The Falling (Brightest Stars #1) – Anna Todd

Genre: Romance
Publisher: Frayed Pages x Wattpad Books
Pages: 368
Release Date: July 5, 2022

A new love story from Anna Todd begins with The Falling, the first novel in a new trilogy (Brightest Stars) from the #1 internationally best-selling author of the AFTER series. 

Twenty-year old Karina is proud of the independent life she is trying to create for herself in Fort Benning, Georgia. A dutiful officer’s daughter, supportive sister to a troubled twin brother, and caring friend to her roommate, Elodie, she always puts the needs of others ahead of her own, and prides herself on being a fixer of broken things―whether it’s the house she’s just bought or the fragmented family she works hard to keep intact.

Like anyone who has grown up around an army base, Karina also knows the background noise that follows men and women home from war. And when she meets Kael, a handsome soldier on the cusp of discharge, she’s immediately intrigued by his brooding presence and enigmatic silence. As their uncertain and unexpected friendship starts to turn into something more, Karina tries to piece together Kael’s story: he is emotionally closed off, recovering from wounds and other trauma in the aftermath of two deployments in Afghanistan. In her practice as a physical therapist, Karina has a strong desire to help him heal, and though it challenges her many insecurities and anxieties, she has an equally strong desire to trust him. But that trust is fragile, like the preciousness of a soldier’s life. It can be gone in an instant. Ultimately facing a crossroads, Karina and Kael find their relationship will be tested by the one thing that Karina cannot accept, forgive, or understand.

Anna Todd’s “Brightest Stars” trilogy continues with The Burning and The Infinite Light of Dust, coming soon.


The Falling is an unbearably slow romance that is light on the romance.

The Falling follows Karina who is an army brat. Her entire life has revolved around the army and she made a promise to herself to never get involved with a soldier and made a pact with her brother to never join. Karina meets Kael, a soldier on the cusp of being discharged who is closed off and cold but thaws as Karina chips away with her relentless personality. 

Unfortunately, The Falling is unbearably slow. There’s no plot and barely any romance. What doesn’t help the pace is the stream of consciousness writing style. Readers are subjected to Karina’s every mindless thought and mundane life. There are pages of Karina going through the motions of her everyday life and job. I can’t tell you how many times I read about her restocking the towels at her job.

Because readers are subject to Karina’s every thought and movement, she comes off as annoying and insecure in every aspect of her life. Todd setup Karina to be mature for her age, but her inner monologue contradicts her maturity.

Like Todd’s After series, miscommunication and other characters’ actions drive the plot forward. There is so much unnecessary drama, but there isn’t anything else happening in the story other than the unnecessary drama.

There are some good aspects of the novel, namely the plus size representation, addressing slut shaming, multicultural couples. Unfortunately, they’re buried under a story that is just plain boring.

Overall, The Falling is an unbearably slow romance that is light on the romance.

*** I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Will you be reading The Falling?

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