I actually had no intention of ever reading this book. Yeah, I thought it had a (very) pretty cover, but I really dislike Paranormal Romance, for the most part. Especially of the YA variety. I've read all the Twilight books, and I honest to god despise those books (why I read them all is still a mystery to me actually) and it feels like any other paranormal romance I've TRIED to read just follows in Twilight's footsteps. The only reason I picked this up is because the publishing company Random House came to the bookstore I work at to present their fall-line up books back in October and very generously gave all the employees at the store free finished books. One of the books I got was Torment, and I wasn't going to read it without having read the first book beforehand. So, when I was at the library last, I picked this up. I'm not going to say I was disappointed, because honestly I expecting much. No, I got pretty much what I thought I had coming, and that was a very mediocre PR that manages to be a little better than Twilight, but honestly... that's not saying much.
The first thing that stuck out for me was the setting: Sword and Cross Academy seemed like it was supposed to be this gothic and spooky kind of place, but I found the whole set-up incredibly unrealistic. It didn't seem like a very strict penitentiary, or juvenile detention center if you ask me. The students/interns there had waayyy too much freedom. Very little of it rang true for me.
"Oh Michelle, just get past the silly unrealistic setting and just dive into the story!" Okay okayyy, but there was very little for me there too. I found the characters incredibly dull. Luce was so boring and bland and had very little personality. Her personality actually seems to be defined by Daniel. All she does is pine after him. Her friend Ariane had a little spunk, but I didn't find her particularly likable. She was too hung up on acting "weird" and "crazy" and it just kind of irked me. I found Daniel ridiculous. I know he was being super mean to Luce because of the curse and all that jazz, but it all reminded me too much of Twilight, how Edward was rude to Bella at first. Cam came off to much as looking like the "good guy" and the "right" choice for Luce, so his devolution in a bad guy felt a little jarring for me.
The pacing of the story also felt tedious. There's all this build-up to the mystery surrounding Daniel (which was all very obvious from the get-go, with the whole reincarnation stuff) but it took soo long for anything to REALLY start happening. All the action was packed into the climax, at the very end of the novel, which all felt very rushed. Also, the big reveal about the nature of Luce and Daniel's relationship was really underwhelming, but as I mentioned above, all this was really obvious to me from the get-go, so it was more a case of plodding through the plot, waiting to get to this big reveal than actually in anticipation for it. It's just unfortunate that the journey there was so blah for me.
This is just a bit of nitpick, but I also had a problem with all these angels hanging around a juvenile detention school. I get that Daniel was trying to find a place where Luce would NEVER find him, but what is everyone else doing there? Are they there because of Daniel? Also, of ALLLL the places you could be (the possibilities are endless!!) WHY would you want to spend time there? It just didn't make sense to me. I get that there wouldn't be a story if things didn't happen that way, but I hate that excuse for things like this. I know I know, I'm just being picky and naggy, but these were serious thoughts I had while reading this book.
Now, it's a little unfair for me to be even reviewing this book I think, because seriously, this is just not my genre. I know it's not my thing, and I always go in with a bit of trepidation. However, I am always open to books surprising me and maybe showing me something I might like, and I tried to have this kind of open mind for this book, but alas, it didn't really help it much. Something kept me going though, and I did make it to the end; it's a very quick read despite its page count. Am I going to read the sequel? Yes, but only because I already own it. I would've never seek this one out myself. I already own it though, and I got it for free, so eh, why not? Also, I read a review at calico_reaction and apparently Luce questions things a little more in the second installment, which is something I think I might appreciate.
Final Verdict: This book just wasn't for me, but I knew that going in. The setting just didn't ring true and none of the characters did anything for me. I'm just not invested in Luce's and Daniel's relationship, but that's mostly because I am so tried and tired of the love triangle, and the star-crossed lovers trope. So really, a lot of this is a case of "it's not you, it's me", but this book really could be a lot of light and fluffy fun. It's just not my cup of tea. I think this book will really appeal to fans of PR, as it pulls all the stops. I will be reading the sequel, but only because I already have it and because, based upon reviews I've read, I think it'll do some things that I'll like. I I guess we'll see. :)