no lungs…; or skin, or organs, or…; No. I must have dreamt it. There was no other explanation. Best to put it out of my mind. Nightmares had no control over me and there was nothing to fear.
Besides, nothing happens in sleepy towns like Serendipity Falls. That's why Father bought a house here. His commute to the city wasn't bad, a half hour unless the fog blanketed us in. He did whatever it was barristers do in their offices all day and made it home for supper almost every evening.
He'd chosen this town precisely for its lack of drama, I reassured myself as I grabbed my pink robe off the hook. What devilry ever befell a girl in a counterfeitly cheerful Victorian house? Surely the heavy cornices and gingerbread trim were wards against all things evil.
It wasn't until I turned on the bathroom light that I remembered what day it was.
The familiar numbness that got me through this day every year painted itself over me. One foot in front of the other, one routine, then the next, lather, rinse, repeat. I'd go downstairs, drink my orange juice, take a vitamin, walk to school. It was just a day, after all.
Father would already be gone to his San Francisco office. It was easier that way, at least in the morning. Not having to face each other meant not having to acknowledge the significance of the day, this day.
The anniversary of my mother's death.
I struggled with my hair. The wild curls preferred to be loose and resisted the taming of elastic bands or clips. The wildness of my mane—a curse, according to my father, who'd tried unsuccessfully to convince me that I should style it shorter and sleeker—was a gift from my mother. The wildness of my heart was yet another unwanted motherly inheritance. Father tried to convince me that I should live carefully, and the struggle to rein in my spirit, as well as my hair, kept me battle—weary day after day.
Wanting to please Father, I always pushed back my impulses. He needed me. Sure, he could be gruff and impossibly strict, but I was all he had. Things would have been different if my mother hadn't died, but there was no sense going down that road. Especially today.
I sprinted down the stairs and then chastised myself for the recklessness since Father wasn't there to do it for me. I took the vitamin he'd left out, drank the juice he'd poured, and ate the biscuit—I mean cookie—only after I'd first double-checked that he'd actually left, and then made sure no stray crumbs would give me away. I avoided the greeting card left on the center of the polished table for as long as I could.
My hands shook as I opened our one exception to completely ignoring that this day existed. Happy 17th Birthday, Theia.
I put the card in my pack, grabbed a sweater, and walked to school.
Nobody at Serendipity High extended me birthday wishes because that was the way I wanted it. My friends, now that I had them, shot surreptitious glances at me all day, but respected my request. I was lucky for their friendship; my life had been so different only four years ago, when we had first moved to the States.
Life in London had been even lonelier. Our estate had been a cold place, steeped in Alderson history but not love, not laughter.
After all the years of homeschooling with a stodgy tutor, I had been surprised that Father had given in and allowed me to attend a public school when we moved to America. Surprised and grateful, until I realized that the strange girl with a funny accent was not going to be welcomed easily into a small school with cliques already firmly in place.
Everything about me was different from my American peers, starting, but certainly not ending, with my accent. Not having spent much time with my British peers either, I was as awkward as a foal taking its first steps when it came to interacting.
"Earth to Thei."
I blinked at Donny across the cafeteria table. "Sorry. What were you saying?"
Donny—Donnatella to those who dared call her that—rolled her eyes and stole another Tater Tot from my lunch tray. "I asked if you had figured out your prison-break plans for this weekend."
Father preferred I not spend much time with Donny. Which, when I was being honest with myself, I realized was part of the appeal. Donny was irreverent and maybe a little wild.
Okay, make that a lot wild. Why she wanted to be friends with me, a girl who worked so hard at being completely boring, was a mystery. Whenever I asked, she would reply with a comment about liking my hoity-toity accent, and then she'd wink at me mischievously. She'd taken me under her wing during a particularly bad experience in my PE class that first year, and I would do anything for her.
Donny's family was the kind I used to dream about. They lived in a much smaller house, but it was a lively, almost-too-loud house. Someone was always laughing…; or yelling. It was never quite clean, but there were always good things to eat and someone to listen to how your day was. I even envied her for her little brother, as mischievous and destructive as he was, and for her parents, who didn't put up with much but did it with a sense of humor.
Also, I envied how comfortable she was in her body. A couple inches taller than me, mostly due to her legs, Donny exuded this aura of confidence about her appearance that I would never have. Everything she wore was chosen carefully, as if to exhibit her assets. Her brown hair was layered around her face to draw attention to high cheekbones, and the part was on the side, accentuating her proud forehead. She always wore earrings that peeked out when her hair moved—a whisper that there was more to see if you took the time to look.
"Why is it so important that I go to this club with you?" I asked. Donny was very social, whereas I was not. She often had her own plans on the weekend that didn't include me, and I was more than okay with that.
"Because you need to get out more. I swear to God, you are going to explode one day if you don't vent a little wickedness now and then. Does your father know what happens to daughters of overly uptight and strict parents when they get their first taste of freedom at college?"
"Girls Gone Wild, that's what."
The thought of me flashing my breasts to a camera in exchange for a trucker hat made us laugh so hard we couldn't breathe. The funniest part was that we both knew Donny would do it for a stick of gum.
Our third musketeer, Amelia, joined us as the giggling subsided. As usual, she was dressed in what Donny liked to call "rebellious goth." Ame liked the alternative styles of the emo/goth kids—but she hated black and dark colors. Instead, she looked like a rainbow with skull and spider accessories. "What's the laughing about, or do I want to know?"
"You don't. Trust me." Donny patted the bench next to her. "Ame, help me convince Theia that she needs to cut loose with us this weekend." She bit the tip of her pizza, the cheese stretching a mile before breaking. Only Donny could make that sexy. When I ate pizza, I cut it into bite-size pieces.
Ame unpacked her lunch from the reusable tie-dyed sack she brought every day—she was very conscious of her carbon footprint. "Theia, if you don't cut loose with us this weekend, I will have to listen to Donny bitch about you all night and it won't be any fun at all. And I won't have anyone to talk to when she ditches me for the first pretty boy who comes along. You have to come."
Amelia wasn't joking. Donny really enjoyed her pretty boys. Amelia, on the other hand, had pined hopelessly for the same bloke since he'd moved to our school in seventh grade, the same year I did. She'd been stuck in "just a chum" purgatory for four years, but refused to tell him how she felt or give any other boy the time of day.
Ame carried herself differently from Donny. Donny was catlike and slinky, while Ame was more like a happy puppy. She bounced a lot and used her whole body when she spoke. She was also beautiful, but you couldn't tell her that.
Now that Amelia had let her hair grow back to the shiny black-brown it was naturally, and not the brittle blond she'd been trying to keep it, Donny and I both felt like she was the prettiest of all three of us. Amelia, however, saw only flaws with the features we thought made her exotic and outstanding.
Ame was born in Korea and adopted by a family perhaps even whiter than my own. Most of the time, I think she handled the diversity well. Sometimes she acted like we didn't see her wishing away her heritage. Other times, though, she talked about going to Korea someday, not so much to find her birth parents but just to walk where her roots had once been.
But when it was just the three of us together, roots were never an issue.
Donny put her hands together as if in prayer. "Pwetty please, say you'll come with us on Friday. You will love this club. It's the only under-eighteen club I've ever been to that didn't make me worry about our generation. It's actually fun. And not lame."
"I have nothing to wear to a dance club." And I didn't. Father's personal shopper chose my wardrobe according to a strict outline of recommendations—none of which included anything that would be suitable for dance clubs.
"I have your outfit all picked out," Donny answered a little too gleefully. "Oh, yeah, and Sandra Dee called; she'd like her sweater sets back."
That was low, but not wrong. Father's shopper believed thinking outside of the box meant three-quarter sleeves in place of long ones. And I have bottoms in every shade of khaki ever made. You know, for my wacky, carefree days.
All the same, Donny was not to be trusted as a replacement for the shopper. "Your clothes won't fit me, Donny. Your legs are a mile longer than mine."
"All the better to wrap around a boy with. Speaking of—" She paused so Amelia and I could groan.
Donny really was certifiably boy crazy. I had no such aspirations. Aside from my accent and "strange" English ways, my real boy problem had less to do with my looks and more to do with my upbringing. As in: Father says no. I'd been segregated from boys my whole life, not allowed to have coed parties even as a child. And dating was out of the question.
I was untouchable.
He just wanted me to be safe, and he worried that boys would make me reckless and distract me from my music studies—which were far more important to him than they were to me.
I love the violin, truly I do, but I'll admit to sometimes being bored by all the work involved in maintaining my skill level. However, musical proficiency is important.
It didn't matter to him that I was beginning to feel less joy in the music. The more he pushed, the less I cared. In fact, I preferred playing modern music but could do so only when he wasn't home. Because modern music wasn't respectable. It didn't pay tribute to the deep roots of my family tree.
Aldersons were to be the best at whatever they did. Father proved that daily at his workplace, or so I heard from his colleagues at the picnics every summer. His company had transferred him twice to the States to fix its sorrier offices—once the year he met my mother, and again when I was thirteen. He was also unbeatable at racquetball and sailing. I was to follow in the grand tradition of all the Aldersons before me and excel.
Whether I wished to or not.
Donny continued, ignoring our groans. "My sources in the admin office tell me we are getting fresh meat tomorrow. All the way from New York City. God, I hope he's cute. We need new cute at this school."
Amelia picked at her salad. She hated salad but was on what Donny dubbed a foreverdiet. "We only need new cute because you have exhausted the population of already-here cute. Take it easy on the new guy, will you?"
"He's probably a sneetch anyway," Donny said.
"Sneetches" was what we called the in-crowd at school, the haves as opposed to the have-nots. We named them from a Dr. Seuss story in which the Star-Belly Sneetches, who were born with a green star on their bellies, thought they were better than all those who had no green star—or in this case green money.
By current standards, I possessed all the right accoutrements to be a sneetch, except the ones that would have made me want to be one. Much to my father's dismay, the children of his business associates and fellow golf club members were not the chosen brethren of his daughter. Of course, he never helped me get accepted, since he resolutely shielded me from their activities and social situations, but try telling him that.
Donny pulled out her compact, checking for nonexistent damage before fourth period. "Amelia, if you tell me you want the new guy, sneetch or not, I'll stay away from him. But you have to promise to actually talk to him. Not just pine from afar. Reruns are boring."
"I'm not even remotely interested in the new guy, but thanks for the offer. I know how hard that must have been for you."
Donny started on me next, but I held up my hand. "Halt. I am not remotely interested in the new bloke we haven't seen yet either." On a whim, I asked them both, "Did either of you hear anything about a plane crash last night? Or maybe a meteorite?"
"Did you have dreams about aliens probing your secret places, Thei?" Donny asked, again much too gleefully.
"No, I—Never mind."
The bell rang, reminding me that my fourth-period class was on the other side of campus, but at least it smelled better than the cafeteria. We had to wait for a pack of sneetches, several of them in cheerleader uniforms, to file past our table. As per their social custom, they made no eye contact with those of us without stars upon thars.
When one of the varsity basketball players tried to pass without even seeing us, Donny drew the line. "Hey, Bill, did I ever tell you how much it meant to me that you made sure my needs were still met that one time you couldn't get it up? That makes you a real gentleman."
Of course, Bill did no such thing. Oh, he really did have a problem—but he left Donny to finish things for herself when he didn't bring his A-game.
He grunted, someone muttered, "Bitch," and all was right in our world.
By the end of the evening, I was wiped out. I practiced for two hours after school with my new tutor, who knew within ten minutes that I was better than he was. So, like anyone with an overinflated sense of self, he punished me with futile exercises and extra practice time.
Dinner was a somber affair, as usual. Muriel, our housekeeper and cook, tried to sneak in a cakelike dessert to appease her own guilt at my lack of birthday celebration, and Father read his paper throughout the meal, stopping to tell me to "Sit up straight" and "Stop fidgeting so much."
"Father," I began cautiously, "I'd like to spend the weekend at Donny's."
"We'll see," he answered. And that was the end of the discussion.
I'm not sure how my mother could have fallen in love with him. He was so cold. And worse, I think he was trying to make sure I turned out as icily perfect as he was. Sometimes I felt the crystals forming inside, etching a pattern of frost on my heart, and I thought it would be easier to follow his path than diverge from it. If I was careful and cautious, dutiful and obedient, perhaps I could stop the wayward longings I had. The ones where I thought, There has to be more. More than this uncomfortable silence at a table too large for the two people who ate here every night.
But if there was more, Father wanted none of it. He retired to his study and I retired to my fancy decorated cell, finished my homework, looked at my violin and considered playing it for an hour, and then put myself to bed with no hope of falling asleep.
But fall asleep I did. I think. And that was when everything got worse.
Posted December 29, 2010
Falling Under was a GREAT book. I really loved it. I devoured it in one straight sitting, unable to go to sleep until I finished it. Now where to start.
I just want to start by saying I loved this book, so this review might be a bit long and gushy. The story was great and had me intrigued the whole way through. Gwen Hayes was able to keep the reader engaged in the mystery of Haden without making it feel old. Instead, I kept wanting to know more about Haden, who is he? What is he? I loved how Gwen unraveled his mystery. And let me tell you I did not expect anything that Gwen Hayes revealed about Haden. I was fully intrigued. The plot definitely kept me turning pages. And after the mystery of Haden was unraveled, the plot continued, stronger then ever, and I don't want to give anything away, but it was great. The whole last section of the book I did not see coming AT ALL! I love when a book can take me on a ride and through unexpected turns at me, and this book accomplished this.
One of my favorite things about this book was the characters. Theia was a great protagonist. She was fully developed and felt like a normal teenage girl, albeit with an extremely over protective father (not something too uncommon). And one thing I loved about Theia was she wasn't a stupid, unthinking protagonist. She realizes that Haden isn't who he seems and realizes he is dangerous and acknowledges this. She was a complex character, confused by what is going on in her life and her own feelings. And that brings us to Haden. Wow. Haden. What a hot, mysterious, dark, complex character. I loved him. I felt the same way Theia did towards him, confused and a bit creeped out by him but undeniable attracted by his mystery. He is truly the goth Mr. Darcy, and I wouldn't mind having one appear in my dreams like he does, even if he is not all good for me (or Theia for that matter). Theia and Haden also had great, great chemistry. While he admitted he wasn't good for Theia, you still wanted them together, no matter what. Theia and Haden definitely have some of the best chemistry I've read recently.
Gwen Hayes has written a great book. I don't know how many times I've said this but, truly, it was great. The writing was beautiful and lyrical. Hayes' descriptions were rich with beautiful details, fully establishing the scenes, characters and emotions. I loved the little bits of humor Hayes' included in the story too. I laughed so hard at the little Twilight reference that my roommate though something was wrong. I also really loved the glimpses the reader has into Haden's mind at times. While the book is primarily told from Theia's point of view, these glimpses at Haden's thoughts enhanced his mystery and added, what I felt were little easter eggs to the action occurring. The writing fit the book so well, beautiful, haunting and lyrical. I loved it.
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Posted March 15, 2011
I enjoyed Falling Under-but it is like most other romantic YA books out there right now. Of course there are certain unique things about it but if you are looking for something different than what's come out the last few years you might want to look elsewhere-but if you like the whole girl meets boy-boy ans girl have instant connection-boy is hot & cold with girl-they fall for each other within 20 pages this is a book you'll like. The thing I did like about this book was the-I guess you could call it location- where it partly takes place is very interesting. This is a quick read & I'd recommend it.
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Posted June 17, 2012
So the first half of this book I felt like I was reading a twisted version of twilight and was tempted to stop but I'm so glad I didn't! The second half was incredible, I was captivated by the way Hayes effortlessly painted this eerie, dark world that was so vivid you feel as though you're there. You can clearly see, smell, and feel what Theia did. It was creepy and haunting yet so beautiful. The second half of this book more than made up for the first. Hayes has an amazing ability to bring a story to life and has created a story that has stuck with me for months.
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Posted June 4, 2011
This review has taken me a while to write because I wanted to make sure that I did it some justice. Though this book is a pretty quick read, it took me a few days to get into it. I think what did it for me was the press release, in which Falling Under was compared to Twilight. After that, Twilight was stuck in my head and I couldn't help but notice every single, solitary thing that it had in common with the widely popular vampire series. It even mentions sparkling vampires in it. I know a lot of people who say the comparison in the book is in jest, but for me it was just... tacky.
With that being said, I took a step back before I wrote this review. To be honest, I don't think that I would have noticed the similarities as much if I wouldn't have read any of the PR - sans the whole 'sparkling vampire' bit... that was a little obvious. When my mind was clear, it was easier to see that Falling Under had traits in common with Twilight that most YA paranormal romances have - the dangerous boy, the insta-love and, well, the paranormal. Oh, and there are no vampires.
Honestly, despite what I just mentioned, I really enjoyed this book. The concept was engaging and its storyline kept me guessing for a good while before I finally caught on - and even then, there were elements of surprise. This book had a much darker, more gothic feel to it than most books that I've read lately and it's something that I have missed.
Theia was a good character that was easy to relate to in most ways, but not in the romance department. The insta-love failed for me because it is beyond my comprehension as to how someone can fall so madly in love with someone so soon after they meet them. Can it happen? I'm sure it can... just not for me, which is why I cannot relate to it at all. The early acceptance of absolute love was the only thing I didn't like. Haden was a swoon-worthy character that I'm sure will leave every girl who reads this book with goo-goo eyes and a goofy grin on their face. I liked him. He reminded me of another old-fashioned, gentlemanly character who felt as though he didn't deserve love because he was a monster. *ahem*
Without saying too much, the dream sequences in this book really worked for me. The descriptions were amazing and everything came together perfectly at the end. I absolutely adored Gwen Hayes' writing style in this book, it's entrancing and poetic. Overall, this book was everything that I expected and then some. I really enjoyed it.
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Posted March 26, 2011
If you like books like the Hush Hush series or First Grave on the Right, then this should be an enjoyable easy read for you. Falling Under is an interesting read whose lure lies in the intentions and draw bad-boy, charismatic Haden has toward sheltered, good-girl Theia, and how his very nature/world puts her in danger yet he can't completely let her go. Moreover, she continues to put herself in danger by going to his world and refusing to let him go, even if it means striking a deal with the devil. The ending leaves a loose ending or two that has the potential for a great sequel.
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Posted May 31, 2013
Posted October 3, 2012
Posted August 9, 2012
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Falling Under is delightfully unique and just plain fun! This is a gorgeous story from the characters, to the plot, to the cliffhanger-ish ending. While there were moments that could have taken the plot down the road to Clichésville, Hayes always threw in a twist to take the reader into something new and unique.
I adored Hayes’ characters. Haden is deliciously complex. His duality is part of his charm and though at first it was confusing and I wondered what Theia saw in him, by the end I was totally captivated by his sacrifice and strength. I also loved Theia’s growth through the story. At first her character annoyed me…a lot. She’s so…so…blah. But by the end, she becomes a more beautiful and stronger version of herself. This is done so smoothly and realistically. Sigh, I just love it!
Secondary characters in Falling Under are a big asset in this story. Everyone is so unique and fully developed. Amelia and Donny are fabulous. I also adored Gabe and Varnie, especially Gabe. They add so much to the story and without them the story would have been flat and empty. They are a great source of humor and depth which aid in making Haden and Theia’s story stand out as a very complete and beautiful romance.
Overall, Falling Underis a fun read. Hayes has developed a well-paced, wonderfully developed and charming story which I’m very happy to recommend as a perfect summer (or anytime) read.
Mom Disclaimer: This novel is a bit on the mature side as far as sensuality and language. I wouldn’t recommend it for young teens. While it is not graphic it is very sensual.
Posted July 28, 2012
I really wasn’t expecting to love this at all. I have very low standards of paranormal romances (curse you, Twilight! *shakes fist*), so I was a bit surprised to find that I liked Falling Under. Even it was only a little bit.
I don’t think I ever connected with Theia; I wished she had been nicer to her overprotective father and tried to reason with him instead of rebelling at times. I also don’t understand why she had to be British in the first place. She didn’t seem to have any quirky British attributes (well, either that or British people don’t eat fish and chips in real life), and it only served to add to her nonexistent background.
On a positive note, though, I liked her friends. Donny was wild and entertaining, and Amelia was sweet and innocent–at least, in how boys thought. Gabe was probably my favorite character, though I thought he was quite a sneetch in the beginning too, haha. And Varnie is adorable when he’s pining after a certain someone.
Haden was quite the typical hot YA boy. No fun in that at all. But I did admit that I liked reading from his point of view at times; it showed his sweeter (and more clueless) side, which I liked infinitely more than his devilish side. I don’t think I was convinced with his and Theia’s romance because it seemed to happen too suddenly–that’s quite unrealistic.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t exactly expecting the paranormal aspect in this book; I wasn’t sure what he was, and I certainly didn’t expect the twist that resulted in changing to Haden’s POV. But I liked it. It made it less Twilight-esque.
Ah, yes, this book was quite Twilight-esque. New boy goes to school, and girl thinks that he might be something other than human. So she sticks her nose in his business and along the way they fall in love. Or they fell in love at first sight. Something like that. Seriously, it was so Twilight-esque that there was even a Twilight reference in there (pg. 59).
Falling Under admittedly wasn’t my favorite; it was an average paranormal romance, in my opinion. However, it did surprise me (slightly) at some points. If you’re bored and you’ve got nothing else to read, this might be the book to read.
Source: Paperback borrowed from library
Posted July 16, 2012
Falling Under has left an immense impression on me. With it’s darkly enchanting story and vivid characters, I quickly and irrevocably fell under it’s spell. I was like a buoy bobbing up and over waves of emotion, some of which were despairing and heartbreaking while others were comforting, warm, and humorous. I also can’t forget about the many emotional waves of lust. This book is full of devilish charm and sexy times thanks to the book’s heart throb and tragic character, Haden. He’s mysterious, mischievous, dark and delicious and a whole lotta other words that escape me at the moment but make me want to throw myself at him. Like the majority of the book’s female population, I’ve completely fallen under his lure. Damn that sexy boy.
Theia is a extremely multi-facted and intriguing character. My heart instantly went out to her. Although she’s originally from the U.K. British accent ta’boot, she’s lived in the U.S. for the past few years. Besides being British, something that I equate prim and properness with, she’s also been forced to live a confined life for other reasons. Her father who is constantly described as cold, has sheltered Theia her whole life. He has basically caged her in, not allowing her the simple and carefree freedoms that come with being a child, and the abilities to make one’s own decisions that come with young adulthood. We find out early on that her mother passed away the day Theia was born, which has since caused an uncomfortable and awkward rift between Theia and her father. All I can say is thank goodness for Theia’s bestfriends, Amelia and Donny. Little by little we see how they break Theia out of the stiff shell that her father has spent his life creating. Donny is tough as nails with sarcastic wit and an extreme sense of protection aimed towards her friends. Amelia is equally as charming but in another sense; she’s quieter and more reserved. However, deep down she’s just as fiercely protective of Theia as Donny is. Together the trio make one hell of a team.
Then there’s Haden, my sweet, devilish and delectable Haden. Although he comes off as a seductively charming and sometimes ass-y character, it’s easy to see that deep down he suffers. His lonelyness and despair is gut-wrenching. I applaud Theia for instantly recognizing a fellow person in pain and wanting to reach out. However at times I also wanted to give her a good shake as to say “what the heck are you thinking girl”. It’s clear from the beginning that something dark and ominous surrounds Haden’s arrival, but Theia can’t, and has also lost all will to stay away. Although part of me wishes she had stayed away in order to protect herself, another part feels as though the two were fated to meet.
It’s times like these where I feel so blessed to have had taken a Gothic Literature class a couple years back. Without that class I never would have been able to appreciate a novel as dark and wonderful as Falling Under. This story is so imaginative, somber and full of macabre; it kept me enticed yet weary the whole way through. The romantic aspects are scorching and all-consuming. And the writing – wow! The style and imagery conveyed is breathtaking.
Part of me wants to set you on fire and hold you while the flame consumes us bother, to eat your heart so I know that only I possess it entirely.
If you are a fan of the book Nevermore or just generally like dark, mysterious, and sexy-oozing stories with a paranormal aspect, Falling Under is most definitely the book for you! Dark and utterly compelling. This is one book you do not want to pass up.
Posted June 28, 2012
Posted June 7, 2012
I got this book thinking it was about something different but I was so intrigued that I had to keep reading it! It was so good I may even read it again and I've never done that before!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 24, 2012
I so wanted to love this book cause I've heard good things, but looks like I will be settling for the eh, it was okay.
There was really nothing original in Falling Under except male lead is half-human, half-demon. It's basically the same old YA paranormal romance, which really disappointed me. Don't get me wrong, the story had it's moments, but overall, it was just--okay.
One thing that really rubbed me the wrong way was there were references to Twilight in the story. I don't know when writers are going to learn to stay away from referencing Twilight!
I did like the comradery between Theia, Amelia, and Donny. These girls are great together.
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Posted April 2, 2012
In her dreams he's irresistible—seductive, charming, and undoubtedly dangerous. But when he appears to her when she's awake—and captivates her just the same—she's not sure which way is up and which is down.
Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life, not allowed the same freedoms as the rest of the teenagers in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, she feels every urge she's ever denied burning through her at the slightest glance from Haden Black. Theia knows she's seen Haden before—not around town, but in her dreams.
Theia doesn't understand how she dreamed of Haden before they ever met, but every night has them joined in a haunting world of eerie fantasy. And as the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her forward 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 as she slowly discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.
Theia is a talented musician that is dedicated to school and her friends but lacking in a father/daughter relationship. One night, she dreams about a mysterious stranger and the next school day meets Haden, the same boy from her dreams/nightmares. As the two become closer and closer through her dark dreams, Theia eventually learns about the more sinister motives behind Haden's visits but is too far in love to let it stop her. Yet, someone even more deadly and devilish is on the hunt for Theia to take her "Under" for good.
** SPOILERS **
This was a "Meh!" read for me. I was intrigued about the grim parallel universe concept and how disturbing the ghoulish characters were in those eerie dreams/nightmares, but essentially the story's plot was drab, tiresome, and doleful overall. It took me over a week to finish, something that proves my distaste of Falling Under; especially near the end when I was skipping ahead full pages at a time to just finish and move on to a more entertaining book.
One would think Hayden, the main male lead, could add a lot of enchantment and masculine charm to keep the story alive, but he really didn't add enough interest for me to fully grasp that he was capable of a "loving" relationship to begin with. Theia's two best friends, Donny & Amelia, really kept the story going since Theia, herself, easily came off as lifeless, dull, and very tedious. Both of the friends really shared the book, in my opinion, with their own little love adventures going on throughout and I would have much rather followed Donny & Gabe's romantic tension than some of Theia's battles. All in all, this book bored me, was very dragged out and lacked that delightful spark that would peak my curiosity into reading more, but if you had another opinion than mine and wish to read more -- Dreaming Awake seems to be a similar story, if not continuation, of Falling Under and will be released early January 2012.
Likes: The mythological comparisons were easy to make within this book (Hayden=Hades & Theia=Persephone and yet, Theia's name seems a play off of "Lethe" since, in Greek mythology, Lethe was one of the five rivers of Hades), but what I liked best, since I'm a big fan of creepy characters, were the dancing faceless ghouls and stitched up hand-maids and all those other deliciously spooky creatures
Posted March 21, 2012
Posted February 24, 2012
It was a good book in the beggining, but by the second part it had started dragging on and on. Read it if you keep interest for long periods of time, but don't if you dislike waiting for a book to unravel its plot.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 6, 2012
Good. Lord. You have no idea how glad I am to finally be done with this book. So many times I thought about giving up and parting ways, but by some sick and twisted compulsion I had to finish it. I have so many complaints about this book that I kinda don't even want to do this review.
I hated Theia. With the fire of a thousand suns. I'm talking hate like, if-I-ever-met-you-I'd-stab-you-in-the-eye-with-a-rusty-fork hate. She was a boring person with no personality whatsoever to speak of. A shy and insecure wallflower, a pathetic and spineless martyr. Not to mention she was dense - seriously, who doesn't know what a succubus is?
This review is very, very long. See the full thing at geobobspinelli[dot]blogspot[dot]com.
Posted February 15, 2012
Posted February 5, 2012
Posted December 31, 2011
I was captivated and entertained by every word the author wrote in this book. We have all read books about demons and other supernatural creatures that usually follow along the same lines. This book was a change, though!!! Replacing the normal layout, mood, and theme of most supernatural books that we all love was the feeling of a haunting movie. I kept thinking of The Nightmare Before Christmas when i read Falling Under(luckily, this book is WWWAAAYYYYYY better than that movie, since it gave me the creeps and i always had to turn the channel whenever i tried to watch it). The factor that really made me think of that movie was when Theia entered Under through her dreams and met with Haden in his old-fashioned clothes and a tophat with ghosts and ghouls behind him that he was able to control. I ADORE this book and am anticipating the 2nd book to come out on January 3rd. I know it is only a few days away, but i can't hardly contain myself!!!! This book had a wonderful ending that left me satisfied, unlike a lot of books i have read. The ending also left room for something to go wrong, though, and that is why i thought Gwen Hayes left it right where she did, To keep us in suspense. Haden and Theia had an undeniably swoon-worthy romance that keeps you on your toes and makes you go weak at the knees and a flush to constantly make itslef home on your face. If you haven't read this book, YOU ARE MISSING OUT, SO BUY IT ON YOUR NOOK NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.