Book: Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver, HarperTeen.
Genre/Format: Young Adult Dystopia, Own hardcover, 391 pages
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
So many trilogies that I started when I first began this blog are now coming to a close. And the ending of this series is one I was particularly anxious about. As you recall with Delirium, and Pandemonium as well to a lesser extent, Lauren Oliver does not shy away from shock value and controversial endings. I was gutted with the ending to Delirium but it left me clamoring for the next installment. Pandemonium continued with a new setting and set of challenges, and yes another bombshell. Making me even more nervous for the final book in the trilogy was the fact that so many early readers of Requiem were none too pleased with the ending. But, Ms. Oliver hasn’t steered me wrong yet and I went into Requiem with an open mind. For the most part, I thought the direction made sense and I’m at peace with the ending. Would I like more closure or to see the series extended? Maybe…but at the same time I’m okay that the ending wasn’t so neat and tidy.
For the uninitiated, here’s a little series background. The Delirium series is about a future where love is declared a disease that must be cured with brain surgery. The government feels that love and feelings just get in the way and we’d all be better off without it. Some people escaped the cure and started a revolution to fight for their right to own their feelings. Lena fell in love before she was cured and is now on the run. The first book Delirium is romantic dystopia at it’s finest with shades of Romeo & Juliet.
One thing that I wasn’t sure I was going to love is that this is the first book of the series with dual POV. We follow Lena trudging her way through the Wilds, and now also follow Hana’s journey to see a little of what life is like after Lena’s departure. I actually found Hana’s voice to be very refreshing and energizing after growing a little weary of the Wild’s experience. We get some real insight into Hana’s character, the good and the bad, and I looked forward to her chapters in the end. The Lena chapters dragged more, surprisingly.
I admit that one of my burning questions was regarding the love triangle. I never thought I could get on board with another love interest for Lena besides Alex, but Julian did win me over in Pandemonium. I didn’t feel strongly one-way or another about Lena’s choice, but only sad that her choice would leave one of the guys in the dust. I did not skip to the end, though, but it was very tempting! Oliver does tease this triangle so you’re never sure which direction it’s going to go.
I felt that the roads taken in Requiem were in keeping with the theme of the series. The action, sacrifice and love story kept me flipping pages. Hana’s POV reinvigorates the series with a fresh set of eyes. And I was thrilled with the appearances of two characters I was dying to meet again. Requiem feels a little overwhelming and out of control at times and I can understand the mixed reaction to the ending. Maybe someone can write a fanfic to tie up the loose ends – let me know if you find one.
Delirium is still my favorite of the series and packs the biggest punch, and I think it’s hard to live up to overall. I’m glad I saw this series through to the end though, and I really hope the TV series is amazing!
- Delirium Stories: Hana, Annabel, and Raven by Lauren Oliver (heatherlo.wordpress.com)
- In which I write a requiem for this book (thegrownupya.wordpress.com)
- Emma Roberts Cast As Lena For Delirium TV Series (deliriumfandom.net)
Audiobook Info: Purchased from Audible.com, Audio length: 11 hours, 22 minutes, Read by Emma Galvin
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
Insurgent has been on the top of my most anticipated sequels list for a while now and finally it’s out! I think I own the first book Divergent in every format available, and even though I’ve read it and listened to the audiobook more than once I still could have used a refresher for the sequel. Because I really enjoyed the audiobook narrator for Divergent, I decided to listen to the sequel in audio as well. Emma Galvin just becomes Tris with her narration and happily she’s back for a repeat performance. I thought listening to the audio would help me slow down the pace of reading the book so I could savor it more. But of course I finished this 11-hour audiobook in quick order. If it’s possible Insurgent is even more intense than the first book, and left me feeling the need to read it all again.
First, here’s a little background on the series. The Divergent series takes place in an enclosed future Chicago society divided into five factions by personality type. Aptitude tests administered to sixteen-year-olds determine the faction they are best suited for. The main character, Tris, grew up in Abnegation, the selfless faction, but has the opportunity to choose another faction, and start a new life she’s better suited for. Her choice has big consequences that can change the face of society. She soon connects with Tobias, someone she has a lot in common with. Divergent ends with a lot of turmoil, and Tris has to pick up the pieces of her life in Insurgent.
Insurgent begins right where Divergent left off and the action quickly picks up. Now that they are on their own, Tris and Tobias are on a tour of all of the factions to plot their next move. I’ve been so curious about all the factions and it’s interesting to see how they line up with my expectations. With each faction visit we learn a little more about Tris, Tobias and their other crew, through simulations and other character interactions. Tris is dealing with her past actions and suffers with PTSD but she doesn’t have much time to dwell – there’s too much at stake.
The intensity and relentless heart-wrenching drama reminded me of how I felt reading Mockingjay. The pace doesn’t let up and there are betrayals, surprises and game changing reveals on this journey. There were times I missed the more focused feel of Divergent and felt a little lost amid the fast moving Insurgent. There are so many new characters introduced it is hard to keep them straight and whose sibling they are or what faction they belong to. I recommend re-reading Divergent first or having the author’s cheat sheet handy to refer to, as I did several times.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the relationship drama in the book. Things are a little bumpy for Tris and Tobias, but kudos to Veronica Roth for not resorting to love triangles to add conflict. All of the chaos around them and tough choices tests their bond in interesting ways.
One thing that helped me keep the story straight and “read” it at a reasonable pace is by listening to the audiobook. Emma Galvin nails the tone of the book and most importantly the voice of Tris. She reads with the appropriate intensity and in fact makes the book even more exciting. She makes all of the character voices distinct, both male and female and varying ages, but the voices are not overdone or distracting. The audiobook enhances the book and provides an incredible listening experience. The only downside to listening is that it’s harder to go back and refer to different chapters if you need to, but otherwise give this audio a try.
I think I enjoyed Divergent a little more than the sequel, but still found a lot to enjoy about Insurgent. I like that it’s thought provoking and surprising and keeps opening up new doors to explore. There is character development and the plot is never boring. I can’t wait to see how the series develops with the final chapter. The final book is due out next year, and all we know so far is that it won’t be called Detergent.
Here’s the final word on why you should read Insurgent from my YA daughter. “Read it because it is the sequel to Divergent, it has Tobias in it, and it’s really good.”
Check out the Insurgent book trailer:
Genre/Format: Young Adult, Own hardcover, 375 pages
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
I waited so long for this book! I adored Delirium, and have been pining for the sequel for over a year. The last pages of Delirium left me feeling like I’d been punched in the gut, and it was hard to imagine the direction the sequel would take. Pandemonium is a new beginning with a new setting and group of characters, and even the main character Lena has grown into a different person. So even though the story picks up shortly after the events of Delirium, in a lot of ways it’s like it’s starting over. I couldn’t imagine how I’d enjoy the book without some of the pivotal characters from Delirium. But I was happily surprised to find myself quickly caught up in this wild sequel.
The story alternates a “Then” and “Now” timeline taking us from Lena’s time entering the Wilds and transitioning to current day in New York where she is an undercover resistance operative. The jumping timeline is a little jarring at first – maybe because there are so many changes to get used to. It is a lot to digest. My curiosity of seeing the “Wilds” as compared to Portland, Maine was satisfied and brought a lot of interesting information about the “uncured.” The New York setting is also an exciting backdrop with familiar landmarks and dangerous situations.
I liked Lena’s new independence now that she’s out of her aunt’s control. The changes in Lena are striking and even though past events haunt her, her strength and resolve carry her through. The Wilds are quite a wake-up call for Lena, and she doesn’t have a lot of time to feel sorry for herself. She has to pull her weight and take charge, even though she’s still heartbroken from leaving her loved ones behind. New characters are also introduced and help move the story in new interesting directions. (How vague is that? This review is tough!)
Pandemonium is a dark and gritty middle installment to the trilogy. Where Delirium was more romantic, Pandemonium is more about the action and rebellion. The book felt like a necessary and natural progression from Delirium. It answers a lot of questions hanging from the first book and sets up the final installment in true Lauren Oliver fashion: with a shocking cliffhanger. I didn’t finish the book feeling like I’d been punched in the gut this time, maybe more like I’d been slapped, and there may have been some cringing and eye-rolling. Regardless, the wait for the final book, Requiem, will be unbearable. I hear that Requiem will be told with two points of view, Lena and another female character. Can’t wait! In the meantime, Lauren Oliver fans, watch for her new middle grade book coming out in September called The Spindlers.
- Book review: PANDEMONIUM by Lauren Oliver (gingerjonesbooks.wordpress.com)
- Hollydiggity’s #CBR4 Review #02: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (cannonballread4.wordpress.com)
- Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (bookjourney.wordpress.com)
- Audiobook review: Pandemonium (thelupinelibrarian.me)
- YA Wednesday: An Exclusive Interview with Lauren Oliver (omnivoracious.com)
- Review: Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver (yabookscentral.blogspot.com)
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Format/pages: eGalley provided by NetGalley, available in Hardcover (307 pages)
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
More Reviews: Goodreads
Liesl & Po is Lauren Oliver’s charming middle-grade debut. I have greatly loved this author’s YA books, and though each book is vastly different, her wonderful storytelling is consistent. Ms. Oliver always manages to surprise and impress me with the emotional depth of her characters. Liesl & Po is no different and I enjoyed the dark, magical ghost story feel to it and all the whimsical characters. This deeply personal story is inspired by the death of the author’s best friend, and is something that haunted the pages as I read the book. I think many will be able to relate to the subject matter, and will enjoy the fantasy elements involved as well. To use Liesl’s favorite word, I enjoyed the story ineffably much.
Like a fairy tale, the story begins with Liesl, a young girl who has been locked in an attic by her evil stepmother. Her father has recently died, and now she’s on her own, drawing pictures in the attic. One night a ghost named Po and his ghostly pet Bundle pop in and she asks for Po’s help to find her father on the Other Side. Meanwhile, a young alchemist’s apprentice named Will is sent on an errand to deliver a powerful box of magic, but mistakenly delivers the wrong box. This mix up sets off a sequence of events that brings the story full circle for this eccentric group of characters, and they must go on a journey to make things right.
The story takes place in a bleak, undetermined place where food and money are scarce. The mood is dark, and the setting is literally dark, as the sun hasn’t shone for years. But there is a ray of hope in the characters as they work together to help each other along the way. Liesl is courageous, determined and hopeful, even though she has suffered so much in her young life. Po is a ghost of few words, and is someone who needs Liesl as much as she needs him. The ghostly cat/dog Bundle is adorable too and always there to chime in with a “Mwark”. And young Will is sweet in his obvious affection for Liesl. There are many lighthearted moments between the characters that keep the story from ever being too heavy.
The story is magical and endearing, and the fantasy elements make it easy to imagine it as a movie. Though the subject matter is dark, the touching alliance of the characters brings a ray of hope. The illustrations by Kei Acedara are gorgeous and complement the story perfectly. Recommended for fans of Lauren Oliver’s writing and those that enjoy middle grade and fantasy books. An enchanting read.
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine highlighting upcoming books that we are eagerly anticipating.
This week I am featuring Partials, the first book in a new post-apocalyptic series by Dan Wells:
Here is the description from Goodreads:
The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.
Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic in training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws threaten to launch what’s left of humanity into civil war, and she’s not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will discover that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.
Dan Wells, acclaimed author of I Am Not a Serial Killer, takes readers on a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our humanity is both our greatest liability and our only hope for survival.
I love the title, and the eye-catching cover really drew me in. The tag line “The Only Hope for Humanity isn’t Human” is very compelling too. The concept sounds cool and exciting, and the Partials add an interesting Sci-Fi element. Kira sounds like she could be a great kick-ass heroine, and I’m curious about the connections hinted between humans and Partials. Can’t wait to read it!
Look for Partials in late February 2012 coming to you from Balzer + Bray HarperCollins.
What book are you waiting on this week?