November 25, 2011

Review: Falling Under, by Gwen Hayes

Author: Gwen Hayes
Title: Falling Under
Series: Falling Under (#1)
ISBN: 9780451232687
Publisher: New American Library (2011)

Buy your copy: Kindle | Paperback

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

-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.-" GoodReads’ blurb

I discovered Falling Under through a Waiting on Wednesday for its sequel, and, of course, I was fascinated by the cover and the premise. Has it lived up to expectations? Well... Let’s see step by step!

I think the key to this story is in the characters. Rather, the main character. She’s pretty particular, in my humble opinion, and if you don’t like her voice, then you’re in trouble. Theia is not your average heroine, in that she’s not a kick-ass girl sure of herself, being all popular and snatching the guy.

Then again, the mellow and soft has been done before as well – yes, I’m thinking Bella. Actually, while the main characters from Falling Under are nothing like Bella and Edward from Twilight, I’ve found a few points in common. Curiously, these points are the ones mentioned in several posts that talk about the Twilight couple having an unhealthy relationship – Haden also warns Theia that he’s dangerous, also tries to scare her and threatens that if she doesn’t leave him, she’ll be hurt very badly. This didn’t bother me in Twilight, though (I had other complains, myself) and it hasn’t taken from my enjoyment of Falling Under, but I thought I should point it out.

Well, actually, I just got sidetracked there, but never you mind. It was a relevant side-tracking, so it stays on the review.

So! Back to Haden. Does he feel like an unbalanced abuser? No. Does he have a strong chemistry with Theia? Yes, I think he does. Still, I’ll be honest: I didn’t get into him until the POV changed from Theia to him. At that point, though, the author did such a great job of showing the personality we’d only glimpsed before that I fell in love with him.

Probably would have loved the book much better if it had been told from his POV, actually. Theia has been home educated, hasn’t much experience acting around other people, and her father is an overbearing presence in her life, choking her with the ghost of her dead mother. While watching how she tries to find her place and grow into her own skin was entertaining, I found her voice to be a little too stiff. In plain words: the text was too elegant to be a teenager’s thoughts. I get that some among us love words and can get quite pesky with them, but she didn’t seem to fit.

In any case, while less appealing than Haden, Theia was by no means “wrong”. I did get to hate her friend Donny, though. They didn’t fit, and her man-eater tirades derailed the important topics. I think Theia would have been better served with Amelia and Gabe and Varnie, and dumping Max and Donny... but I’m rambling a lot about characters you don’t know, so this is probably unfair. Let’s just say that part of the support cast was amazing, and part of it was awful – and all of it developed well enough to make you feel towards them.

The story itself was enjoyable, even if not breathtaking. I liked the dream sequences, and the way the main characters had a different relationship asleep and awake. I thought that the revelation of who Haden is was very well accepted by Theia, but hey, love can do that to you. There’s a thing or two I’d have liked to see explained, though, like why she could feel him when he touched other girls, whether it was on purpose...

In any case, I know for sure that I’ll pick up the sequel. All the pieces have moved into place by the time Falling Under is over, and I’ve seen from reading Haden’s point of view the kind of talent that the author has. All Hell’s about to break loose, and I would not miss it for the world! I’ll wait, and hope that the new Theia is more interesting than the old one, that we get more of Haden’s POV, that Amelia forgets all about Max, and that Donny stops being Donny.

It won’t work out like that, probably, but I still want to know how it ends.


  1. Hey, interesting review! I have this book myself, but haven't read it yet. (I have so many of those...) So now I'm really intrigued by this novel, wondering if my reaction to it will be at all similar to yours.

    I have mixed feelings about books whose heroes and heroines are similar to Edward and Bella. On the one hand, it takes away from an author's originality, but on the other, it gratifies that part of me that is insatiable where The Twilight Saga is concerned!! I think that, as long as a writer handles the plot and supporting characters well, I can tolerate a bit of "Twilight cloning", so to speak...

    Thanks for another of your thought-provoking reviews!!

    Hope you had a GREAT Thanksgiving!! Mine was pretty good, except I had to go to work today...and couldn't leave any earlier than 3:00 PM! (I usually work from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.)

  2. Hmm... This book does sound interesting. I find that sometimes the first book in a series is a little slow but once the series gets going the books get better and better.

    I think I will try and get this one but it's not on the top of my to-get pile. Thanks for the review.

    PS I really like when we get the male leads perspective it makes the book more interesting.

  3. This cover is gorgeous. But, reading those types of relationships kind of bug me. At least I know to expect it when I read this.

  4. I like Theia and the progression of her character in this novel. While her voice was a bit stiff, I think it fit the kind of upbringing and emotional repression she's had. I never though of how much better the book could've been from Haden's perspective, but I think it was actually perfect being from Theia's perspective first. We got to see her perception of Haden. If it had been from Haden's all along he definitely wouldn't have seemed as dangerous or mysterious... or nearly as interesting. I thought where Hayes left her characters at the end of the novel was quite gutsy, and I can't wait for Dreaming Awake :)

  5. Hi everyone! Thanks lots for stopping by and commenting! And now...

    @Maria: Don't worry, I don't think the Bella/Edward will be too jarring. It did register in my case, more so because I had just read a few posts on Twilight, but it won't spoil the story. If you get around to reading it, I'll be looking forward to your comments! I know all about having too many unread books, too. I'm glad you enjoyed Thanksgiving! We don't really celebrate it here, but I did have a blast sharing thanks messages with my American friends :)

    @Nicole: Male lead perspective is great, I agree! And yes, judging by how it ended, book 2 will have much more action than 1...

    @Christy: Yeah, I know what you mean - that's why I put out the warning, just in case! But I think book 2 will probably make it worth it - stuff has the potential to change *a lot* by the end of book 1!

    @Dani: Mmmh... Now that you mention it, I think you're right: seeing Theia's perception of Haden was very interesting, and a great way to get Haden across as what he is. Still, I'd perhaps have liked Haden's POV to last longer. Or to have had the bits that were in third person told from Haden's POV, a bit longer and more detailed... Still, yeah, I think Dreaming Awake will be quite good, there's a lot of potential in the way Falling Under ended!

  6. Your review of Falling Under is wonderfully detailed. I am trying to think if I have even seen this series. I don't believe that I have. I will have to go look up the next in the series to see if that cover rings a bell.

  7. Great review. I agree. I would have liked to see more of Haden's point of view. I definitely am going to be picking up the sequel as well!

  8. I'm glad you enjoyed this one! I really want to read it. This sounds like a promising read. The covers are sooooo gorgeous. Thanks for the awesome review!


  9. Hi! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    @Steph: I'd not seen it either before I ran into the sequel's cover, so I think it's been kind of hidden... Or I wasn't too good at looking before I started the blog. That's entirely possible too! In any case, I'm so glad you liked the review! Thanks!

    @Brittani: Wasn't is great the way the voice changed so completely from Theia from Haden? I can't wait to see if we get more of him in book 2!

    @Jaskirat: Thanks! Yeah, it might not have been "the" read, but it still was very enjoyable. I hope you like it as well if you do get around to it!