Waiting on Wednesday (#2)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking The Spinethat spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Panic

Panic
by Lauren Oliver
Publication date: 04 March 2014
by HarperCollins

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

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I’m a huge fan of Lauren Oliver and these 3 months had better pass quickly; I can’t wait to get my hands on this novel! Which book are you waiting on this week?

Adelena

Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Requiem

Requiem
by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #3
Publication Date: 05 March 2013
HarperCollins, Hardcover, 391 pages
Source: Library

Goodreads | The Book Depository | Amazon

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

Rating: ★★★★★

And so, another trilogy has come to an end. The Delirium trilogy has certainly left an impact on me, and one thing’s for sure by the end of Requiem: everything has changed.

Let’s kick off this review with the writing style of the book! Requiem was written from two perspectives: Lena’s and Hana’s. I did not expect Hana to be brought back into the story after she and Lena had been separated in the first book, but I agree with Adel that it was genius of Lauren Oliver to bring her back! I personally found Hana’s perspective intriguing, as it gives readers a look at what Hana’s life is like after her cure. Her thoughts have changed – which is a given – but it wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be. I had envisioned for her to be more stiff and uptight, but her thoughts seem to stray off what I would call ‘normal’ for a cured at times.

Hana also had an encounter with Willow (a friend from high school), which was definitely a creepy one. I suppose she would be labelled as a ‘reject’ after her procedure – her mind seemed to have been wired wrongly. There just seemed to be an air of gloom around her, and I absolutely detested the fact that a  perfectly normal person loses her mind (literally) after the procedure. How ironic for the procedure to be called a ‘cure’ when the people become crazy after going through it.

As for Hana’s fiancé, Fred, the only thing that I can say about him is that he is terrible. Absolutely horrible and atrocious! At times, the feels were so overwhelming that I just wanted to reach into the book and strangle him to death. I pitied Hana for the fact that she was engaged to this monstrosity of a man.

Now, on to the stars of Requiem – Lena and Alex! The tension between the two was simply intense – I would say it was to the point where it felt suffocating. From the end of Pandemonium, one can already sense the tensions rising between them, especially when Alex sees Lena and Julian embracing. *cue dramatic music* And as if three wasn’t big enough a crowd, Lauren Oliver decides to add on to the drama and bring a fourth person into the picture – Coral. As this whole Alex-Lena-Julian-Coral saga takes place throughout the book, I shall not spoil it any further for you readers, and let the story take you on a wild and electrifying ride. ;)

For those who are curious about Coral, here’s what I have to say about her: she wasn’t what I had expected her to be, and although I was suspicious about her character at times, she was truly a nice person. As for Julian, he really needs to know the meaning of ‘having good timing’. I know that his intentions aren’t bad, but they’re just not appropriate for that particular moment.

The ending of Requiem was open, and left for readers to create and choose what kind of ending they wanted. This idea was constantly reiterated throughout the course of the book, using the fact that Lena and the resistance were fighting for freedom to be able to choose what they wanted, even if it meant choosing the wrong things. This ending left me with this feeling of rushing at such a fast pace and abruptly coming to a stop. I would say that the lyrics of Taylor Swift’s Red does describe how I felt:

 … driving a new Maserati down a dead end street

Faster than the wind, passionate as sin, ending so suddenly.

Of course, ‘dead end’ wasn’t the case for Requiem. Like I had said earlier – we were free to choose whatever ending we wanted for the story. Although there wasn’t a sense of closure for Requiem, I’m happy that it ended the way it did. It fit the story just fine.

To end off my review, I must caution you readers to be prepared for huge revelations in Requiem. One left me hopping around with rage, and I was simply stunned by how huge an impact it made. It totally took me off guard, so brace yourself for it. You’ve been forewarned!

Yours truly

Signature--JZ

Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium

Pandemonium
by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #2
Publication Date: 28 February 2012
HarperTeen, Hardcover, 375 pages
Source: Library

Goodreads | The Book Depository | Amazon

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

I’m pushing aside 
the memory of my nightmare, 
pushing aside thoughts of Alex, 
pushing aside thoughts of Hana 
and my old school, 
push, 
push, 
push, 
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

Rating: ★★★½

This is my second time reading Pandemonium – the first time I did, which was early last year, I just couldn’t get past the halfway-mark of the book. However, I recently felt this sudden urge to re-read the book, and I did manage to finish it successfully this time round. So here I am, writing my review of Pandemonium!

First off, I liked the way that the chapters were structured: they were all written from Lena’s point of view, except from ‘then’ and ‘now’. The different time frames that were used to tell the story was a little confusing initially, but it got better as the story developed. This structure blended well to show the contrast and changes in Lena’s character.

The story is centered mainly on Lena and Julian, and how Lena grows from a girl who’s both physically and emotionally weak and broken, to one that’s cold, hard and fearless. Personally, I’m glad that Lena is strong enough to be able to pick herself up and move on from Alex’s death. She was even able to fall in love again, though it seemed rather… hesitant? Reluctant? I suppose I can understand her fear of falling in love again – she had lost the people she loved as she chose to escape to the Wilds, and most importantly, she lost Alex.

I didn’t have much feelings towards Julian – he seemed pretty average to me. He was rather uptight, though, and he’s clearly brainwashed in wanting the procedure to prevent deliria. After all, his father is the head of the DFA.

As for the relationship between Lena and Julian… Well, I never understood it. Julian was like Lena’s rebound, in my opinion. It felt odd that by the end of Pandemonium, Lena was ready to love all over again. Julian was new to the whole concept of experiencing love… it just didn’t seem to fit. And like what many of my friends have commented, I agree that it’s like Lena is leading the relationship with Julian. I guess this mirrors what Alex had done in Delirium, with introducing someone, in this case Lena, who’s pro-procedure to the Wilds and love. I also knew that Alex would always be in Lena’s heart, even though she appears to have fully gotten over him towards the end of Pandemonium. I understood her confusion and her feeling lost between wanting to remain faithful to Alex even though he was dead, and wanting to fall in love with Julian. Here’s a quote from the book to show her emotions:

I squeeze my eyes shut, willing away the thought. But with my eyes closed, Julian and Alex melt together. Their faces merge and then separate, then collapse again, like images reflected in a stream, passing over each other until I am no longer sure which of them I am reaching for – in the dark, in my head.

As for Lena’s mother… yes, she did find her mom in Pandemonium, but didn’t realize it until the end. I do hope that there’ll be more of Lena and her mom in Requiem! It would be nice to see the both of them reunited.

So… That’s about all I have for my review on Pandemonium. I’m looking forward to reading Requiem, especially after Alex’s appearance! (Although I already know how Requiem‘s going to end – I gave myself tons spoilers for this trilogy.)

Yours truly

Signature--JZ