Review: "Unforgiven" by Lauren Kate
At long last I have completed my winter to spring list and fittingly this list ended with the final book in Lauren Kate's Fallen series. I am both excited to review the last book of this wonderful series as well as begin my summer reading list. So without further adieu, I will begin with the summary of the book. As per usual I also now warn you of a spoiler warning since this is obviously the last book in a series I will be discussing.
Cam knows what its like to be haunted. He's spent more time in Hell than any angel ever should. And his freshest Hell is high school, where Lilith, the girl he can't stop loving, is serving out a punishment for his crimes. Cam made a bet with Lucifer: he has fifteen days to convince the only girl who really matters to him to love him again. If he succeeds, Lilith will be allowed back into the world, and they can live their lives together. But if he fails...there's a special place in Hell just for him. Tick-tock. Spread your wings and cry as bad boy dark angel Cam finally reveals his anguished heart in the epic new FALLEN novel, Unforgiven.
Lauren Kate's Fallen series has been a series I have followed since early high school. As you've obviously seen from the books I have read and reviewed in this blog, I'm an obvious fan of hers as I have also read and reviewed her Teardrop series. I was excited to hear this book announced so much to the point that I pre-ordered its release. Truthfully I was not disappointed with the read but will admit I have some reservations towards the contents of this book.
Naturally I will begin with what I loved: Kate's scintillating narrative returns to my bookshelf once again like a dearly departed friend who, with the added bonus of the story being told solely about Cam and his doomed girlfriend Lilith, returned slightly more cultured. Of the entire cast I have been exposed to throughout the series, Cam was definitely the most worthy to receive this epilogue. The journey he takes in this story is guided by his admiration of Luce and Daniel's struggles for one another and thankfully, the duo only appear once or twice in the story (no lime-light to steal from Cam).
My reservations are enough to compare but should not be mistaken for disappointment, I did enjoy this final book. My biggest reservation is how identical Lilith's curse was to Luce's. At first the comparison seemed like night and day as the story suggested Luce would burn to a new lifetime again and again versus Lilith simply living a hellish eternity in, well, hell. However in the last few pages it is revealed that identically to Luce, Lilith has lived hells that place her throughout imitation versions of history. This reveal felt like an extremely summarized version of Passion the third book in the series where we actually get to explore Luce's reincarnated lives, one by one.
My other reservation with this story is how the curse upon Lilith came about. In comparison to the reason for Luce to become cursed this felt so very vanilla. As the story goes, Lilith wants to marry Cam in ancient Canaan and as a fallen angel he cannot enter a temple. Of course he refuses to admit this to Lilith so miscommunication ensues and Cam leaves her grieving. Lilith is so heart broken that misfortune lands her in Lucifer's company and she strikes a deal. The deal is identical to the one Cam accepts at the beginning of this story, Lucifer takes Lilith to Cam and she must convince him to marry her or she will belong to Lucifer. She fails, Cam skips out on the situation and Lucifer persuades Lilith into committing suicide, condemning her to hell right after.
Maybe its not fair to compare this to Luce and Daniel's reason for being cursed (which was choosing each other over the sides developing in the war of heaven and hell) but its difficult not too when the previous situation with a curse was so original and interesting. It almost feels as though this book piggybacks on the concepts used of the rest of the series, which is not inherently bad but still leaves me feeling as though I may have been robbed of a particularly more interesting curse instead of simply receiving the same situation over again.
The problems that I find with the identical situation especially applies to the ending. At the end Cam wins the day and finally rescues his bride but as they are finally professing their love, Lilith's illusionary hell melts away and there is only a brief moment of grief for her to feel it before she is ready to begin her life with Cam at last. This goes back into my earlier comment of this book almost feeling like a very summarized version of Passion. Passion was my favorite book in this series because it took its time allowing us to explore Luce's lives and really delve into different periods in history. Rapture will always be second best in my book because of the emotional trauma Luce endured when she finally figured out who she really was, accepting that the friends and family she had throughout her curse were real but not anything she could hold onto.
That, I feel, is precisely what was lost in this book. Lilith grieved little for the life she thought she had and the life she actually had. Ultimately I feel that this is what left the book feeling a bit more shallow than the other books in the series.
All that being said, I still really enjoyed this book and watching the story end with the one character who had truly earned their own book. It is a fitting end to this series and, even though it may be lacking in the same depth and unique story elements of its predecessors. This epilogue is a definite must if you have been following Lauren Kate's wonderful series.