My first book series review! Hurray! This is the first book in the series, but you can find the whole series: here.
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these reviews are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this in mind. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said…
Falling by Tara Benham
Synopsis From The Book
An earthquake is coming, soon.
A small town in Kentucky is set to be destroyed.
Bayla, Heaven’s Soul Collector, has been given two tasks; make sure the earthquake happens according to plan, and also make certain Gray Ellison, a teenaged human, survives. Bayla has a perfect record for completing missions; so, when another angel is added into the mix, she begins to question the Head Council’s faith in her.
Just as she is getting used to working with Hadraniel, her unasked for back-up, she has to face another hurdle. When Declan shows up with the mission to make sure Gray doesn’t survive the earthquake, he starts to challenge all of Bayla’s beliefs and plans. Declan isn’t your typical demon. He’s gorgeous and arrogant, but there’s something about him that Bayla can’t quite put her finger on.
Declan’s presence threatens the mission to save Gray, and Bayla herself. Will she be able to complete her assigned mission successfully despite these new obstacles, or will Gray be lost to Hell forever?
Short Synopsis By Me
I’m just going to go with the synopsis above.
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
At Penned con, I was walking around looking at the books, hearing authors talk, and talking to my best friend when I spotted this cover. I said “feathers? Angels.” I was tempted to walk on, but something about the aesthetic of the cover drew me in. Now my best friend isn’t drawn by titles or covers, but only content. Typically I’m not so drawn to covers either but this one drew me. After a second of starring at the books, the author, Tara Benham, caught my eye and I realized either I walked away or talked to her. I talked to her, and ended up walking away with the series later that day after giving it some thought. In truth I am looking forward to this series. It is fantasy enough even if I believe it is a fantasy romance. I got through The Fallen Series by Lauren Kate, and The Hush, Hush Saga by Becca Fitzpatrick, pretty easily actually. I liked them when I read them, and this? This seemed to me, reminiscent of those series.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
Well… I think I’m more confused than settled for a first book. I am left with so many questions. Why was Bayla important? Leading on with the “I’ll tell you later” is odd BS especially when everyone else seems to spill the truth at every moment. Why was this earthquake so important for the Soul Collectors? Why is there only one Soul Collector? Time. Lines.
What I Liked:
The demons. I liked Meph, and Declan (who is not a demon, but I’m not entirely sure what his mission was). I liked their characters. Perhaps this was because Meph was a overarching antagonist and Declan was sassy but charming.
What I Would have Liked or Changed:
Before I go into my changes, I want to talk what this plot is in brief: Bayla, an angel, is sent on a mission to earth to save the life of a boy named Gray. Gray is apparently super important, we don’t find out why really. Bayla turns out to be more important than simply her job as a Soul Collector. Soul Collectors are angels, or demons, who take the souls that go to Heaven or Hell after death. The plot makes sense. Get to earth. Save the boy. Make sure the demons don’t get him. Now…
Time Lines. Okay so I read this and my first thought was “what?” The time difference between Heaven and Earth is approx. 9.5 years to 1 week. This means it’s roughly 494 years on Earth for every 1 year in Heaven. Bayla, our main character, says she had her Pompeii mission four years (Heaven Years) before the start of the novel. Pompeii was in the year 79AD. Four years ago Heaven time would have been 1,976 years ago or (assuming this book takes place in 2018) 42AD. Let use assume however that we do not know the year, and work backwards from 79AD. 79AD plus 1976 years is 2055AD. This book undoubtedly takes place in modern times, but not a future world. It seems odd to me. I get that the math is close enough for it to be okay. I get that she could have been roughly estimating the time as four years, but this bothered me a lot when reading and I can’t really explain why? Something about this time change is unsettling to me.
Bayla’s character consistency. She is introduced as relatively stoic, and one to ignore conversations of others. She doesn’t seem the type to fall in love easily, or to care about people she’s just met when she doesn’t care about her own roommate. Then she does fall for someone she just met. She becomes super close to another angel, Haddy, in a few short weeks (which is only a few hours Heaven time). She cries a lot, and freaks out over learning new information on her mission? She has a perfect track record, and has dealt with all the major casualty events in history. You’d think she’d be more composed when learning of new things. Perhaps this has to do with why she is so valuable. I don’t know. It’s never explained. If she is the most feared angel in all of Hell, the only angel of her type, why does she act the way she does? Why does she simply break protocol so easily when an angel she just met almost dies? Why does she care so much for him, she just met him? This is a moment in her life for singular, highly important mission, but she’s dealt with them before. I don’t understand.
Gray’s purpose. I get that he’s super important and it’s supposed to be some sort of mystery of why he’s so important, but I’d at least like to have a bit more information than simply that. Especially if this is the closure to his story.
- Were the quotes by other authors and people necessary for the start of each chapter? I loved the quotes, but I didn’t think they added to the story in any way.
- Some of the dialogue was interesting to say the least.
- The whole Truth or Dare scene really threw me off.
- Bayla revealing the truth to Hannah. 1. Yes, a person would so simply believe it without proof, simply because of the feeling involved. 2. Kinda against Bayla’s training and protocol, is it not?
Why You Should Read:
It’s not bad. I feel that there are a lot of things I would change, but it was pretty well written. I also probably may not be the target audience for this book. It read very young YA, to me and I haven’t been doing all that hot with a majority of YA novels lately. I may just be overly critical.
There is room for growth and questions that have left me wondering things, and I did accidentally read the last line of the third book before I started. Thus, I want to see where this is going. I would recommend trying the first book, perhaps if you are a younger reader. There aren’t any exceedingly suggestive themes or notions in the book.
Time Taken To Read
“I wrote I loved you in the palm of your hand.” – Declan to Bayla
“You were like water to someone who was dying of thirst. I couldn’t drink in the sight of you enough to ever be fulfilled.” – Bayla to Declan.
“The stars this side of Heaven are so beautiful. They are my favorite thing about this place. If ever you are missing me, look to them. And if you see on falling, it’s me.” – Bayla to Declan