Monday, March 25, 2013

Review: Delirium Stories (hana, annabel, & raven)

For the first time, Lauren Oliver's short stories about characters in the Delirium world appear in print. Originally published as digital novellas, Hana, Annabel, and Raven each center around a fascinating and complex character who adds important information to the series and gives it greater depth. This collection also includes an excerpt from Requiem, the final novel in Oliver's New York Times bestselling series.
Hana is told through the perspective of Lena's best friend, Hana Tate. Set during the tumultuous summer before Lena and Hana are supposed to be cured, this story is a poignant and revealing look at a moment when the girls' paths diverge and their futures are altered forever.
Lena's mother, Annabel, has always been a mystery--a ghost from Lena's past--until now. Her journey from teenage runaway to prisoner of the state is a taut, gripping narrative that expands the Delirium world and illuminates events--and Lena--through a new point of view.
And as the passionate, fierce leader of a rebel group in the Wilds, Raven plays an integral role in the resistance effort and comes into Lena's life at a crucial time. Crackling with intensity, Raven is a brilliant story told in the voice of one of the strongest and most tenacious characters in the Delirium world

Title: Delirium Stories
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: March 5, 20313

Brooke's Reviews:

Annabel (Delirium, #0.5)

I really liked this story. As soon as it came today I sat right down and read it.

Blurb from Goodreads:
Lena's mother, Annabel, has always been a mystery—a ghost in Lena's past. Until now.
Discover her secrets in Lauren Oliver's brilliant original digital story set in the world of New York Times bestsellers Delirium and Pandemonium.
Lena Halloway's mother, Annabel, supposedly committed suicide when Lena was only six years old. That's the lie that Lena grew up believing, but the truth is very different. As a rebellious teenager, Annabel ran away from home and straight into the man she knew she was destined to marry. The world was different then—the regulations not as stringent, the cure only a decade old. Fast forward to the present, and Annabel is consigned to a dirty prison cell, where she nurtures her hope of escape and scratches one word over and over into the walls: Love.

But Annabel, like Lena, is a fighter. Through chapters that alternate between her past and present, Annabel reveals the story behind her failed cures, her marriage, the births of her children, her imprisonment, and, ultimately, her daring escape
This book takes place before Delirium, not long after the laws from The Book of Shhh are put into place.
It was so great to get Lena's mom's POV and find out a bit more about how she came to be in The Crypt. 
It's written in a then/now format. We see how Annabel came to meet Lena's father and how she ended up with him. We also get to spend time with her after her imprisonment. We meet Annabel's mother and father briefly. And we get a glimpse of Lena's sister Carol as a young girl. Seeing Carol as a young girl certainly gives us an understanding of why she is the way she is with Lena.
As always, I love Oliver's writing. Is lyrical and flows well off the page. I certainly want to keep reading this story to see where it went and I was wanting more when it was over.
I really enjoyed this, but I wish it were longer. I could see this particular story turning into a longer book and leading up to Delirium, sort of a pre-quel of sorts.
4/5 stars from me.

Hana (Delirium, #1.5)

Blurb from Goodreads:
The summer before they're supposed to be cured of the ability to love, best friends Lena and Hana begin to drift apart. While Lena shies away from underground music and parties with boys, Hana jumps at her last chance to experience the forbidden. For her, the summer is full of wild music, dancing—and even her first kiss.
But on the surface, Hana must be a model of perfect behavior. She meets her approved match, Fred Hargrove, and glimpses the safe, comfortable life she’ll have with him once they marry. As the date for her cure draws ever closer, Hana desperately misses Lena, wonders how it feels to truly be in love, and is simultaneously terrified of rebelling and of falling into line.

In this digital story that will appeal to fans of Delirium and welcome new admirers to its world, readers will come to understand scenes from Delirium through Hana's perspective. Hana is a touching and revealing look at a life-changing and tumultuous summer
As with all of Oliver's writing, I'm happy with this POV. i love her style of writing and how she portrays her characters. This was a quick, enjoyable read.
It was much shorter than I would have liked, tho :( I would have liked to see Hana's character more. Maybe see her more evolved. It didn't seem to me in Delirium that she was actually scared about her choice to break the laws, but I guess that's why Oliver gave this little tidbit to us.
I wonder if Hana will be brought back in the third book.

Raven (Delirium, #2.5)
I wish I had read this before I read Requiem. If I were to make a recommendation, I would probably say you should definitely read this in order. Then again, had I read it first I would have been really annoyed. And this is why, because there is stuff that happens in Raven's story that is not at all addressed in Requiem. And that is just so annoying to me. Why would Oliver put this stuff out there and then not do anything at all with it? 

Blurb from Goodreads:
As a teenager, Raven made the split-second decision to flee across the border to the Wilds, compelled to save an abandoned newborn—a baby girl left for dead and already blue from the cold. When she and the baby are taken in by a band of rebels, Raven finds herself an outsider within a tight-knit group. The only other newcomer is an untrustworthy boy known as the Thief until he finally earns himself a new name: Tack.
Now she and Tack are inseparable, committed to each other, the fledgling rebellion, and a future together. But as they both take center stage in the fight, Raven must decide whether the dangers of the revolution are worth risking her dreams of a peaceful life with Tack.

As her story hurtles back and forth between past and present, Raven transforms from a scared girl newly arrived in the Wilds to the tough leader who helps Lena save former Deliria-Free poster boy Julian Fineman from a death sentence. Whatever the original mission may have been, Raven abides by a conviction that she believes to her core: You always return for the people you love.

By turns surprising, revelatory, and poignant, Raven’s story enriches the Delirium world and resonates with a voice that is as vulnerable as it is strong.
If you have not read Pandemonium, there are spoilers below, so don't continue to read! You've been warned.
In any case, this was a great glimpse into Raven. It is told in a now and then type of scenario but only broken up by paragraph separations. The before is Raven's life right after she escaped to the Wilds and a few years after as she forms relationships with the other Invalids. The now is when they get Lena after she saves Julian from sure death in the clinic.
I liked reading about Raven as a younger girl, after she escaped into the Wilds and how she adapted. The story hit a nerve especially because there is information about Blue in it that tugs at your heart. I so missed her after she was gone. We also get a glimpse of Raven's relationship with Tack. We learn about their love and how they express it to each other, how they met and how their love grew.
As always, I just love Oliver's writing. She just has such a way with descriptions and words it's impossible not to get pulled into her stories.
Without telling spoilers, I will say that things are revealed in this novella that are never again addressed in Requiem. As I said above, no matter when I would have read this it would have bothered me. Oliver drops a big bomb about Raven, but you never ever see it in Requiem. Why she put it out there when she wasn't ever going to address or have it come up at all is beyond me.
So, I will give this 4/5 stars because the writing is great and I love Raven's character, despite my annoyance by knowing things are left in the wind in the next book. I was jaded by having read the third book of this series before this novella and I can't get that out of my mind.

Lauren Oliver comes from a family of writers and so has always (mistakenly) believed that spending hours in front of the computer every day, mulling over the difference between “chortling” and “chuckling,” is normal. She has always been an avid reader. 
She attended the University of Chicago, where she continued to be as impractical as possible by majoring in philosophy and literature. After college, she attended the MFA program at NYU and worked briefly as the world’s worst editorial assistant, and only marginally better assistant editor, at a major publishing house in New York. Her major career contributions during this time were flouting the corporate dress code at every possible turn and repeatedly breaking the printer. Before I Fall is her first published novel. 
She is deeply grateful for the chance to continue writing, as she has never been particularly good at anything else.


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