Study Guide

Fallen Religion

By Lauren Kate


Chapter 4

And then the deep groan of something heaving startled them both. Luce gasped as the top of the marble statue teetered over them, like a tree branch swaying in the breeze. For a second, it seemed to hover in the air.

Luce and Daniel stood staring at the angel. Both of them knew it was on its way down. The angel's head bowed slowly toward them, like it was praying—and then the whole statue picked up speed as it started hurtling down. (4.109-110)

Foreshadowing, folks. A stone angel almost kills Luce, just as, we later learn, the knowledge of Daniel's existence as a fallen angel had killed Luce in the past, over and over again. The fact that Daniel is right next to Luce to witness this whole thing—and also save her from the falling angel—is as romantic as it is ironic.

Chapter 6
Pennyweather van Syckle-Lockwood (Penn)

"Like everything else in this hellhole, they did a totally half-assed job of updating it. I mean, who builds a pool in the middle of an old church?"

"You're joking," Luce said.

"I wish." Penn rolled her eyes. "Every summer, the headmaster gets it in his little mind to try and stick me with the task of redecorating this place. He won't admit it, but all the God stuff really freaks him out," she said. "Problem is, even if I did feel like pitching in, I'd have no idea what to do with all this junk, or even how to clear it out without offending, like, everyone and God." (6.29-31)

This interaction between Penn and Luce does a great job of showing the mentality the school has for religion, even though it does offer a religion class. Penn's confession that the headmaster gets freaked out by the state of the gym shows that the respect the Sword & Cross staff feels for the school's religious background is about as enthusiastic as Penn's non-enthusiasm about cleaning the church-nasium.

There was a row of pretty stained-glass windows, with only a few broken panels, spanning the walls near the high, arched ceiling. There were candlelit stone niches along the wall. A diving board had been installed where the altar probably used to be. If Luce had not been raised agonistic, but rather as a God-fearing churchgoer, like the rest of her friends in elementary school, she might have thought this place was sacrilegious. (6.37)

Not only is this little info drop a huge spoiler alert (it hints to Luce's lack of a religious upbringing), but it also says that Luce is an anomaly in her group of childhood friends. Again, Luce is set apart. Unrelatedly, we also see yet another example of Sword & Cross lazily recycling a building that probably didn't need to have a pool in it.

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)

While not exactly a religious moment, this scene between Cam and Luce has religious undertones—as well as mention of a snake, which is a clear Bible reference. Still skeptical? Let us break it down. They're in a sort of garden, Cam has just fed Luce an apple, and now he's holding a snakeskin. Garden of Eden, anyone? On top of that, Cam's question about transformation might have more to do with his hope that Luce will rewrite her love story and join his side instead of Daniel's, which is all the more sinister when we consider that by spending time with Cam, Luce doesn't really know what she's signing up for.

Chapter 9

Luce…Lucifer…any relation? (9.24)

First of all, Molly isn't clever at all. But the note that she passes Luce—whose name is really Lucinda, thank you, Molly—has greater implications than even Luce knows. Molly might just be trying to be snide, but by connecting Luce to the #1 fallen angel, she's implying that Luce is intertwined in all of this. Spoiler: she is.

Cameron "Cam" Briel

"Can't live on bread alone, can you?" [Cam] asked. (9.14)

This is a direct reference to a line from the Bible, a line that appears in different places and in different iterations, but the gist is that humans need more than just the basic necessities—they need meaning, too. Here, Cam is using the quote jokingly—he's offering Luce worldly goods beyond the basic ones. Yeah, Cam, the Bible certainly wasn't pushing for more materialism…

Chapter 10
Cameron "Cam" Briel

"Speaking of waiting for the right time," he said, "I was out the other day and saw this." He produced a small red velvet jewelry box and held it open for Luce to see.

Penn nudged around Luce's shoulder so she could get a look.

Inside, a think gold chain held a small circular pendant with a carved line down its middle and a small serpent head at the tip. (10.10-12)

More serpent imagery from Cam—surprise, surprise. This scene brings full circle how snakelike Cam really is: he's trying to charm Luce with trinkets, and while the idea of giving someone you like a gift is a nice gesture, the snake imagery is too much for us. #overit

Chapter 14
Miss Sophia

"Oh yes, historians have traced them back to the Middle Ages. They were…A sort of research cluster, to put it in modern layperson's terms. They specialized in a certain type of fallen-angel folklore." (14.47)

If this isn't the biggest clue of all, it's second only to Daniel actually hearing Luce say he's a fallen angel. Miss Sophia's setting down some huge hints here—not only about Daniel's secrets, but also about the fact that she knows what they are and might very well be involved herself. Never invite Miss Sophia to any type of game involving secrecy and deception; she'll be universally bad at it.

Chapter 15

She didn't want to glance back when she sensed the shadows spilling out of the door of the bar and brewing in the air. But the, she didn't have to. They flowed in a steady stream over her head, sucking up all the light in their path. It was as if the whole world were being torn to pieces right before her eyes. A rotting sulfur stench stuck in her nose, worse than anything she knew. (15.92)

If anything conjures up images of hell more than shadows and the stench of sulfur spilling out of a bar, please call to let us know, because we don't think anything can top this imagery conveying Cam's own self-damnation.

Miss Sophia

"Everyone believes in something. Sure you were baptized?"

"Not if you don't count the swimming pool built under the church pews over there," Luce said timidly, jerking her thumb toward Sword & Cross' gym. (17.143-144)

This little piece of information sets the stage for the giant battle that is about to happen, and it tips the scales of Luce's reincarnation wheel. Without being baptized, as Miss Sophia later explains, Luce's soul can't come back, ever. This matter is no small potatoes.