Forlorn by Gina Detwiler


"They're closer than you think." A group of teenagers take on the demonic world in order to free one of their own from an eternal curse.

Bad luck seems to follow Grace Fortune wherever she goes. She was orphaned at a young age, and her musical talent got her accepted to a prestigious school for the arts, where she was caught in the middle of horrific school shooting that nearly takes her life.

But then she meets gorgeous loner, Jared Lorn, and falls madly in love. There is only one problem. Jared is not exactly human. He's a Nephilim, an angel/human hybrid, descended from a cursed line of fallen angels known as the Watchers.

Having a half-demon boyfriend who's under a curse from God can be tough enough. But then Grace decides that she wants to help free Jared from the curse by killing his angel father, Azazel, who is bound up in the Abyss, where he will be judged at the End of Days.

She has a powerful ally in her guardian angel Ariel, who has given her a weapon: a Song that can tame demons. With a crew of loyal friends, Grace and Jared will travel to the ends of the earth, battling the forces of heaven and hell that seek to defeat them. Yet as their love grows stronger, they will find themselves in danger of succumbing to the very corruption that caused the Watchers' downfall."
Forlorn  is a YA novel by Gina Detwiler following a group of teenagers as they attempt to take on the darkness of the world. I will keep this review to constructive criticism, but I truly did not enjoy this novel. Below is a pro and con list as to the strengths and weaknesses of the novel.

Pros

  • The plot was unique in that it tried to pull direct Biblical references for all material in the novel.
  • For those searching for a Christian novel, this provides a different option by being in an almost "fantasy" style format.
  • The plot was a twist on the typical angel/demon style stories by including a Nephilim in it.

Cons

  • The writing style was incredibly difficult to read. The sentences lacked flow and made everything (including dialogue) sound broken.
  • All of the characters were flat. The reader never has a chance to witness true character development of any of the main characters, including Grace.
  • The writing is more of a tell vs show style. The reader is told a lot of things (what Nephilim are, where the Abyss is, what demons are), instead of allowing us to discover this by revealing it through the novel.
  • Speaking of Nephilim, we discover what Jared is incredibly quickly. There is no build-up, no questioning. Just "look he is part angel" and immediate belief. I find that incredibly unrealistic, even with Grace witnessing something proving he is inhuman.
  • Jared and Grace never really build love and trust, the reader is just told it is there. Unfortunately, this is entirely implausible due to the fact they barely speak to each other. Jared stares and glows a lot, but is not a man of many words. I can't even call this Insta-Love due to the fact there are very few romantic feelings expressed. There are a few more towards the end of the novel (like Grace feeling safe with Jared's arm around her) but truly it is lacking in the romance department for it to be featured so prominently in the description. Also, I would never say they are in a relationship. An awkward friendship at best. It really needs fleshed out more. It is possible to have a G rated romance but still build on the affection and feelings between two characters.
  • The pacing felt off throughout the novel. Either nothing was happening, or a lot was happening. There was no in between.

Pet Peeves

This section includes what bothered ME the most throughout the novel. I will admit this is purely subjective, so please do not let it deter you if you are interested in this novel. Also, there are spoilers in this section, so please be warned.


  • I will first say I did not realize this was a Christian novel when I first requested it from Netgalley. I did know that it would be pulling influences from the Bible and found that interesting. But the novel included a lot of preaching, praying, and demonizing (literally) of modern culture. While it did not particularly bother me, it was a lot and I could see this being an issue for someone who is not into this type of novel.
  • All things secular were demonized in this novel (as in demons are pulling people from the light and making them partake in "dark" acts). This includes everything from dancing to drug use. People were never bad on their own, it was all because of a demon's influence and as a result, it included exorcism-esque acts to rid the person of those evils. A drug addict's addiction was cured by prayer. This alone was bothersome to me. Drug addiction is a disease, and while prayer will not hurt (and most definitely can help) it is not what can cure addiction alone. I think it is almost a dangerous level of trivialization to think that.
  • I truly disliked Grace's fear of shame from her nearly having sex with Grey. It was not sex she nearly had. She was almost raped. That is what it is called when someone drugs you (which she was, she was pressured into taking it while already drunk and not knowing what would happen) then trying to have sex with her. It was never called rape. It was always like she was a fully consenting individual. However, since she was drunk, high, and underage (she was 16), and a fully grown adult male was attempting to have sex, it was most definitely attempted rape. And all she cared about was Jared judging her for it, like she was a floozy. I'm sorry, that is not what that is. I was really angry because it was straight victim blaming in that section, then it disappeared.
  • Grace and her biological mother's relationship was odd. I know she was supposed to be under her influence, but it was like a spell. There was no elaboration as to what she was doing, other than immediately drawing Grace into the darkness. I wish it was explained further, whether it be due to the mother being a great actor or that Lilith was having some sort of power of persuasion over her.  It seemed poorly executed, like there was just a need for a villain beyond Azazel.
Over-all this book was not for me. I wished that it was, because Biblical lore is fascinating. It is just this particular novel fell short for me.

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