Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review of Delirium by Lauren Oliver


    Author:Lauren Oliver
    Length:441 Pages
    Paperback, borrowed from a friend
    Rating:4.25 Brownies



GoodReads Synopsis:

        Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

        But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

        Delirium leaves the readers with lingering feelings of both sadness and hope; it will stay with them long after the last page is turned.

My Review:

 It's been a nice chunk of time since my last review, so I'm going to jump right in here.

        I went into Delirium with a pretty foggy idea of what the book was actually about. All I knew for certain was that it had something to do with a society devoid of love--That's all. So you could imagine why I was hesitant to invest time in it; it seemed like it would be the ultimate sap-fest.

I can say with certainty now that I can no longer trust my book intuition.

        Delirium was not, in any way shape or form, just a sap-fest. Rather, it's a glorious exploration of what the world would be like if love were to be prohibited, and how one girl manages to discover its power before she, too, succumbs to the lackluster life that those around her place on such a high pedestal. I won't deny the corniness seeping from that statement, but I won't erase it either. Oliver presents it so masterfully that the concept doesn't branch off into corn-city, but still manages to instill the message of the story deep within you. It's quite beautiful, actually.

        One of the things that really sold Delirium for me were the tidbits of propaganda and text excerpts--taken from various documents and children's rhymes circulated around the society of Delirium -- given at the beginning of each chapter. These little wonderful additions pulled me into the society, and helped me to see how such a seemingly absurd walk of life could be... plausible. Practical, even, in the eyes of people that have never, and could never, experience the joys of love. It makes the whole mass-brain-washing more believable, and worse, forces you to see the power of using fear as a way to persuade and control people.

Anyway, onto less deep subjects.

        Oliver does a great job with the characters, especially in showing how the structure of society has molded a lot of who they are. Lena, the main character, was nothing special. That said, she was still a pretty solid character, and all of her actions and thoughts made sense to me-- I never felt like slamming my face into  a wall, so brownie points there. The characters I found myself most attached to, though, were Hana and Alex. Hana's the best friend anyone would want; the kind that teases you mercilessly, but at the end of the day, will always have your back. Alex is just... well, Alex. I found that I, too, had fallen in love with him by the end of the book. Granted, that happens to me a lot when it comes to love interests, but that doesn't take away from his special little charm. 

        Now, any review of Delirium is not complete unless the marvelous writing of Lauren Oliver is given special mention. Her words project vibrant images within your mind, pulsing and expanding as though they're living entities. It's easy to get lost in her vivid descriptions, all of them appealing to each of the senses as though crafted to place you directly into Delirium's society. 

Okay, I think I've driven my point home. 

        If I haven't succeeded in convincing you to read Delirium, allow the other countless raving reviews scattered across the internet to finish the job. It's definitely a lovely 441 page ride, one that will fly by and leave you spinning in a whirlpool of emotions with its wake. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Review of Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

         Sweet Evil

    Author:Wendy Higgins
  Length: 453 Pages
  Paperback, via Amazon.com
  Rating: 2.5 Brownies



GoodReads Synopsis: 

Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.

Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but Anna, the ultimate good girl, has always had the advantage of her angel side to balance the darkness within. It isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?


My Review:

         First, I'd like to send a huge apology to any and every person that has checked my blog over the past two weeks, only to find a lack of new reviews. Life has made it a point to busy me, and it's gotten a lot harder to find time to just sit and write.

Anyhoo, moving on. 

        This review is going to turn out a bit more choppy than most of my reviews, simply because there's nothing about the book that I feel particularly passionate about. Such is one of the things contributing to its low brownie rating. 

        So, the plot of Sweet Evil is pretty generic when you strip away the details: good girl meets bad boy, is instantly attracted to bad boy and falls for bad boy despite the fact that she should be scared of him. This is, in essence, the entire premise of the book. Throw in a sexually tense road trip, a best guy friend and a back story about angels and demons and BAM: you've officially recreated Sweet Evil. I know that may come off as a bit critical, but I feel that this is one of the major reasons I couldn't bring myself to enjoy the book; everything felt extremely superficial.

        I'm going to take a moment here to discuss my dissatisfaction with Anna, the main character. Anna is the type of girl that makes you reconsider your principles regarding tossing someone out of a window. Personally, I spent half the time wanting to reach into the book and slap her with a cold fish or something. The problems mainly come from how easily she's swayed by those around her. She knew she shouldn't be doing certain things, but yet there was little to hesitation on her part to think things through. Not to mention, any and every time something even minutely questionable was mentioned, she'd go into a metal dialogue about how she's a good girl that doesn't do bad things. Ever. 

You know when you overdose on sweets and you start to feel nauseous? It's kind of like that.

        Another problem I had was with the character Kopano. I've never been a fan of love triangles, but this one was especially odd to me. I won't spoil anything too major, but I definitely feel that this should be mentioned. What it comes down to, in simple terms, is this: the way Kopano is presented and the way Anna reacts to him is frustratingly bizarre. When and if you decide to read the book, you may understand what I'm saying. The whole situation begins to feel awkward when Kopano enters the picture.

        Now, I'm pretty big on description. I like to be able to visualize as much as possible. Sweet Evil, in my opinion, did O.K in this department. Certain things were described pretty well, while others left me scrambling to put images together in my mind. If you prefer to have only the basics given to you, then you should be content with the level of world-building and imagery.

        I really don't know what else to say about this book. It feels weird to be writing a mostly negative review for this, simply because I expected to really enjoy it. I may come back to edit this if I think of any strong points that should be mentioned, but as of right now, I'm drawing a blank.

        I will say that, with a 4.22 rating on GoodReads, the majority of people really liked Sweet Evil. So, if you're interested in the premise, definitely pick it up. At the very least, it's definitely something to pass the time with. Also, Kaidan isn't such a bad love interest-- British accents have the capacity to make most anything worth while.