Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review of Pandemonium (Delirium #2)

"So what was your name before?" I say, and she freezes, her back to me. "Before you came to the Wilds, I mean."

For a moment she stands there.

Then she turns around.

"You might as well get used to it now," she says with quite intensity.

"Everything you were, the life you had, the people you knew... dust."

She shakes her head and says, a little more firmly, "There is no before. There is only now, and what comes next."

After falling in love, Lena and Alex flee their oppressive society where love is outlawed and everyone must receive the "cure" - an operation that makes them immune to the delirium of love - but Lena alone manages to find her way to a community of resistance fighters. Although she is bereft without the boy she loves, her struggles seem to be leading her toward a new love.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:  4.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Dystopian and YA romance readers
High point:  The introspection
Low point:  It left a lot of my questions unanswered
Reader maturity: 13+

As soon as I finished Pandemonium, I couldn't wait to read it again.

I enjoyed Delirium, but Pandemonium had a much bigger impact. It showcases Lena's introspective journey as brilliantly as Delirium but with more forward motion and insistence. Lena makes a lot of personal choices that she left to fate or Alex in Delirium. Her growth occurs in painful spurts, and she's alternately angsty and naive in between, a perfectly organic transition from innocence to action.

There were a few plot surprises (I love surprises!), although most of the novel was either [tiny SPOILER] Lena-in-the-woods or Lena-under-the-ground, so the focus was mostly on Lena as a character (as it was in Delirium). So what made Pandemonium so incredible? Crafting intricate characters and a novel that makes readers think is challenging, yet Lauren Oliver excelled. Pandemonium gave me as many things to think about as its predecessor and furthered  Lena's journey in a way that makes me incredibly excited for Requiem!

Title:  Pandemonium
Author:  Lauren Oliver
Genre:   Teen Fiction - Dystopian
Year:   2012
Book Source:  Purchased

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Supernatural Saturday Review: The Iron Queen (Iron Fey #3)

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:   4 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Lovers of faery lore, faery newbies
High point:  The vibrant settings
Low point:  Meghan's choice of love interest (no surprise here!)
Reader maturity: 13+

To date, I haven't been as excited about the Iron Fey as the rest of the book reviewing blogosphere, but The Iron Queen was more up my alley than The Iron King and The Iron Daughter...mostly.

The Iron Queen featured events that are frequently skipped in other stories. Meghan's growing relationships with Ash (however much I dislike it) and her father, her dwindling relationship with Puck and her drive--and failure--to train to fight make Meghan an accessible and believable (if Faery existed, of course) main character. Those events slow the pace of the novel dramatically but Ms. Kagawa uses the break to fill in plot holes and nurture character development before slowly building momentum. It feels like nothing much happens for the first half of the novel, but I never got bored or lost interest.

Ms. Kagawa's world-building is something I've always appreciated, and she gives the Iron Realm the same attention to detail that Summer and Winter received. Cold and lifeless, without the mischief and passion shared in the other Realms, the Iron Realm serves as the perfect backdrop to Meghan's internal and external conflicts.

The ending, although a tad dramatic for my tastes, was a fine conclusion to Meghan's journey from typical American high school student to Iron Queen. I can't wait to see what else is in store from the Iron Fey.

Title:  The Iron Queen
Author:  Julie Kagawa
Genre:   Teen Fiction - Paranormal
Year:   2011
Book Source:  Purchased