Thursday, September 25, 2008

A self-absorbed and experiential review of Fallen

The book Fallen by Erin McCarthy has been sitting by my computer forever. I've been meaning to write about my experience with it, which was oddly intense. But I've been putting it off, because I know that I don't have a lot of objectivity about it.

Oooh, it sounds like I'm going to pan it now, doesn't it? Quite the opposite.

A little context: as many of you know or guessed, I lost a family member this past summer, which was (and still is) quite devastating (but I'm not saying this to get sympathy! Please: no sympathy comments. I'm serious.) I say it only to make this discussion make sense, because Fallen was the book I was reading through the whole long process of the events unfolding. And one thing about sadness: it can make you tired, so I was reading really slowly, a few pages a night and then zonk. So it was like this book took one long sad month to read.

And I couldn't have asked for a better book!

Fallen centers almost entirely two characters: fallen angel Gabriel and forensic scientist Sara Michaels. They're both tormented, trying to recapture their lives after awful tragedies. And they care about each other, treat each other with extreme kindness and come to understand things about each other from close, thoughtful observation. Was the psychological precision with which they observed each other unrealistic? I just don't know. What I can say is that it sure felt nice to be with these two characters acting this way at that particular time, compared to say, a smartass heroine and some monstery guys.

The world of the book was fabulous, too--a richly drawn New Orleans past and present, and a lot of the action takes place in Gabriel's apartment, which is a safe haven for them both. They even bring a little homeless kitten into the apartment. It was just such a comforting and pleasing read.

Not to make it sound boring. I mean, there are a couple pretty grisly murders--both happen offstage, but there are plenty of details, and a sense of danger. And a whole smoldery, sexy subplot where Gabriel and Sara totally want each other but can't be together for various reasons.

Overall, I would describe this as a thoughtful, somewhat psychological paranormal that I would highly recommend, especially if you're in a melancholy mood. This is part of McCarthy's "seven deadly sins" series of "dark paranormals." I can't say I found it so dark but labels can be so weird.

Covers, too. I can assure you, Gabriel is never a statue like it shows on the cover--he looks like a normal guy through the whole thing. And I always saw Sara's character as normal looking, too--not like the gorgeous creature on the cover. Who is that woman with the shiny beautiful hair and satiny back-baring dress and why is she hugging a statue?

I won this book from Wendy over at Kicks and Giggles (Thanks, Wendy!) I'm definitely going to read more of McCarthy's stuff.  Other Erin McCarthy recommendations welcome! This book is also reviewed at Scooper Speaks and Romance Reviews Today.

26 comments:

Amy said...

Loved this book! The first one in the series, My Immortal, was muy awesome as well.

And thanks for mentioning RRT!

Carolyn Jean said...

Hey, Amy. Thanks for stopping by!

sayuri60 said...

I love Erin McCarthy's contemps. LOVE THEM. Heiress for Hire, loved it! (Did you guess that I loved it?)
I have had 'My Immortal sitting for ages, but just haven't had the intrest to pick it up and read the damn thing.

I think I might after this review. I have to read things in order. It's the ocd.

Holly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Holly said...

Isn't it funny how our reading can be colored by what we've got going on in real life?

Last year (I think it was in August) MM and I went to Laughlin to scope it out as a place to have our wedding. I read a book by Susan Mallery the weekend we were there, and ever since whenever I think of the novel I'm transported back to that little hotel room we stayed in, and the smell of the river and a warm, happy, FREAKING SCARED feeling in my chest. *g* I get you on that.

Anyway...

I really love her contemps, but since I'm burned out on paranormals I haven't read any of hers. I'll be adding this to my wishlist, though.

Brie said...

I'm reading a short by Erin McCarthy (Russian Roulette) right now. I think that it is a part of this series since it is set in NO, but I could be wrong.

Thanks for clearing up the statue cover. Whenever I see this book in the store I always think it's about a gargoyle and the woman who loves him desperately.

Liza said...

I'll have to give this book a try.

Wendy said...

Hi, CJ! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed Fallen and you are definitely welcome.

I hope you try some of her "lighter" stuff, it's great and funny and I'm sure you'll like it as well. :)

Icedream said...

I bloghopped over from Nicola's Alpha Heroes blog. I have just really started to get into the paranormal romance genre, it's hit or miss with me most often but your review of Fallen was great and I will add it to my list of books to try. Really great blog!

Ladytink_534 said...

I read My Immortal a few months ago and bought Fallen but I still haven't read it lol. Her Vegas Vampire series is good (and funny!) though.

Ana said...

This is so eerie! I JUST finished reading a novella by Erin in the Magical Christmas Cat anthology and there I was thinking, hummmm, this short is actually really good. Both hero and heroine were not Extremely anything i.e. not extemely pretty or hot or powerful, just to regular people falling in love (well as much "regular" as a witch can be) and I thought I should look her books up after doing my morning blog hopping, and here you are with a wonderful recommendation. I am so getting this! Thanks!

Carolyn Jean said...

Sayuri: I should definitely try Heiress next.

Holly: Oh, funny. You had it with Susan Mallery.

Brie: I wonder. I know this is book 2, but the first is a full length.

Liza, Maybe you'd like it. It's very thoughtful. The end wraps up sort of snappy, but I still liked it.

Wendy: Thanks!

IceDream: Welcome. Oh, so many great paranormals out there! And lots of bad ones.

LT: I want to read My Immortal now.

Ana: She is a good writer. Why aren't we hearing about her?

Ciara said...

ooo, that review sealed it for me. Must have boooooook. I get tired of a "a smartass heroine and some monstery guys," who usually argue all the time. It would be nice to read two people who are actually nice to each other. lol. Personally, I don't think romances should be set up with the hero and heroine in opposition to each other as antagonist-protagonist. I prefer a book where they work together to fight the bad guy, and fall in love by that shared experience. I like my heroes to be strong and tough, but NICE to the heroine. I've read a few of EM's lighter paranormal series and enjoyed them. Her characters are always people with whom I could imagine being friends. ;)

thanks for the review!

Wendy said...

I have another copy of this book, if anyone is interested - it's just in manuscript form - but if you want it, email me and I'll send it to you. :)

Christine said...

The cover is very beautiful. And kind of sad, too.

Oh, and the gorgeous model on the cover is me. The model who looked like the heroine couldn't make it. :P

naida said...

Fallen sounds like a good read. I do like that cover.

http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

Taja said...

I think Fallen sounds very interesting and I put on my tbb list. Thanks for the review.

Shannon said...

Oh, that sounds good. I think I need to add it to my "purchase after book challenge is finished" list.

jessewave said...

What a thoughtful review CJ. I have never read any of McCarthy's stuff but I do intend to try this one b/c I love paranormals (yes I do read other genres - I just don't review them *g*)

Serena said...

i love the cover of this book and it sounds like a great book to read.

Sarai said...

OMG so I can't read the review b/c I haven't read the book but a heroine with the name of Sara is AWESOME!!! I do own it so maybe when the funk is over I should see about reading this one!!!

Heather said...

I think I'll put it on my list to read - need something different for me - sounds great. And huge congrats on your book deal!!!

Tracy said...

Now I read about 1/42 to 1/2 and couldn't finish the rest. Maybe I just wasn't giving it the attention it needed. Or maybe in my life I wasn't in a "good" place - make sense? All right, I'll try to pick it up again - I always trust your reviews! :)

LesleyW said...

I'm intrigued and have added this to my wishlist. Do I need to have read My Immortal first or am I okay to start with Fallen?

Carolyn Jean said...

Ciara: I know you mentioned EM's lighter ones. I'll definitely try them.

Wendy: How do you have the ms??

Christine! You!

Naida: I'll be interested to see what you think!

Taja, S, S, S & Wave, Serena: See what you think! It's not like my fave ever, but it was good.

Heather: Thanks!! And thanks for stopping by!

Tracy: I can see it. It's not like super exciting.

Lesley: I didn't read the first. I don't think you have to.

Tracy said...

CJ & Lesley - you really don't have to read the first - I can't remember exactly but I don't remember them being connected at all.