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