Once Upon A Romance

Once Upon A Romance's Review Of...
Falling Under by Gwen Hayes


Cover art: Falling Under Reviewer: Amy Lignor
Title: Falling Under
Author: Gwen Hayes
Publisher: NAL
ISBN-13: 978-0-451-23268-7
Release Date: March 2011
Genre/Sub-genre: YA Fiction
Publisher’s Age/Grade Recommendation: 12 and up
OUAR’s Age/Grade Recommendation: 14 and up
Year/Setting: Present Day/Serendipity Falls, CA
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle/Sensual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None/Mild
Violent Content Rating: Moderate/Intense (Fantasy/Science Fiction)
Gwen's Website/Blog: www.gwenhayes.com

Dear Readers:

This is a very dramatic story that focuses on a dark romance mixed with intense science fiction/fantasy aspects. The plot is built on the raw, sensual, and slightly frightening side of teenage love, mixed with psychic dreams and deathly fears. Loosely based on the ancient story of Hades, who "came above" and kidnapped a bride in order to take her back to live with him in the Underworld, this story has it all. Including a look at the heartless Goddess Hera, Hades mother, who wanted nothing more than a grandson who would grow up and take over their dark, horrific world.

In present day Serendipity Falls, we meet a young British girl by the name of Theia Alderson. Theia is a nice young woman with an overbearing, and way too overprotective father. He is a barrister who moved Theia away from England and into the small town of Serendipity because he assumed that in such a tiny place on the map, no pain or harm could possibly come his daughter’s way. He treats her much like a princess in a tower, refusing to let her go out on the weekends, see her friends, date a boy, etc. In fact, Dad wants nothing more than for Theia to stay inside the house where he knows she’s safe.

Donny is Theia’s best friend at school, and is the type of girl who is completely at ease in her own skin, and likes to tell others to go to blazes even though she knows that absolutely every girl in school envies her and every guy wants to date her. Donny wants nothing to do with them. All she wants is to get out of the boring, mundane Serendipity Falls and get a real life. Theia’s other friend is Ame. Ame is emo/goth, yet she can’t stand the color black. So let’s just say she’s the first rainbow-wearing goth who believes in tarot card readers, psychics, and barely says a word in front of the one boy she truly wants to date.

When Theia has to go into school and tell her friends that she had a dream the night before, and that in her dream a man who was completely on fire fell from the sky and landed on her back lawn, she can hardly get through the story. This "being" looked up at her with love in his fiery eyes and then turned to ash beside her. The only hard part about accepting this event as just a dream is the fact that Theia’s nightdress was covered in ash and the lawn was burnt to a crisp where the man had died the night before. Soon the dreams are coming one right after the other and Theia finds herself in various locations with faceless musicians, dancing skeletons, goblets of wine, and an eerie labyrinth that she has to traverse in order to get to the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen.

Soon, a boy comes into her school and Donny can’t wait to get a look at the fresh-blood NYC. But when Theia looks at him she realizes that he is the one in her dreams; he is the man encompassed in fire, and the one who holds her heart and soul and seduces her every time she puts her head on her pillow. Haden is Theia’s 'dream' and…he’s real. Haden explains that he was sent to get her - sent to bring her to his home so that he can be with her for the rest of time, but Haden also has a conscious and can’t seem to follow through with the harmful things he’s supposed to do to Theia. In fact…he falls in love with her.

After a visit to Madame Varnie, a cross-dressing surfer psychic, who tells Theia that an object of darkness has attached to her and that horrible things are going to evolve, the fantastical elements of Haden and Theia’s love go crazy as they fight themselves, each other, and the power of the Underworld in order to survive and stay together.

The plot of this story is very strong, and readers will enjoy the sensuous story until the very last page. Mark my words…Haden even outshines the world's most favorite vampire. Sorry Edward. :)

Until next time,

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