Study Guide

Fallen Reincarnation

By Lauren Kate

Reincarnation

Chapter 1
Arriane

"Are you afraid of who you really are, Luce?"

"No," Luce said again quickly. It must be so obvious that she was lying. She closed her eyes. All she wanted from Sword & Cross was a fresh start, a place where people didn't look at her the way Arriane was looking at her right now. (1.108-109)

Luce's desperation to get away from her past—rather than own it and move forward from it—is very apparent here. She sees Sword & Cross as a clean slate, a place where she can remake herself and forget the horrors of her past. What Luce doesn't seem prepared for is the fact that everyone here has his or her own horrors, and everyone is pretty big on sharing.

Chapter 7
Cameron "Cam" Briel

"What about your faith in the power of transformation?" Cam asked, fingering the shed skin. "That's what we're here for, after all." (7.70)

Cam's words have a clear double meaning, especially given the imagery of him holding a snakeskin. He could even be alluding to Luce's entanglement in all of these events, given that he knows that she transforms every seventeen years into a new version of herself. But for now, Luce can infer that he's talking about transforming into a better person, one who doesn't have guilt crushing his or her conscience.

Chapter 11

After Trevor died, not a week had gone by without a hate letter finding its way to Luce. Her parents started trying to vet the mail before she could read the poisonous stuff, but too much of it still reached her…She thought she'd done so much to move on from that nightmare: leaving her past behind when she came to Sword & Cross, focusing on her classes, making friends…Soon, surely the same types of people who'd come for Trevor's death would come to her again…Just like before, she'd be expected to have the whole story pieced together, to remember every single detail. But of course, just like before, she wouldn't be able to." (11.60-64)

Sometimes, no matter how much you want redemption, there are going to be other people who solely want to mete out punishment for the wrongs they feel need to be righted. Part of Luce's fear over Todd's death is that she is again going to be accused for something she had no idea happened and had no part in.

Her parents seemed almost eager to leave her. They had a way of not really wanting deal with the realities of having a reform school daughter. They were so normal. She couldn't really blame them. (11.175)

Here Luce's fear of being ostracized even skews her perception of her own parents. In part, this is why her redemption arc takes far longer than it would otherwise: she won't forgive herself. In fact, perhaps her self-estrangement from her parents is the very thing that strains their relationship; they genuinely seem just to want a nice Parents' Day with her, after all.

Miss Sophia

"I told them you were innocent," Miss Sophia said, turning to remind the officers. "Eerie similarities be damned." (11.120)

In an act of (fake) kindness, Miss Sophia stands up for Luce's innocence even in the face of the condemning evidence. If she weren't such a terrible person, this might make us like Miss Sophia a little bit more.

Chapter 12
Lucinda (Luce) Price

"I can't afford the luxury of seriously considering someplace else. Sword & Cross is"—she paused—"pretty much a last-ditch effort for me."

"Come on," Daniel said.

"You wouldn't know—"

"I would." He sighed. "There's always another stop, Luce." (12.82-85)

Yeah, Daniel, use that double language to vaguely hint at the fact that Luce has been reincarnating for her entire existence. On the other hand, dude is totally trying to remind her that she's better than the situation she finds herself in.

Chapter 16
Daniel Grigori

"I'm trying to say…I guess you could say I'm damned too, Luce. I've been damned for a long, long time." He spoke as if the words tasted bitter. "I made a choice, once, a choice that I believed in—that I still believe in…" (16.132)q

At least Daniel is good about sticking to his principles. Whether the choice he made was ultimately worth the price he paid for it is neither here nor there, but by calling himself damned, he indicates that he feels he needs to be redeemed, too. Maybe he hopes that by telling Luce this, she might begin to believe him.

Chapter 17

Yeah, she celebrated Christmas, she'd been to church a handful of times, and even when her life made her and everyone around her miserable, she still had faith that something there was someone or something up there worth believing in. That had always been enough for her. (17.115)

Even though Luce isn't religious, the idea of a vague, redemptive power greater than herself proves that she does believe, to a degree, in the power of redemption and forgiveness on some form of cosmic scale. That might be why she's able to accept the truth of her reincarnation—not to mention the whole fallen angels thing—without too much effort.

Chapter 18

And [Luce] at last heard what he had said when they were looking at the shadows: that she had done nothing wrong. That there was no reason to feel guilty. Could it be true? Was she innocent of Trevor's death, of Todd's, as she'd always believed? The moment she asked herself, she knew that Daniel had told her the truth. And she felt like she was waking from a long bad dream. She no longer felt like the girl with the shorn hair and the baggy black clothes, no longer the eternal screw-up, afraid of the putrid cemetery and stuck in reform school for good reason. (18.106)

Finally, Luce realizes the truth: Todd's and Trevor's deaths weren't her fault. But the fact that it takes someone else to point this out to her also speaks to her character. She's full of self-doubt, and she's self-conscious about her own behavior, two traits that have proved detrimental in situations in the past.

Lucinda (Luce) Price

"The only thing I don't understand is what on earth you're doing with me. Because I'm just…me." She looked up at the sky again, feeling the black spells of the shadows. "And I'm guilty of so much." (18.41)

Here we see Luce's sense of self-worth…yeah, she has none. She's been carrying around the weight of Trevor's and Todd's deaths all this time, to the point that she truly thinks she is unworthy of love. No wonder she pushes her parents away.