Posts Tagged ‘trilogy’

Requiem Requiem. The conclusion of the Delirium trilogy. The book where everything that has been building, everything that has happened so far in this amazing story, comes together and we get to see how it finally ends.

I haven’t so eagerly awaited the release of a book, or gone into a book with such high expectations, since the final three Harry Potter books, so poor Requiem was under a lot of pressure right from the beginning. I read a few reviews before I even bought the book and that may have been a mistake because all of them criticised the ending and thought it was the worst book of the trilogy, but of course I had to make up my own mind about it.

If you are reading this thinking “what on earth is she talking about?” then I suggest you go and read my reviews of Delirium and Pandemonium then come back. There will most likely be spoilers from those two books in this review, which I can’t really avoid since Requiem is the final book of the trilogy, but I just thought I better give fair warning.

I went a bit crazy taking notes while I was reading this book because I was so invested in the story and there were so many “OMG!” moments that I sort of just wrote down every little thought or feeling I had as I read. As a result of this excessive note-taking, this review may be a little bit all over the place, so I apologise for that. It’s not often that I get so passionate about characters and their stories, so this was a pretty special experience for me.

The biggest way Requiem differs from the previous two books is that it features alternate chapters from Lena, our protagonist, and Hana, Lena’s best friend in Delirium. I haven’t read Hana’s Story (available as an e-book only) so I hadn’t seen or heard from Hana since Delirium. I was excited to be able to fill gaps and see what was going on back in Portland both with Hana personally and the city in general.  I was also very curious to see how she and Lena would inevitably come together again – why would they include the Hana chapters if that wasn’t going to happen?  It was particularly difficult to put down because I so desperately wanted to see how it would all play out.

Using alternate chapters was probably one of Oliver’s best decisions for this story¸ because I can’t even imagine how she could have included so much information from both sides – the Wilds and the controlled cities – without them. They did interfere with the continuity a little bit, because you were forever jumping from Lena to Hana then back to Lena again, but it didn’t negatively impact the overall story. They also enabled so many questions to be answered, particularly about Hana who played such a huge part in Delirium.

[Side note: It kind of blew my mind that Hana had grown and changed so much in such a short amount of time – it’s been less than a year since we last saw her – but then, so had Lena.]

From the fifth Lena chapter I could already feel something building, especially with the evidence of the governments ever-growing presence in the Wilds. This tension continued to build right up until the climax of the story when an all-out war broke out. I did note, though, that even though there was a rising tension through the story from both Hana and Lena’s sides, I felt like it should have been more intense considering the war that it was leading up to had the potential to change everything. I did get emotional around page 268 (yes, I actually cried) and there were many emotional reveals and scenes, so the lack of intense rising tension was easily redeemed by the emotional tension.

I was so torn between Alex and Julian that I did not envy Lena actually having to be in that situation one little bit. I loved Julian by the end of Pandemonium but Alex is Alex, the first boy, the first love, so I felt Lena’s pain as she loved both of them, struggling to figure out who she loved more. I’m glad about who she ended up with; I think that’s how it was always meant to be. Speaking of the end, despite many negative reviews, I loved it. Yes, it left HEAPS of unanswered questions, but it was perfect anyway.

The description and word choices are as beautiful as ever. I know I have said this before, but Oliver is a truly talented writer who has a way with words that I can only aspire to. After reading Before I Fall and now the Delirium Trilogy, I will definitely be checking out her other work.

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Delirium cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every now and then you read a book that changes you. It might not be a best-seller, or even remotely well-known. You might come across it purely by accident while you’re scanning the shelves of your local bookstore, find the blurb interesting, and take it home with next-to-no expectations. But somehow, for whatever reason, it mesmerizes you. It drags you into its fictional world, into the hearts and souls of its characters and it finds a way to keep you wanting, desperate to know what happens next. Recently I read a book like this. It was called Delirium.

Delirium, written by Lauren Oliver, is set in an immaculately constructed dystopian America. This is a world where love has been identified as a disease – amor deliria nervosa – for which they have managed to find a cure. The deliria, as they call it, was once viewed as a wonderful thing, something to be dreamed of longingly and celebrated, but that is partly why they believe it is so dangerous. It affects your mind and body, making you think irrationally, feel things you shouldn’t feel and do things you shouldn’t do. The cure, a procedure performed on or very soon after your 18th birthday, aims to leave you safe and happy forever. Naturally, things don’t always go as planned.

The story begins with the protagonist, Lena, exactly 95 days from her 18th birthday and, much to her delight and relief, her procedure. She believes everything she has ever been taught about the deliria and has come to fear it, as is expected of her. But, of course, it isn’t all as simple as journeying with her through those 95 days and then reaching the end of the story. I don’t want to give too much away, because it truly is a brilliant novel and I encourage you all to read it. I will say, though, that while there are a few obvious and anticipated plot twists, there are some other things I definitely didn’t see coming that made the story that much more exciting to read. The best part? After completing Delirium I discovered that it is actually the first book of a trilogy! I went out and bought the second book, Pandemonium, immediately and have already started reading it. The final book, Requiem, is due out early next year.

From a writers point of view, Oliver’s use of metaphor is fantastic. Some of my personal favourites include “…makes the city smell like a giant armpit” (p.160) and “I feel like I’m back in my dream, getting slurped into the dark, floundering like an insect stuck in a bowl of honey” (p. 247). Oliver describes things beautifully without ever feeling the need to over-describe them. Some of the other novels I have read lately have been dripping with unnecessary adjectives, so it is refreshing to dive into Oliver’s work. Her characters are created so that you can get into their heads and really understand them; every little detail has been accounted for. I can’t wait to finish Pandemonium, after which I will be counting down the days until Requiem is released.

Watch this space for a Pandemonium review coming soon. Make sure you read Delirium in the mean time so I don’t spoil too much for you!

This is where I admit something I have managed to keep from all but two people up until now.

I have read Fifty Shades of Grey. I have also read Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. Yes, the whole trilogy.

I did not buy it, so determined I was not to contribute to sales figures that have continued to allow it a place on the bestsellers list, but I did read it. As an avid reader, a writer, and a 24-year-old woman, how could I not? People were talking and despite my best attempts I just could not help my curiosity. I know what you’re thinking – curiosity killed the cat. Lucky for me, then, that I am not a cat.

I am going to start by saying that I have studied creative writing to an extent, but by no means do I think that puts me in any position to consider myself an expert in the field, particularly within the category into which this trilogy falls. However, as a past creative writing student and a writer myself, I am entitled to an opinion on the matter. So here it is.

Is the trilogy well-written? No. Absolutely not. The first paragraph of the first book had me questioning my decision to give it a chance, which was not a good start. Still, I persevered and would like to make it known that from a technical perspective the writing did improve considerably by the end of the third book. Unfortunately there are only so many ways you can describe two people taking each other’s clothes off before it becomes boringly repetitive. Which brings me to the, er, ‘juicy bits’.

I can understand two people having an intense physical attraction to each other, to the point where the slightest touch in the right place can instil an incessant need to rip each other’s clothes off. But let’s be honest: outside of the fictional world in which these books are set, who actually gives in to this kind of desire every, single, time?

I know the series is erotic fiction. I know that this entails a wide range of descriptions for a wide range of sexual activities. Personally, though, there were so many sex scenes that I became immune to them after a while, even the BDSM elements. By halfway through the second book I found myself skimming pages thinking ‘and there they go again…and again..and again’. I think even in erotica it is possible to include too much sex, especially when it is all much the same.

If you can get past the poor writing and all of the sex – my god there is so much sex! – there is, surprisingly, quite the compelling story-line. Even I, the cynic, found myself drawn into Christian and Anastasia’s bizarre relationship rollercoaster. And I loved it. Despite the fact there were a number of parts of the story that were incredibly far-fetched, it was intriguing and surprising and heartfelt. I can barely fathom the amount of time and resources that would have gone into the research for this trilogy, let alone the time spent actually writing it. So I have to give credit where credit is due – E.L. James, you sure as hell know how to captivate an audience.