Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Summary: 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 governments 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. (from goodreads.com)

Review: This is a powerful book. Dystopian is starting to take off, and Lauren Oliver has created a world that is controlling and terrifying, and not that far off from where we are now. One of the things I love about Dystopian is that you can see how a few small steps can take us into a very different world. How it won't take much to suddenly be living in a very controlled world.

I generally don't get all political on my blogs, but this book really got me thinking. In Delirium, the target of goverment control is love. Love is a disease that causes people to act irrationally and create conflict. It's a bad thing and the cure is the answer. The cure removes the ability to love (even your children), it also removes pain, and anger. It removes passion. But what it really does is take away the ability to make choices, to fight back. You are asked to conform for the good of the entire nation. To choose a husband or wife from a pre-selected list of potential mates. You will have children, even though you won't love them. Your world will exist within the electric walls of the border, which keep the invalids out. They also are a cage that keep you in. Everyone is expected to do their part. Here is where I'm going to spout some political nonsense- feel free to skip ahead. The obvious parallel to draw is between their border fences and ours. Designed to keep others out, they can quickly become cages that keep us all in. Additionally, recently there has been serious controversy over the hieghtened air port screenings being done in the US. You are subjected to full body scans or pat downs. One man reported that because he was wearing sweat pants, the TSA employee actually had to stick his hands inside his pants to perform the pat down. Janet Napalitano, the secretary of Homeland Security responded with something to the effect of (I can't find the direct quote) 'We must all do our part to keep our country safe.' I can't help but wonder if it's statements like these that are the first step on a path to a world like Delirium's Portland. The underlying sentiment is that we must stay quiet, stop putting up a fight for our own individual rights, and do whatever we are directed for the good of the country. One man who refused was threatened with jail time. In Delirium you have to get the cure. You are expected to so so willingly, to not put up a fight, and to follow the governments orders for the good of the country. If you don't, you are jailed or executed. The idea's and actions are really not that far off.

Moving on to more book related thoughts. I loved the characters in this book. Lena was just the right amount of niave and curious. I bought the fact that she never questioned the way the world worked because in her family, the means to a happier, better, happier life was to accept the cure, accept your place. I liked seeing her put the pieces all together with the helped of Hana and Alex. I really became emotionally invested in these characters and how they would get through the few months that the book covers.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Oliver's writing style. She is a phenomanal writer, and doesn't dumb it down for the audience. Her books challenge her readers to really think about what they are reading and what it means, and that is refreshing. I also love the quotes that are at the beginning of each chapter, quotes from Shakespeare, the Bible and the Book of Shhh. Quotes we know, twisted to have a different meaning. Instead of being an tragedy, and epic love story, Romeo & Juliet is presented as a cautionary tale of the dangers of love. It was amazing to look at these common stories and quotes from a whole new perspective.

When the book ended I was drained, and my mind was reeling trying to process it all, and to be honest I immediately shot a friend a text to find out if this was a series or stand alone. I was not ready for it to be over. Still, the way Oliver writes the book, and ends the book, stands on it's own merits and although it is not the ending I wanted (if there was no sequel), I was content that it ended as it should have. In this way it was very much like Oliver's other book Before I Fall.

In the end I loved this book. I'm ready for the sequel, Pandemonium, already, even though it's not due for release until 2012. In short, Delirium is out on February 1st, and you need to be in line to get it!

More about Lauren Oliver:


Friday, November 12, 2010

Review: The DUFF by Kody Keperling

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone. (from Goodreads.com)

Review: To begin this review I must make one thing clear. In High School I was a DUFF. Whether it was a complete reality, or more in my head, I related to everything Duffy. There were boys I crushed on, who I was friends with, who inevitably would end up dating one of my friends. I was the one who would drag the other girls off the dance floor if some skeaze guy was trying to get too close (a skill I still manange to use on occassion). I was the one who helped the other girls prep for dates and fielded calls afterwards, the one who held a hand through a break up or helped plot out a good way to ask a crush for a date. I was never, ever, the one with a date though. I was the DUFF. So with that out of the way, I can say that Keperling got it right for the most part.

Bianca isn't ugly or fat, but in comparison to her friends she feels it, and Wesley pointing it out certainly doesn't help. I really liked that Bianca's friends, even though they don't quite know what is going on stick with her. Every friendship goes through rough patches, and it was nice to see the reality of that play out, and also see them all come back together.

I genuinely loved Wesley. Every High School has a Wesley or two (or three). I liked that we really got to see why Wesley was such a cocky jerk/manwhore. I enjoyed seeing Bianca and Wesley use eachother to fill the void, while legitimately falling for eachother. My favorite Wesley moment was when he came to Bianca's rescue when her father got drunk. There was no game to be played, to advantage to earn, no using eachother in that moment. Bianca needed a hero, and he stepped up in a big way.

There were a few really minor things that I didn't like- mostly the pure volume of sex going on. I'm fully aware that it goes on in High School, but it just seemed like a tad too much. That being said- it didn't really take away from the story at all.

Overall I really related to this book, and I wish we had alot more books like this out there!

About Kody Keperling:


Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Crazy for Books, so hop on over her way to see what she is up to!

Here's this weeks question:
"If you find a book that looks interesting but is part of a series, do you always start with the first title?"

The short answer is yes. Every once in a blue moon I will pick up a book and read it and not realize it's a sequel, etc. (although that hasn't happened in awhile)- but for the most part I really like to read books in the order in which they were intended, I think you miss something if you don't. The only books that this rule is sketchy with is when the book is a companion book and not a true part of the series (in a chronological sense). Kristin Cashore's Fire and Graceling for instance, or Cassie Clare's Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series. The books deal with the same worlds and some of the same charecters, but you don't have to read one before the other to get the whole picture. I read Fire and Graceling in the correct order, but I read A Clockwork Angel before going to the Mortal Instruments books and I didn't feel like I had missed out.

So again- short answer. Series must be read in the correct order, companion books can go in any order.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Whatcha Thinking Thursday

It's time for Whatcha Thinking Thursday, hosted by me! Here's how it works. Each Thursday I'll simply blog about something book related that's weighing on my mind. Feel free to comment away if you agree or disagree (just keep it clean, okay?), or if you want to post to your site either on the same topic or about whatever it is you're thinking about go right ahead. I just ask that you link back to here. Also, make sure you let me know in the comments if you've participated so we can find you!

This week I'm thinking about Fairy Tales...

I've read quite a few books that deal with, or have faeries in them lately. From the Sookie Stackhouse books to Aprilynne Pike's Wings and Spells, Lesley Livingston's Wonderous Strange and Darklight to Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series and most recently Kiersten White's Paranormalcy. Each book is so different, but they all work within the greater Fey canon. Something you don't see as much with other paranormal mythology. Meaning, there is always a Winter Court and Summer Court, the Seelie and the Unseelie, a Titania, Oberon, Mahb and Puck. Those charecteristics are the same, and each authors story fits into the greater fairy world somehow.

I love this because even though each book has it's own flavor, I sometimes feel like they are all somehow connected. For instance, is Robbie in the Iron Fey series the same Robin from Wonderous Strange- one person bouncing back and forth to protect Meghan and Kelley. Speaking of Meghan and Kelley, both are part fey and children of Oberon, which would make them half sisters. Both enter the fey world for one reason or another. Is it so far out of the realm of possibility that they would somehow, someday cross paths? Could Prince Ash turn up in Laurel's Avalon?

this is not something I think about with other charecters- I never feel like the weres in Sookie's Bon Temps are related to the weres in Paranormalcy, or the Vamps from Twilight being connected to those from Cassie Clare's Mortal Instruments series, because there are no common threads charecter rise. With Fae though, with Oberon and Titania and Puck turning up across the board, I feel that connection and like to imagine how the charecters from each book might cross paths and what would happen if they did!

How about you? Do you read books that deal with Fae? Do you think about how theya ll work within a common world with common charecters?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Best I've Read 2010

I've been pretty much blogfailing lately, life has been so busy that the blog has fallen by the wayside. To make up for this, I have some crazy awesome news. I'm participating in an event called Best I've Read 2010, this will be an annual event featuring the best Young Adult books of the year from some of our favorite authors. This event will be HUGE and i'm really excited that the other blogs are willing to put up with my slacker like ways as they pull together this massive event. Here are some of the details- there will be more to come, including a BIR2010 blog where you can go to get all the info.

When: December 6th - 14th.
Where: 9 participating blogs, plus the BIR2010 blog where you can win a huge prizepack!
Who: participating blogs~

A Reader's Ramblings
Books Complete Me
Between the Covers
Fire and Ice Photo

I'm a Reader, Not a Writer
Late Bloomer Online
Mundie Moms
Once Upon a Twilight

Page Turners Blog

Participating Authors~

I'd love to post all the authors that are on the plate- but then this post would take up my whole blogpage. Seriously. There are 50 authors so far. 50. With more being added every time I check my email. On my site alone I'm featuring at least 26. Across the participating blogs you will find the likes of Becca Fitzpatrick, Julie Kagawa, Simone Elkeles and many, many more. Consider this a mere teaser to the awesomeness that will be headed your way.

What: well you know we are featuring our the best from 2010, but how? Simple, interviews, book reviews, guestposts and the most exciting part for you, Giveaways. Lots of giveaways. 26 pieces of swag, including signed books are on the slate for my site alone.

So- stay tuned for more info, and get ready, it's going to be awesome!