[Mini Reviews] Raven, Alex & Free Four

Short stories time! Obviously, they didn’t take very long to read, especially Free Four (being only less than 15 pages long).

(Delirium #2.5)
by Lauren Oliver
YA – Dystopia, Romance
Rating: 4 Cakes
I was really excited to get into Raven’s head cause she’s one of my favorite characters from Delirium trilogy thanks to her leader-like attitude and tough personality. We get to know more about Raven’s past from this short story, how she evolves from a scared teenager when she first arrives in the Wilds with Blue, her relationship with Tack and her decision to help Lena saving Julian. Sometimes Raven’s attitude is a bit harsh in Pandemonium or Requeim, but now I understand what she has been through before and that makes me respect her more.
My only complain was the confusion I had when I started this short story. I admit it was a bit hard for me to adjust to the timeline (this story is set near the end of Pandemonium) cause I already read Requiem. And it goes back and forth between Raven’s past and present. But overall, this is a very nice short story. Just saying, I think I would enjoy Requiem more if there was Raven’s POV in it.

(Delirium #3.5)
by Lauren Oliver
YA – Dystopia, Romance
Rating: 2 Cakes
We get to know Alex’s childhood, what happens to him after the last event in Delirium, how he escapes from the Crypts and his own journey of finding Lena in the Wilds. Honestly, this short story was a bit boring for me. And confusing. But I did liked some parts of it and even though I didn’t enjoy this as much as I wanted to, I still like Alex’s character. Here is my favorite quote:
“Sometimes I think maybe they were right all along, the people on the other side in Zombieland. Maybe it would be better if we didn’t love. If we didn’t lose either. If we didn’t get our hearts stomped on, shattered: if we didn’t have to patch and repatch until we’re like Frankenstein monsters, all sewn together and bound up by who knows what. If we could just float along, like snow. But how could anyone who’s ever seen a summer – big explosions of green and skies lit up electric with splashy sunsets, a riot of flowers and wind that smells like honey – pick the snow?”

Free Four: Tobias Tells the Story
(Divergent #1.5)
by Veronica Roth
YA – Dystopia
Rating: 5 Cakes

I love every single thing in this story, even though it’s less than fifteen pages long. This story is about knife-throwing scene from Divergent in Tobias’s POV. Unlike Alex, I think this short story actually adds depth into the scene. This short story is so well-written and I think it will get better or at least it won’t be any less awesome if I re-read it over and over. I need something like this more! I don’t have many things to say about this but one word: AMAZING. 

[Review] The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 256 (Hardcover)


When Liza’s brother, Patrick, changes overnight, Liza knows exactly what has happened: The spindlers have gotten to him and stolen his soul.

She knows, too, that she is the only one who can save him.

To rescue Patrick, Liza must go Below, armed with little more than her wits and a broom. There, she uncovers a vast world populated with talking rats, music-loving moles, greedy troglods, and over-excitable nids . . . as well as terrible dangers. But she will face her greatest challenge at the spindlers’ nests, where she encounters the evil queen and must pass a series of deadly tests–or else her soul, too, will remain Below forever.

From New York Times best-selling author Lauren Oliver comes a bewitching story about the reaches of loyalty, the meaning of love, and the enduring power of hope.

Middle-Grades are not my cup of tea, but because this book has adventure element, I thought I would give it a shot.

The main character – Liza – is annoying and whiny but surprisingly smart. Obviously, she encountered a lot of magical creatures and landscapes as she explored Below. But it felt like the author’s attempts to make Liza courageous and brave just failed. Liza’s character felt not real.

And the plot. I almost didn’t feel anything, even when Liza was facing dangers. It’s absolutely predictable that she would defeat the monsters easily. There were no fright and creepiness created, thus I felt like reading an almost-lifeless paragraphs. I wish there had been more twists in the story. Also, I think there are too many unnecessary exclamation marks.

Despite all the negative things, the book is beautifully written. I found the descriptive writing style enjoyable and that was basically what drove me to read it until the very last page. Lauren Oliver is truly talented and I think I shouldn’t give up on her just because of two books which I found boring (Before I Fall and The Spindlers). I really love her writing!

And the ending, after Liza returned to her home, I finally felt something after 200 pages of emotionless. It nearly made me cry. Here’s the quote:

“These are seeds of hope. They may not look like much, but they grow everywhere, in even the hardest places, where nothing else grows” – page 239

Another good thing about this book is the cover! It’s absolutely gorgeous <3 And every beginning of a chapter there is an illustration about how the characters look like. It’s really helpful and I guess children will love them. (Well, this is a middle-grade book anyway.) Praise the illustrator!

To sum it up, the negative things overweigh the positives so this book is a no-no for me. If you’re a fan of Alice in Wonderland, then maybe this is the right book for you.


2 Cakes