There was a time, back in the early to mid 2000’s, when I recall adoring Jennifer Fallon’s Demon Child series and associated trilogies, which populated an entertaining universe with complex characters, godly personifications, and political intriguing. So I approached The Undivided, one of Fallon’s later offerings, with optimism. Unfortunately, I’ve given up partway through, because the novel seems to serve up the reader a massive dose of FWFP (First World Fantasy Problems)… and because the plot is unfolding with so many close elements to the Demon Child books that I’m seeing a double-image of R’shiel standing behind Ren.
There’s the mysterious origin story of an orphan adopted by a wealthy and influential single woman; the general angst of feeling misunderstood; incestuous crushes between the main character and a close relation which turn out not to be, genetically speaking, incestuous, but are still entirely queasy; the use of prison as a metaphor for the character literally having no other choices available to them; the mysterious powers inherent in the main character which must be unlocked before they can begin to be mastered; the physically perfect and alluring female secondary characters who manipulate using their bodies…
I can accept that transitioning from urban fantasy to full-fantasy within a single novel is difficult. And perhaps the story does improve as The Undivided progresses. But at halfway through, I did not feel that the novel offered enough engagement to actually finish: it is simply another privileged, rich child with angst, called upon to Save The Universe. Fantasy can (and does) do so much better.
K.L. gives The Undivided 2 out of 5 bacon-snarfing leprechauns.