The Girl Who Fell: A Review
“I am not the girl who fell. I am the girl who got back up.”
(I should have posted this a while ago but here we are 🙂 )
As someone who is inclined to choose to read a contemporary book over a fantasy one, I was looking forward to reading this in order to broaden my horizons but I wasn’t expecting to be blown away. I can see how the fast-paced, action-filled plot of this novel can appeal to readers, but to me the whole storyline felt quite clichéd. However, there were some good elements.
Firstly, for the most part, this book felt quite unoriginal. I felt like I had read this story of this girl who one day finds out she has superpowers or is a wizard (or, in this case, a fairy princess) and who is thrust into this magical world and needs to save her new world from this ‘evil’ villain, many times before. The ‘Luck of Edenhall’ for me just represented any object in fantasy tales that, for some reason, the hero would have to protect from the villain’s grasp. It felt very much like a standard fantasy novel, with no new elements to it. That being said, I did find it interesting that in order to perform some spells in the book, you were required to trade something (for example pain or a memory), but I have seen this be used in other fantasy stories before.
One of the main reasons that I didn’t enjoy this novel very much was the character of Chess Raven. She felt like a standard YA novel heroine, ‘the chosen one’. She had no strong attributes to her personality apart from being brave and ‘not the conventional girl’. I think if Chess’s character had been further developed to seem more authentic and less generic, it would have changed the story for the better. I also really didn’t like Tom’s character – similar to Chess’s, there was nothing about his personality that made him feel real, and he felt very much like a standard love interest with no attributes to him other than his undying (and slightly unrealistic considering he hadn’t seen Chess since they were children) love, devotion and loyalty towards Chess. As is the case with many novels that I find clichéd, my favourite characters were the minor characters – for example Jules. Her character developed quite a bit over the course of the book and it was nice to witness how she and Chess are very loyal to each other.
The romance, in my opinion, added nothing much to the novel and was seemingly only there because the authors felt they needed to add an element of romance in just to appeal to YA readers. It felt very unrealistic that from practically the minute that Chess saw Tom, she fell head over heels in love with him. Although it is addressed that they knew each other when Chess was very young, the sudden obsession that Chess had with Tom felt very forced and unnatural, especially since she described herself as never usually thinking about dating or having relationships. There wasn’t much of a connection between the characters from the start and the whole storyline between them felt very forced and very clichéd.
As for the plot, I liked how fast-paced and engaging it was. It was definitely action-packed, however I believe that more attention should have been allocated to building the characters. Two things didn’t line up, though: at the beginning, when Chess is first thrust into the fairy world, she feels stunned. Somehow this revelation lasts for a few pages, she fits right in in the fairy world and then isn’t really addressed again. Also, this book is marketed as a feminist fantasy book, but I really wish it had more of a feminist element to it. Some scenes really did just have the heroine be miraculously saved by one of the secondary characters.
On a different note, I really liked the political element of the book and how not all of the ‘good guys’ were telling Chess the truth. I loved how fast-paced it was and how most of the loose ends were resolved at the end (although there is definitely a good storyline for the sequel to cover)!
Overall, I probably am not going to read the sequel, but this book helped me expand my genres which I’m really glad about! 😀