Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: Breathless & Annabel

As I've mentioned before, I love novellas, especially ones that advance a story I already love. Here are two recent ones I read:

Author: Sophie Jordan
Published: December 4, 2012
100 pages (ebook)
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

For Az, it's supposed to be a fun summer vacation with her family. Nothing complicated. Just a quick trip to test the waters as she prepares for a year on her own. That all changes when she rescues a drowning girl and meets Tate—the most gorgeous human boy she's ever seen. Tate throws her heart, her plans, and her life into upheaval, but the closer she gets to him, the harder it is to hide the secret of what she is. With no hope for a future together, the last thing that can ever happen . . . is love.

Az, a character we didn't really get a chance to know, gets the spotlight in this Firelight novella. Though I'm sure when this story is supposed to take place or where in the plot it fits it, I loved it anyway. Jacinda is a distant character, though her name does come up as Az falls deeper into danger when she meets Tate and cant seem to stop herself from being with him. She thinks of Jacinda as someone who would never put her pride at risk (which makes me think this happens before Firelight

Az is a water draki, feeling most at home when she's deep underwater. Swimming one day, she gets stuck at the bottom when a group of kids come to the pond and start to swim. Risking being caught, she saves one of Tate's friends, thus throwing their lives together in a way she never imagined. A much shorter and not nearly as dangerous love story as Jacinda's, Az too finds herself drawn to the human world and willing to risk everything to be with the one she loves. The 100 pages don't give us a chance to see big differences between Az and Jacinda, but I love Az and would love to read more about her.

Jordan, who is also a romance novelist, creates scenes realistic enough to be believable, yet writes them like a fantasy. Her words curl around each other and she makes you fall in love with every character. Her boys are dreamy and her girls are cautious yet willing to take that leap. You can see the romance skills in her young adult work and it fits perfectly, sending chills up your spine as you wait for them to kiss, the anticipation killing you. She's taken two worlds and turned them into something magical.

Author: Lauren Oliver
Published: December 26, 2012
50 pages (ebook)
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Lena Halloway's mother, Annabel, supposedly committed suicide when Lena was only six years old. That's the lie that Lena grew up believing, but the truth is very different. As a rebellious teenager, Annabel ran away from home and straight into the man she knew she was destined to marry. The world was different then—the regulations not as stringent, the cure only a decade old. Fast forward to the present, and Annabel is consigned to a dirty prison cell, where she nurtures her hope of escape and scratches one word over and over into the walls: Love.

But Annabel, like Lena, is a fighter. Through chapters that alternate between her past and present, Annabel reveals the story behind her failed cures, her marriage, the births of her children, her imprisonment, and, ultimately, her daring escape.

The world Oliver has created in Delirium is one of the best dystopian worlds I've seen yet. Love is considered a disease, people get cures for it, and those who escape the cure live wild and free to love. Lena is happy for the cure until she meets Alex and suddenly getting cured of love doesn't make sense to her. Her mother, Annabel, has always been a mystery to her. Having thought all her life that she had committed suicide when Lena was a child, she never expects to find out that she lives, let alone has escaped the cure and is now living in the Wilds. Annabel tells the story of Lena's mom in the same format as Pandemonium. We alternate between the present, her locked in the Crypts daring an escape, and the past, when she was a young uncured girl falling in love. 

Oliver's writing is perfection. I get swept up into her stories and forget about everything around me. I read this in one sitting, craving more. I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for Requiem and this novella thrilled me just as much as a full novel of hers does. Her prose is beautiful and she uses her words with love, carving out a word where love is forbidden yet so alive in the eyes of our narrators. The ending of this gave me a lot of hope for the finale and I can't wait to get sucked into that novel as well. Raven, another novella is coming out soon and I have no doubt that will be amazing as well.

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