Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 368 pages
Release Date: September 14, 2010
Source: Goodreads First Reads
Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She has spent years keeping everyone at a distance—even her closest friends—and it seems as if her senior year is going to be more of the same...until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can’t seem to stay away from him.
What she doesn’t know is that Luc is on a mission. He’s been sent from Hell itself to claim Frannie’s soul. It should be easy—all he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance. But he has to work fast, because if the infernals are after her, the celestials can’t be far behind. And sure enough, it’s not long before the angel Gabriel shows up, willing to do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for. It isn’t long before they find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie’s soul.
But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay...for all of them.
Based on the book description, the story sounds exciting, doesn’t it? I was certainly pumped and ready to start placing bets before I even cracked the book open. Unfortunately, what I thought would be an adrenaline-pumping, temperature-raising, high-stakes match, turned out to be rather…bleh. An articulate description, I know. Allow me to elaborate.
Let’s begin with the plot. It was rather simple, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since it makes for a light, breezy read. The downside is that for the first half of the book nothing really happens. The three main characters have varying interactions with one another but not in any truly meaningful or riveting way that made me want to care. Sure, there was a lot of flirting, raging hormones, glaring, obsessing, and kissing, but no real substance. When the action did pick up and Frannie was finally faced with some serious conflicts and dangerous situations, it all happened at warp speed with not much built-up of suspense and almost immediate resolution. I found myself repeatedly saying out loud, “Wait, that’s it…that’s all I get?”
The love triangle felt very artificial. The romance altogether was rather shallow and heavy-handed. I will admit that I’m probably biased when it comes to the subject of love. I certainly don’t believe in “love at first sight.” For me love is something that develops over time; its roots taking hold and growing deeper with nourishment. Love is about getting to know one another on multiple levels—learning things about one another like what makes you happy, what makes you sad, and what drives you bonkers. It’s about give and take and compromise. It’s about the small and big experiences that you share together, both good and bad.
In this story, Frannie “falls in love” in a span of just a few days, and her heart jumps back and forth between the two guys with hardly any effort. She barely has one meaningful conversation with either one of these guys and learns virtually nothing about them, before she falls head-over-heels and ends up spending countless pages obsessing over which one makes her heart beat faster. Frannie goes on and on (and on) about how hot they are, about the naughty dreams they invoke, and about the tingling sensations she experiences in certain unmentionable areas of her body. Yeah, that’s not love, that’s lust. At the midway point of the book, the romance did improve and gain more depth…at least in regards to Luc’s reasons for caring about Frannie. Nonetheless, I still could not emotionally connect with any part of the love triangle and found myself not caring who Frannie chose.
Then there are the characters. I did like Luc quite a bit. He had some funny and snarky lines that made me chuckle. Despite being kinda stereotypical, he was probably the only character that truly developed and grew as the story progressed. On the other hand, Gabe, the other contender for Frannie’s heart and soul, was rather two-dimensional. For the first half of the book, he had zero personality, and he didn't do anything other than exchange glares & banter with Luc and flirt with Frannie.
Frannie was also a disappointment. At the start of the book, she spoke her mind, stood her ground, practiced Judo, was a good student, and had some admirable goals & aspirations. I was psyched. I said to myself, “Finally! Here’s a strong-willed, smart, ambitious young heroine that can kick butt.” And then the guys entered the picture. As I flipped the pages, Frannie was reduced to a horny, immature, whiny adolescent that was either crying or obsessing over the hotness that is Luc and Gabe. She became a rather crappy friend to her two supposed besties. She wasn't very nice to her family either (with the exception of her grandfather); she treated them like obstacles rather than people who loved her and were trying to look out for her. She almost completely forgot about school. When she was in class, all she did was stare at or fantasize about the guys, and her attempts at doing homework with either one of them tended to turn into make out sessions. Also, despite years of martial arts training and a 6-degree black belt, Frannie did very little butt kicking. More often than not, she was the damsel in distress in need of being protected and rescued.
Finally, I think it was totally unbelievable how almost completely unfazed Frannie was about learning that Luc was a demon and that he's been manipulating her in order to tag her soul for Hell. She was like, "Oh, okay...well, that's fine because I love you." What the frak?