Study Guide

Fallen Loss

By Lauren Kate


Chapter 1

The ponytail fell to her feet and Arriane gasped and whipped around. She picked it up and held it to the sun. Luce's heart constricted at the sight. She still agonized over her own lost hair, and all the other losses it symbolized. But Arriane just let a think smile spread across her lips. She ran her fingers through the ponytail once, then dropped it into her bag. (1.102)

The loss of Luce's own hair symbolized a great deal of things: the loss of her beauty and youth, the loss of her status as someone liked by her classmates, and the loss of her own sense of confidence (she prided herself on her beautiful hair). Seeing Arriane take so well to a haircut that Luce finds a punishment is just another way she and Arriane are so different—and it looks like it adds to Luce's fears that she won't fit in here.

Leaning forward to read the "Prohibited Materials" sign a little more closely, she saw that cell phones, pagers, and all two-way radio devices were strictly forbidden. […] Now she understood this morning's strange demeanor. Her parents were already mourning the loss of contact with their only daughter. (1.19/26)

This is a major step for Luce: it cuts her off from her family and her best friend at Dover. In this moment, she's realizing, for possibly the first time, what it really means to be at Sword & Cross, and exactly what kind of school year she's in for.

Chapter 2
Pennyweather van Syckle-Lockwood (Penn)

"Dad died two years ago," Penn said quietly. "They got as far as sticking me with the decaying old Headmaster Udell as my legal guardian, but, uh, hey never really got around to hiring a replacement for Dad."

"I'm sorry," Luce said, lowering her voice, too. So someone else here knew what it was like to go through a major loss. (2.133)

Even though not all the students have suffered the same way that Luce has, they have definitely suffered. Penn is a great example, because her loss is a personal one, not something that she was in control of, like Luce. This further proves that Penn is a fantastic person to know, and that Luce is lucky to have her in her life—and not only because she brought Luce shampoo in her meatloaf-y time of need.

Chapter 3

She missed her parents, who'd stuck a Post-it on the T-shirt at the top of her bag—We love you! Prices never crash! She missed her bedroom, which looked out on her dad's tomato vines. She missed Callie, who most certainly had sent her at least ten never-to-be-seen text messages already. She missed Trevor…

Or, well, that wasn't exactly it. What she missed was the way life had felt when she'd first started talking to Trevor. (3.11-12)

Grade A pity party, Luce. You've been on campus for all of twelve hours, maybe.
Admittedly, this is a lot to take in; getting taken away from your family and friends in your senior year of high school isn't exactly a picnic. But hey, at least you're not DEAD. We bet Trevor wishes he could say the same thing. Too bad he's not around anymore to make you feel good, since that seems to be what most concerns you…We mean, what?

Chapter 6
Daniel Grigori

"Did you win?"

Luce laughed a sad, self-effacing laugh and shook her head. "Far from it."

Daniel pursed his lips. "But you were always…"

"I was always what?"

"I mean, you look like you might be a good swimmer," He shrugged. "That's all." (6.79-83)

This quote's more about an actual loss, rather than an emotional one. The important note here isn't about Luce winning or losing the race, but about Daniel's expectation that she would win. Just another moment when he gives away something that maybe indicates he knows more about her than he's letting on.

Chapter 12

Everything about this service was inadequate and completely wrong. No one was paying Todd any respect by being here. The whole memorial seemed more like an attempt to teach the student how unfair life could be. That Todd's body wasn't even present said so much about the school's relationship—or utter lack thereof—with the departed boy. None of them had known him; none of them ever would. There was something false about standing here today in this crowd, something made worse by the few people who were crying. It made Luce feel like Todd was even more of a stranger to her than he actually had been. (12.12-13)

Sometimes mourning loss is for the living, not the dead, and Luce points that out here as she watches the poorly performed memorial service for Todd's death. The students don't seem to care, and the faculty seem to do a half-hearted job of even putting the show together, indicating that they didn't even know Todd that well. Does it count as a loss if it's not properly mourned? Anyway, Todd wasn't hot or in love with anybody, so we guess he was expendable. (Also, it would have been awkward of Kate had had to deal with a real death for the rest of the novel, so we guess this is all we're going to get. Sometimes a writer's gotta do what a writer's gotta do.)

Chapter 16

"When you lose me," she said, feeling out the shape of the word in her mouth, "How does it happen? Why?"

"It depends on you, on how much you can see about our past, on how well you've come to know me, who I am." (16. 177-178)

Talking about your own death must be rough, but it's a good question. We can't imagine the idea of losing someone you love over and over and over again. It must be 1000 times worse than consistently losing your car keys?

Chapter 18

"Cam's right, Daniel," Gabbe said quietly. "Something's different this time…something about Luce. The cycle could be broken—and not the way we want it to. I mean…it could end." (18. 115)

Gabbe lays it all on the line for us, telling us what's really at stake this time around. This isn't just about Luce's life, although that's kind of important, too. This is about the entire fate of the world, hanging in the balance between one girl and one fallen angel. Gabbe makes it sound like if Luce dies this time around, not only is she gone for good, but the planet as we know it might be gone for good, too. Great. No pressure.

Chapter 20

In the end, they'd carried Penn's body back up the steep stone stairs to the chapel, wiped the altar clean of glass, and laid her body there. There was no way they could bury her this morning—not with the cemetery teeming with mortals, as Daniel promised it would be. (20.4)

This loss is by far the most shocking and most tragic in the book—for us as readers, anyway. For all the battling that happens, all the fighting and the fear and the infiltrating shadows, Penn's death is both unexpected and tragic. It shows the toll taken on innocent lives that are caught in the midst of this otherwise heavenly war, and the message hits home pretty hard.

Daniel Grigori

"I know cam gave you that gold necklace, too," Daniel said.

Luce hadn't thought about that since Cam had forced it onto her at the bar. She couldn't believe that was only yesterday. The thought of wearing it made her feel sick. She didn't even know where the necklace was—and she didn't want to. (20.72-73)

Although it seems a little anticlimactic to go from talking about the end of the world to talking about a missing necklace, this detail is important. Luce's attention to detail dwindles when she stops caring about things, and the fact that she lost Cam's necklace solidifies that any feelings she had for him really were entirely superficial. She isn't ever going back. It's now 100% Luniel. Or…Danuce?