About the Book

Title: The Fallen (The Nine Lives of Chloe King #1)
Published: 2004
Series: The Nine Lives of Chloe King
Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Cover Story: Thx, But No
BFF Charm: Yes
Talky Talk: Awkward Laughs
Bonus Factor: Cat Powers
Relationship Status: Dumb But Cute

Cover Story: Thx, But No

Well, if it isn’t my least favorite YA cover staple, the half face! In this case, the profile half face, showing off a cat eye. You know things have gotten really bad when I think to myself “Well, at least it’s not a dark, shadowy emo-face!” I didn’t realize there were degrees of badness when it came to the half face, but I guess there are. However, I like the Coit Tower at the bottom and wish that had been what the cover was all about.

The Deal:

If this plot sounds at all familiar, it is probably because OH YEAH ABC Family just turned this bad boy into a tv series and I’ve been recapping it. Chloe King is just a regular 16 year old girl, until the day she accidentally falls off San Francisco’s Coit Tower. Miraculously, she survives, though neither she nor her best friends Amy and Paul can explain how. Soon after, she begins developing strange, cat-like powers – agility, speed and even claws. New powers lead to new confidence, and Chloe finds herself entangled with two different guys. There is Alyec, the sexy Russian bad boy/popular guy at her high school and Brian, the older, nice guy who really seems to really get Chloe. But Chloe finds out that her powers aren’t necessarily a blessing once a mysterious assassin begins hunting her down.

I actually found myself surprised with how similar the plot of the original book is to the show. Not much was changed and there isn’t much more in the book, overarching story-wise, that you didn’t find out from the pilot episode. Some noticeable differences are that Chloe spends the entire book not knowing that Alyec/Alek is Mai (in fact, while Chloe realizes she’s cat people, in the book she has yet to have anyone explain to her what a Mai is.) Jasmine doesn’t exist (at least not yet.) While not explicitly stated, it’s clear from the book that Chloe’s powers are triggered by the onset of puberty (aka her first period), which is weird, but at least a decent explanation for why she didn’t have her powers her entire life. Book Chloe also seems to acquire many more cat habits, including but not limited to going into heat. Seriously, she doesn’t realize why she’s behaving the way she is, and it’s both gross and hilarious.*

*As someone who once watched her old cat go through heat, I can confirm that it is the most horrifying thing a human can witness. My cat would present herself to my then boyfriend/now husband, but not me, because she knew he was male and I wasn’t. I got her spayed so fast it wasn’t even funny.

BFF Charm: Yes

Yay BFF Charm

Chloe is in desperate need of a good friend and I would definitely be willing to fill that role. When her two best friends Paul and Amy begin dating shortly after her untimely (and temporary) demise, Chloe gets third wheeled, hard. Everything used to be the three of them and now things are just the two of them with Chloe largely being ignored. Which is why once Chloe begins developing her cat powers, she has no one to confide in. I would totally be willing to listen to her boy drama, momma drama and cat drama and I feel like Chloe would be more than willing to reciprocate. Hell, she goes to every single one of Amy’s heinous coffeehouse poetry readings. Is that isn’t pure dedication to friendship, I don’t know what is. Chloe can be a little immature and reckless, but not too much and I think I could talk some sense into her if need be.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

So, there is definitely a Alyec-Chloe-Brian love triangle going on here. But it’s not the kind of triangle (at least not yet) that aggravates me. Instead of both guys claiming their undying devotion to Chloe, both are casual enough that she feels no need to tie herself down to one or the other. Both have legitimate pluses and minuses. Alyec knows she might have another guy around, but doesn’t really mind. And when Brian is upset to find out that Alyec is in the picture, Chloe pretty much lays it all out for him – that he hadn’t bothered to make a move, they aren’t bf/gf, so what did he expect? So instead of this being an End All Be All Love Triangle, it is a much more realistic 16 year old girl, casually exploring her dating options. Neither relationship is too scandalous and mostly stay within the spectrum of flirty and fun.

Talky Talk: Awkward Laughs

This book doesn’t take itself too seriously, and as a result, the dialogue is pretty light. Chloe’s narration is quippy and sarcastic and occasionly made me chuckle. For example:

Chloe shuddered. Thinking of Paul having sex made her think of Paul having a penis, and Paul’s penis was definitely something she never wanted to think about. Much less Amy and Paul having sex. Together.

Nothing here gets too deep or complicated and you will find yourself moving through the story fairly quickly.

Bonus Factor: Cat Powers

I am as much of a cat lady as it’s possible to be without owning cats, so it’s no surprise that I enjoy Chloe’s cat powers. With so many were-books flooding the YA market, it is nice when the occasional author throws a bone (squeakie mouse?) to us cat lovers every once and a while.

Casting Call:

As someone who is now watching the television version of this book, I have a hard time picturing the characters any other way. Alyec/Alek and Paul seem like perfect casting choices to me. Amy and Brian don’t quite match up to their book counterparts but aren’t totally off base either. Overall, some decent casting on the show’s part.

Relationship Status: Dumb But Cute

This book is basically a mimbo. Kind of dumb, but attractive and fun enough that you don’t really care about the lack of mental stimulation while you’re with it. Nothing serious is going to come of this, but it doesn’t mean I won’t stick around and have some casual fun while I’m at it. If you’re enjoying the tv show, you will probably enjoy the book as well, and should jump on it.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). The Fallen is available now.

Megan is an unabashed fangirl who is often in a state of panic about her inability to watch, read and play all the things.