Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium
by Lauren Oliver
ISBN-13:9-780061-726828
Publication date: February 1, 2011
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I loved it!!

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 is amazing. I was pretty emotional reading Lauren’s debut novel Before I Fall, but I ended up loving it and was eagerly awaiting her second book…this one. So worth the wait, so very worth it.

Delirium fits perfectly with the criteria I have in my head that makes a book a true dystopia. Lena’s world seems perfect in idea – the US government has found love to be a disease, and without it, everything would be so much better. Without love, there would be no crime, war, hate – no more chaos. And so love is cured. Towns in the US are fenced in, protecting the people from the rest of the country – the Wilds – and the rest of the world (presumably, still uncured). But like a true dystopia, down under the perfect outerview of this society, lies something dark and warped. Lena comes to realize that maybe her town of Portland, Maine is not so ideal after all, and that maybe, the cure is not the answer.

Lena’s growth from conditioned member of society into a strong-willed, independent thinker is spot on. To follow with her as she realizes that all she knows, is not all she wants, is such a journey. I just wanted to strangle her at the beginning, because she believed in what she’s been told her whole life, and is anxiously waiting her cure, but I wanted her to join Hana and listen to loud, screeching music, and dance and fraternize with boys and to maybe, just maybe, see that there is something missing in people after the cure, something vital. And then Alex arrives on the scene, and Lena, she resists so much at first, but the disease takes hold. Everything seems better, then – Lena is realizing what love can be, and starts to question everything about the disease, the deliria. I was amazed at the twists to history that was done in order to have society think that love is a disease, and had always been known as such (Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet is a cautionary tale – not a love story!), and the created quotes from poems, books and pamphlets that Lauren placed at the opening of each chapter. I felt so immersed in this world, so informed of backstory without even being directly told – I loved it.

The story trots along at such a nice pace, slow and steady, but still somehow tense and erratic like a heartbeat of someone afraid (Lena) – until the end, when things explode in spectacular fashion and Lena and Alex are in trouble, and oh man…I was in tears. I was holding my breath at the end, wanting it to not be the end, because it just couldn’t be! But it’s Lauren Oliver, who’s first book had a bittersweet ending, and dystopia to boot, so why was I even hoping – aching – for a happily-ever-after end? Because I wanted one for Lena and Alex, so badly. I’m trying not to give anything away, I don’t know how well it’s working. I just have to say, Lauren is a master at sentences that just punch you in the gut and wrench some form of strong emotion from you. She did it in Before I Fall, and she does it again with the closing few sentences of Delirium.

Delirium is character driven dystopia at its best. When a story can make me feel so many different emotions, and put its main character through so much headache and heartache in just 400 some pages, then I say it’s done its job. Especially when I’m craving a sequel as soon as I turn the last page, eyes blurry from happy-sad tears. I want Lena to thrive. I want this crazy, messed up, loveless, United States to be turned on its head and upside down. This is a scary world to contemplate living in, and it’s presented masterfully.

Thank you so much to HarperCollinsCanada for sending me a review copy!

“Waiting On” Wednesday: The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier

“Waiting On” Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

The Floating Islands
by Rachel Neumeier
Publication date: February 8, 2011

When Trei loses his family in a tragic disaster, he must search out distant relatives in a new land. The Floating Islands are unlike anything Trei has ever seen: stunning, majestic, and graced with kajurai, men who soar the skies with wings.

Trei is instantly sky-mad, and desperate to be a kajurai himself. The only one who fully understands his passion is Araene, his newfound cousin. Prickly, sarcastic, and gifted, Araene has a secret of her own . . . a dream a girl cannot attain.

Trei and Araene quickly become conspirators as they pursue their individual paths. But neither suspects that their lives will be deeply entwined, and that the fate of the Floating Islands will lie in their hands. . .

Teaser Tuesday (12)

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading.

Firelight
by Sophie Jordan

“I touch his cheek, see my hand shake, and quickly pull it back. He grabs my wrist, places my palm back against his cheek, and closes his eyes like he’s in agony. Or bliss. Or maybe both. Like he’s never been touched before. My heart squeezes. Like I’ve never touched anyone before.”
– page 183

I’m on page 113 and really enjoying it so far. I’m excited to see if the “he” in the above quote is who I think it is!

Dust City by Robert Paul Weston

Dust City
by Robert Paul Weston

ISBN-13: 9-780670-063963
Rating: 4 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it

In a city as mean as this, even a big bad wolf should be afraid.

And Henry Whelp is that Big Bad Wolf. Or will be, someday. His dad is doing time for the double murder of Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother, so everyone assumes crime is in Henry’s blood. For years, he’s kept a low profile in a Home for Wayward Wolves on the outskirts of Dust City – a gritty metropolis known for its black-market, mind-altering dust. And the entire population of foxes, ravens, and hominids are hooked. But it’s not just any dust the creatures of this grim underground are slinging and sniffing. It’s fairydust.

When a murder at the Home forces Henry to escape, he begins to suspect his dad may have been framed. With a daring she-wolf named Fiona by his side, Henry travels into the dark alleyways and cavernous tunnels of Dust City. There, he’ll come face to snout with legendary mobster Skinner and his Water Nixie henchmen to discover what really happened to his father in the woods that infamous night…and the shocking truth about fairydust.

I love fairy tales. And Dust City is one unique, modern fairy tale. The story follows Henry, the son of the Big Bad Wolf that killed Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother. Living in a home for wayward animalia, Henry’s adventure starts with a murder made to look like a suicide. Leaving the home, Henry’s on the run from the police with some help from a she-wolf, Fiona. After some revelations and hints from a father still in prison, Henry goes undercover in the largest Dust ring in the city to try and find out what really happened to the fairies of old, and maybe clear is father’s name. There are encounters with giants, nixies and hominds and a lot of twisty questions along the way.

Dust City is a gritty outlook on the traditional fairy tale, where Fairy Dust is an addictive drug, and the creatures from fairy tales are just as flawed as we are. Even the glorious floating city where the fairies used to live – and is now populated by hominids – is not the happy, shining place many people in Dust City think it is. Beneath everything is a sense of despair and fear. Henry gets dragged into the cover-up of the century, and he manages to hold his own against the most sinister of villains. Perhaps the Big Bad Wolf is so bad after all, and those creatures seen as lesser are in fact just as important as anyone else. Henry certainly is.

For a character who is a large, talking wolf, it was quite easy to forget that fact. There were numerous times that we were reminded of Henry being an actual wolf and I was surprised. But they were never huge hints – they were subtle things worked in to how Henry moves, sees, thinks or acts. Wolfish characterisitcs that shine through in the must mundane moments. I loved it. It allowed the read to connect with Henry as we would any human character in a story, but still allowed us that sense of the unknown, of a fairy tale come to life (as it were). Some evens may have seemed a little too convenient at times, but overall the story flowed well and kept me engaged from captivating beginning to crazy ending. Dust City by Robert Paul Weston is different. It’s different, and intense and so worth the read.

“Waiting On” Wednesday: Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton

“Waiting On” Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

Blood Magic
by Tessa Gratton
Publication date: April 26, 2011

For Nick Pardee and Silla Kennicot, the cemetery is the center of everything.

Nick is a city boy angry at being forced to move back to the nowhere town of Yaleylah, Missouri where he grew up. He can’t help remembering his mom and the blood magic she practiced – memories he’s tried for five years to escape. Silla, though, doesn’t want to forget; her parents’ apparent murder-suicide left her numb and needing answers. When a book of magic spells in her dad’s handwriting appears on her doorstep, she sees her chance to unravel the mystery of their deaths.

Together they plunge into the world of dark magic, but when a hundred-year-old blood witch comes hunting for the bones of Silla’s parents and the spell book, Nick and Silla will have to let go of everything they believe about who they are, the nature of life and death, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood.

Teaser Tuesday (11)

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading.

Delirium
by Lauren Oliver

“Thomas broke her heart, of course, to nobody’s surprise. The Book of Shhh says: “Amor deliria nervosa produces shifts in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which result in fantasies and delusions that, once revealed, lead in turn to psychic devestation” (See “Effects,” p. 36). Then my sister did nothing but lie in bed and watch the shadows shift slowly across the walls, her ribs rising up under her pale skin like wood rising through water.”
– page 174, advanced reader’s copy

Loving this book so far! I’m only on page 109 and I’m so excited to see where everything is headed.

Code Name: Silence by Kirstin van Dyke

Code Name: Silence
by Kirstin van Dyke
ISBN-13: 9-78094-340064
Rating: 3 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it

Imagine what it would be like to walk through walls. Kathy Allen doesn’t have to. She already can. She and her friends aren’t normal. They’re stronger, faster and have amazing abilities that no normal human could ever have…but they aren’t superheroes. Yet.

Right now, all Kathy’s powers are good for is getting her to school on time. She knows she could do much more, but the professionals are handling all the normal crimes. Until now.

A masked thief emerges that no one can stop. He leaves no clues. Security systems are no challenge for him, but Kathy thinks she and her friends are. The chance to prove themselves has arrived. And when you’re a superhero, what can possibly go wrong?

Everything.

I have some mixed feelings about this book. Code Name: Silence is the story of four friends with super powers who help catch a criminal. I really enjoyed the plot idea, and there was some great action scenes. I think younger teens will really like this book, and get quite involved with it. That being said, I think there were a few things that could have been worked out a little differently.

Firstly was the lack of explanation for the powers Kathy and her friends have (especially Linda’s). Now, I know there is a sequel planned, so maybe the explanation will come in time, so it’s not too big of a deal. Also, the use of code names in the book was a little confusing – I had a hard time remembering who everyone was in the beginning, though the more I read the easier it was to clue in that Kathy was Hidden Hawk, Aaron was Vision, etc. I just found the jump between their names and their code names awkward at times. There’s also a small romantic element near the end of the novel that I don’t think was necessary – the story was working well without it. I like the idea of four friends just hanging out and fighting bad guys!

I think teens will connect with Kathy, Linda, Aaron and Robert, normal kids with extraordinary abilities. Especially Kathy, who uses her powers to get out of being late to school (doesn’t every high schooler wish they had that ability? I know I did!). The writing is engaging, and the story moves at a nice fast pace, with lots of fun action. Teenagers kicking butt – always a good time. It’ll be interesting to see where the sequel takes the storyline!

* Thank you to Kirstin van Dyke for providing me with a copy for review!