Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Delirium Stories: Hana, Annabel and Raven by Lauren Oliver

I adore Lauren Oliver. Like, I had to use italics just to emphasize how great my love for her is. So of course I'm going to read every word she ever publishes (and more, if I could get my hands on them...). I actually read each of these three stories separately, but Delirium Stories: Hana, Annabel and Raven by Lauren Oliver is a collection, also available in paperback, that combines all three of shorts originally available as ebooks. They all take place in the Delirium universe, and each has a different main character, providing insight into the world, and flushing out the story further from the main three books in the trilogy.

Like always with these short stories, you don't need to read Delirium Stories to understand what goes on in the Delirium trilogy. What they share isn't necessary, or it would be a part of the actual books. But that doesn't mean it's not worthwhile. Firstly, because, like I said, Oliver's writing is amazing. Secondly, I think each one adds a little more insight into the world, from different perspectives, and they help deepen the reader's understanding and knowledge of what happens in the books. So I do think they are worthwhile, if not strictly necessary.

In the first story, Hana, you get to see some of the events that actually take place in Delirium, but from the perspective of Lena's best friend, Hana. Like all of Oliver's books, this was well written with some beautiful imagery, especially involved flyers/papers flapping in the wind, that suck with me in particular. Descriptions like this:

"The wind kicks up, rustling all those flyers, the exhortations of safety. The flyers lift and sigh in unison, like a thousand people waving white handkerchiefs, a thousand people waving good-bye."

Hana's voice is so clear and real in this story, but the moment that leaves the biggest impact is definitely the ending-- such a wow moment.

The second short story is Annabel, and I thought this was pretty cool because Annabel is actually Lena's mother, and she is quite a mystery in the first two Delirium books. I really liked her story, even more than Hana. I found that her voice was a bit vulnerable but strong, in a way that reminded me a bit of Lena. Somehow, despite having all these different female narrators, Lauren Oliver still makes them distinct though and I never thought I was reading a different character than I was.

Annabel alternates between the past and the present in the same way that Pandemonium, but one thing remains constant-- you can't help rooting for Annabel. Her mother's love was just so strong, and she had just such a spirit, that you really just want things to work out for her. The relationship between her and her husband was heartbreaking.

Finally, Raven is the third and final story in Delirium Stories. Also for the record, I am writing these reviews about a year after reading these (except Raven, which I read in April 2013) and wow that is hard. I still need to review Requiem as well. Remind me to stop procrastinating on reviews for a year-- I think some from 2013 will remain unreviewed, but hopefully I can get on top things a bit better for 2014? Anyway, back to this review!

Like Hana, there was an interesting twist to Raven that I didn't expect, but reading her point of view was probably the least interesting of the three in terms of adding to the Delirium world. That said, she is a really strong individual and character, and like always Oliver kept my attention. Reading this before Requiem, and later knowing what happens in that book makes this story even more heartbreaking.

Overall, there's not a lot I can say about Delirium Stories because I waited way too long to review them. But based on what I remember, they were all enjoyable, well written, and heartbreaking in their own way. They aren't necessary, but they are lovely, and if you're a fan of the Delirium Trilogy I definitely recommend checking these out as well (they would make no sense at all if you're not a fan/not reading the books).

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