23 Feb 2012

PANDEMONIUM - LAUREN OLIVER

THIS IS THE SECOND BOOK IN THE DELIRIUM SERIES, IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE FIRST THIS MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS.

SUMMARY
Love, the deadliest of all deadly things. It kills you when you have it. And when you don't. 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. Pandemonium is a poignant, explosive, recklessly romantic and utterly heartbreaking novel. Like Delirium, the first in the compelling trilogy, it will take you to the very edge. That's all you need to know. We'll let Lena do the rest of the talking ...

REVIEW
Initially I found the prose of Delirium slightly slow and cloggy. It took a while to make its point, and when it did it repeated itself quite a lot. All in all, even though the plot was quite good I felt the book was let down by its style and form.

Pandemonium couldn't be more different. The story is split into two parts: Now and Then ('Then' being the continuation of Delirium, tracking Lena's entrance into the Wilds after leaving Alex behind, and 'Now' depicting a couple of years into the future when Lena re-enters the population as part of the Resistance). Having the novel split like this gives Oliver the opportunity to do what she does best: create cliffhangers. It makes it so much more of a page turner and unlike its predecessor doesn't make you feel like you have to go through the hard slog for the reward.

Having a split narrative also gives the opportunity to introduce a whole new cast of characters without losing sight of all that had come before. We are introduced to the idea of the Wilds being a 'rebirth', almost a way to distance itself from everything that happened in Delirium, to launch itself into a more adult and grittier narrative. Before Lena was a naive school child, now she is an adult, and needs to be part of a new society in order to survive.

11 Feb 2012

PURE - JULIANNA BAGGOTT

SUMMARY
We know you are here, our brothers and sisters. We will, one day, emerge from the Dome to join you in peace. For now, we watch from afar. Pressia Belze has lived outside of the Dome ever since the detonations. Struggling for survival she dreams of life inside the safety of the Dome with the 'Pure'. Partridge, himself a Pure, knows that life inside the Dome, under the strict control of the leaders' regime, isn't as perfect as others think. Bound by a history that neither can clearly remember, Pressia and Partridge are destined to forge a new world.

THIS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. I hope that it doesn't ruin things too much, but this book begs to be analysed. I have tried not to talk about the plot in itself too much, just my opinions on the world Baggott has created.

REVIEW
There are so many threads to follow with Pure that it's difficult to know where to start. The imagery is immensely cruel; the characters are extensively and emphatically broken. Those who were outside of the Dome before the Detonations hit, those who are known now as the Wretches, are so damaged it's a wonder they survived at all. Most are embedded with glass or metal, many are fused to the things they were holding or standing next to. Both objects and people.

What Baggott captures so brilliantly is their survival. Their ability to adapt and continue is what makes things so interesting. These Wretches suffer both physical and mental torture. These malformations, caused by the Detonations, are obvious and frank reminders of the Atomic bomb. Man has always struggled with both the morals and the human cost of scientific advancement. Pure embodies and projects this fear, and tells us that it only takes one fanatic, one person to press the button and end it all. Baggott explains in the author notes that her thoughts surrounding the text came from the events in Hiroshima and its not hard to see.

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