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THE FALLING by Anna Todd

Twenty-year old Karina is proud of the independent life she is trying to create for herself in Ft. Benning, Georgia. A dutiful officer’s daughter, supportive sister to a troubled twin brother, and caring friend to her roommate, Elodie, she always puts the needs of others ahead of her own, and prides herself on being a fixer of broken things-whether it’s the house she’s just bought or the fragmented family she works hard to keep intact.

Like anyone who has grown up around an army base, Karina also knows the background noise that follows men and women home from war. And when she meets Kael, a handsome soldier on the cusp of discharge, she’s immediately intrigued by his brooding presence and enigmatic silence. As their uncertain and unexpected friendship starts to turn into something more, Karina tries to piece together Kael’s story: he is emotionally closed off, recovering from wounds and other trauma in the aftermath of two tours in Afghanistan. In her practice as a physical therapist, Karina has a strong desire to help him heal, and though it challenges her many insecurities and anxieties, she has an equally strong desire to trust him. But that trust is fragile, like the preciousness of a soldier’s life. It can be gone in an instant. Ultimately facing a crossroads, their relationship will be tested by the one thing that Karina cannot accept, forgive, or understand.

Title : The Falling
Author : Anna Todd
Series : Brightest Stars #1
Format : Physical
Page Count : 368
Genre : Contemporary Fiction
Publisher : Piatkus Books
Release Date : July 28, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 3 star review

Military families and friends
Sloooow burn, no heat
Eccentric characterisation

This has been a very puzzling read for me. I never fancied the previous books by this author but the blurb on this, adult-focus and military families appealed to me. What I found is that this was a rather quirky book, very descriptive with a tendency to going off tangent and characters that were kinda eccentric but also strangely appealing.

This is a story told over not that many weeks, the start of a connection and a not-quite relationship between Kael and Karina who meet by chance near to the military base. Karina’s tie to the military was complex and resentful, Kael was coming up to discharge from his service. Kael is the most mysterious character and we never really got the measure of him, his past, his injuries and trauma; there’s so much more there to unpick.

Karina was a little chaotic in terms of personality, she lacked self esteem and confidence and was damaged by elements of her upbringing. The way these two drew to one another was compelling while being a little unbelievable. I believed the emotion but I didn’t feel any chemistry…and I really wanted to.

I’m intrigued enough by these characters to carry on but I’m not a fan of the way Karina’s mind went off deeply into thoughts that lost the thread of the story (and how that was written). Let’s see what book two brings.

Thank you to Piatkus for the review copy.

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