Fallen Duo by Alex Stargazer
Book 1: Fallen Love
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Alex Stargazer’s latest book, Fallen Love. I was looking for a new fantasy book/series, with elements of romance. This fit the bill. Plus, I got to be a part of his crowd fund group through Kickstarter. I had to wait quite a while to receive the paperback, but it was well worth the wait. This story captured my interest right away, which is no small matter. Because stories have so many elements to them, I feel it’s only fair to break down my review into four categories: Plot, Prose, Character Development, and Originality. Overall, Fallen Love deserves a solid 4 out of 5 stars. I’m greatly looking forward to reading the next in the series: Fallen Desire. But I’m getting ahead of myself . . .
The introduction of Conall and Mark starts the story off at breakneck speed. They’re being chased by Scarabs—very nasty, ugly creatures. The story then fades to a slower pace, and Alex does a fantastic job of creating a tantalizing build. A lot of mystery surrounds the character of Mark. He doesn’t know much of his origins. Only that his mother died, while giving birth to him. Mark’s father abandoned him. And so he ended up being raised by his uncle, his mother’s brother. Because of being an orphan, his class was downgraded to Fallen. In contrast, Conall is a rich boy, an Upperclassman, around the age of 19 (I think). He’s been given excess, his whole life. Yet he isn’t conceited. This was something I truly loved about the character of Conall. Pure of heart, even while being raised in that wealthy lifestyle. He does on occasion come off as a partier, but that only adds to his charm. The context is everything. You’ll just have to read the book, to see what I mean.
Then there’s the character of Kaylin. She is a powerhouse. Very deep personality. Always tries to see the big picture of what’s happening around her. She dabbles in magic, throughout. Her Vision ability is both awesome and horrifying. She mostly Sees in the timeframe very close to her own position in time. She also has telepathic abilities. Overall, she’s a great main character, as are Mark and Conall.
By the halfway point of the story, I literally couldn’t put the book down. I binged about 200 pages or so in one day, which is a rarity for me. Like I said earlier, though, Alex does a great job of keeping the story pace at tantalizing levels. Just when the tempo starts to wane, something happens to drive intrigue back into it.
The docked star for plot would be that Mark’s history isn’t brought up early enough for Alex to flesh out more things regarding Mark’s character. This is more personal preference, than anything. By the halfway point of the story, a lot is going on. So, I get why Alex had to put some things on hold. I’m hoping to see more explored on that, in the next book.
Prose/Style & Grammar 3/5
I’ll keep this section short. The prose is good. At times, fun. I like the similes Alex uses. Sometimes authors make them awkward. But I didn’t experience that at all, with Fallen Love. Each simile/comparison that the viewpoint character made was tailored to them. Each character has a unique voice. You can almost tell who the viewpoint character is, simply by how their narrative is structured and worded.
If it weren’t for the consistent spelling and punctuation slipups, I’d be giving this section 5 out of 5. However, fair’s fair. I can’t overlook that this book needed another proofreading or two, to catch the simple but obvious mistakes.
Character Development 4/5
The development of the main characters is excellent, aside from Mark, and a character introduced much later in the story by the name of Michael. A lot more could’ve been done with Michael’s character. My only hope is that he will be in the sequel more than he was in Fallen Love.
I do wish there had been a few more supporting characters or that the supporting characters introduced, ones such as Diana and Declan, had more “screen time.” Shadow was another standout character that could’ve played a bigger role. This story is grand enough to give the supporting cast more depth, without detracting from the main storyline. But, again, this comes down to personal preference.
On a side note, potential readers should know that this book is not in the erotica genre. If you’re expecting a sex-filled story, look elsewhere. While this does have romance—same-sex intimacy, some really steamy scenes, and a few sex scenes—that’s not the primary focus of this story. There are also some rather tragic, violent moments. I wouldn’t recommend that any reader younger than sixteen read this book, maybe a mature fourteen or fifteen-year-old. Some of the themes are dark, but very realistic. The story wouldn’t have the impact that it does, if the violence had been downplayed at all. Just thought I’d warn you, though, please don’t be letting your immature thirteen-year-old read this book. Oh, and there are a lot of F-bombs. If that bothers you too much, again, look elsewhere.
Oh my gosh, the originality! Absolutely refreshing! Fallen Love is a blend of many familiar stories, almost like it has an echo of them. Yet it is a powerful story in its own right, with its own foundation, its own unique characters, and so many novel things. The stories I was reminded of are mainstream. Books like Hunger Games, with its politics and class system. While HG has districts, Fallen Love has quarters; the Fallen Quarter, Middle Quarter, and the Upper Quarter. Though FL isn’t about politics, right away, it leads into that and then . . . other things. But I don’t want to ruin the surprise. It’s best if you just read how it all plays out for yourself.
There’s a wonderful blend of futuristic technology and magic. Initially, the tech takes the stage. But more magic is brought in, farther along in the story, mostly through Kaylin’s character. The Black Book is one of the most intriguing parts of the magic in Fallen Love. I have a feeling it’ll be in the sequel far more than it was in this one.
Book 2: Fallen Desire
Alex Stargazer has stepped up his game, with Fallen Desire. And I couldn’t be happier. The foundation he spent time on in the first book has paid off, for he has started the story’s continuation at a sprint. Because stories have so many elements to them, I feel it’s only fair to break down my review into four categories: Plot, Prose, Character Development, and Originality. Overall, Fallen Desire deserves 5 out of 5 stars.
The story begins in Hell, a Citadel with many bridges, a lake of fire, and places no demon dares to tread, for Lucifer has forbidden certain parts of it from ever being visited. The rumor is a dragon lurks there. It’s up to Mark to find the devil’s weakness. Does Lucifer even have one? Mark often wonders this very thing. He meets imps, demons, and banished humans, including several of Lucifer’s favorites. If only he could turn one, and get him . . . or her, to join his side. Mark has quite the task ahead.
Then there’s Conall, on the run from the Party, wondering if he’ll ever see Mark again. He’s along for the ride, facing the repercussions of a political figure’s death in book 1. He takes it upon himself to see that Mark’s uncle is safe. Much of Conall’s ‘screen time’ is action-packed. He’s definitely had to grow up a bit, realizing that he, though more fragile than a demon, has an important part to play in bringing down Lucifer.
Kaylin’s still a powerhouse. A witch, determined to improve herself. How else could she hope to go toe to toe with the devil, and win? She couldn’t, really. So, with her book of mysterious origin in hand, she leaves her position as the leader of a rebellion for a time. She goes to a place of magic. Mount Everest. Someone has been waiting there expectantly for her. Through a series of events, Kaylin’s introduced to more books of magic. The keeper of the books might perhaps have an answer of how to defeat the devil.
Prose/Style & Grammar 4/5
I swear, this author wrote another book in between Fallen Love and its sequel: Fallen Desire. He has grown so much, as a writer. His descriptions transported me to the pit of Hell; to the fiery lake there, frozen over for a time of demons to duel with each other. The dialogue flowed even more naturally than in book 1, and allowed the characters to take the stage. There’s much wit and sarcasm, even amidst tough times. It’s one of the things I love about Alex’s writing style.
The reason for the docked star, here, has to do with some repetitious phrases. Each author has certain things they tend to overuse. Alex is no exception. It wasn’t terribly distracting. In fact, I really, really wanted to give five stars here, as well, but I can’t give a rating of perfection, when there were some things that occasionally broke the flow of the story.
Character Development 5/5
The characters leap off the page, and steal your heart, especially Mark, Conall, and Kaylin. They are deeper than they were in Fallen Love. They more clearly know what they’re after, and they’re fighting desperately to get it. But will they succeed? What sacrifices must they make to claim victory? Will the devil, Lucifer, prove to be the wicked demon all believe him to be, or will he prove to be something else . . . something unexpected? Reading about these characters, and watching them grow, as they battle through every hurdle thrown at them is nothing short of thrilling.
I’m happy to say that the supporting cast, including several new faces, did their part in bringing the story to life. Many things are wrapped up nice and neat, though not without losses and tragedy along the way. Fallen Desire has all the pieces of an epic story.
On a side note, this book contains language and some sex scenes, though not as much as what the first book had, yet the sex scenes are just . . . more. If you read this sequel, you’ll know what I mean. The dark themes from book 1 continue on, to create realism within the story. As I said in my review of Fallen Love, please don’t let your immature thirteen-year-old read this book.
Alex fought hard to keep that original spark going, I can tell. And good news! He succeeded. Truly, Fallen Desire paints the devil, Lucifer, in a whole new way. I wasn’t expecting the story to take the turn that it did. For the briefest of moments, I was even rooting for the devil. Does that make me wicked? Perhaps. I love it when authors take the time to make their antagonists relatable. It makes for a better story, in my opinion.
The complexity, the mystery, the world-building, all of it is tantalizing. An even blend of Sci-fi meets Fantasy. It’s the sort of story you want to read within a day, yet wish to savor by taking your time to read through more slowly. Take a break from life, and escape to the world of Fallen Love and Fallen Desire. For me, there are no regrets.
Thanks for reading my two long reviews all the way to the end.
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