After reading the Twilight Saga, this Young Adult novel was recommended to me by a friend who said "Okay, I know you loved Twilight, but this better!" And, I have to agree. Much of what's being written for teens and young adults today follows similar lines - magic, supernatural, good versus evil, light versus dark, love - and that's okay - because it's working. Fallen, by Lauren Kate, really tries to push the boundaries of what's expected from YA lit though and it's a refreshing change.
I must start with this: this novel is NOT a vampire/werewolf/teen love triangle story, though there is enough similar between this novel and Twilight that if you'd liked one, you're likely to like the other. If anything, the triangles (yes, there are triangles) presented in this storyline are more complicated then those in Twilight. Fallen take teenage love and elevates it to a higher level, making readers questions larger questions of good vs. evil and reexamine their own belief systems entirely. What is good, what is evil? Who should be punished and who should be rewarded? And, how?
I would say the major difference is in the writing style and strength of characters. I would say that while Bella, the heroine in Twilight, has many positive atributes as a character, she's still sort of constantly swaying in the wind of other characters' intentions and wishes. Not saying she's a bit of a spineless jellyfish at times, but I'll let you draw your own conclusions! :) Our heroine in Fallen, Luce, is a much stronger female character, and is (most of the time) more active in her own destiny.
Another thing I really liked about Fallen and it's characters is that there are a lot of misfits and people who don't really seem to fit in in "normal" society. This is key in a YA novel, clearly, because it shows readers that there are all kinds of people out there in our world and each player in our lives have something to contribute and will affect us in some way.
All in all, this was a great read, and I am really looking forward to the next installment in the series due out September 2010!