Fallen by Tim Lebbon was one of the books I bought from Chapters during their awesome sale. I saw it sitting on the shelf during a previous Chapters visit, and thought the story sounded intriguing. So after finishing Dust, I was going to read something else but then decided to give Fallen a try; I've never read anything by Lebbon before, and was ready to try something new.
Unfortunately, Fallen was not what I expected. Yes, it was a quest story. And yes, as the back of the book states, this quest does become a race between the two main characters. But I could never shake the feeling that the main characters were so petty. And as the story went on, the other characters, whom I liked, became less and less believable. Sure, they were warriors from a culture where every day is a struggle to survive. But they seemed to lose their common sense the further the story progressed.
I started writing this review when I was only about a third of the way through the book so I didn't forget anything I wanted to mention. And the first thing that bothered me was that Lebbon is not very good at writing dialogue. During the beginning of the book, it just never seemed to flow right (or at times it didn't make sense within the context of the conversation). Once the group of characters split up, the dialogue seemed a bit better; I now think Lebbon just isn't very good at writing dialogue for a larger group of characters. And as I mentioned before, the main characters seemed rather petty and dumb. Ramus, the scholar, did seem human in his pettiness, but he did nothing to make me like him or feel sorry for him. Nomi was a jerk, and even though she financed the whole fiasco, didn't seem like the type of character to get involved in this sort of thing. This was a turn off, but at least the other characters (the Serians, who were protecting the other two on the voyage) seemed alright.
But I do have to admit that I was entertained. The story itself, while often a bit strange (I think this is mostly due to the bizarreness that is Noreela) was interesting. I found myself wanting to know what was up on the Great Divide, and I was curious who would make it there first (although I still think that most of the Serians in Nomi's group probably should have left her when Ramus did. Not that I think they should have joined him. I just think they should have left the whole fiasco and gone back to Marrakash).
And then the ending happened. Events of the third part of the book got really weird, and I kept wondering how they would get out of it. But then the ending happened, and it felt somewhat lacking. I'm sure that things will continue, maybe not as a direct sequel, but in a future Noreela book. But I'm not sure that I really care.
And that is how the whole book felt. Yes, it was entertaining (I managed to read it in three days), but at the same time it was hard to care about it. I didn't really care what happened to Ramus and Nomi. I didn't really care if they got to the top of the divide. And I didn't really care once the book ended. I kept reading to see if my attitude toward the book would change, but it never did. And so I don't care if I ever read one of Lebbon's books again.