Sunday, January 6, 2013

Short stories are awesome.  They give us in-depth insight into characters, providing anecdotal proof of why some characters are they way they are.  They entertain by creating a certain mood or focusing on a singular effect...some instance in a previous body of work (or one to follow) that might have been glossed over or ignored completely in a longer novel. 

And so, every Sunday for the foreseeable future, I would like to highlight short stories and novellas set in worlds I've already come to love and learn a little more about some of the secondary characters in my favorite novels.  I'll be underscoring some of my favorite aspects of these short works of fiction, in addition to offering up a mini review of each work.

This week, I'm featuring the following book as I prepare to read Requiem in the next few weeks:

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Title: Annabel
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium, book #0.5 (prequel)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: December 26, 2012
Source: purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Lena's mother, Annabel, has always been a mystery—a ghost in Lena's past. Until now.

Discover her secrets in Lauren Oliver's brilliant original digital story set in the world of New York Times bestsellers Delirium and Pandemonium.

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.

With this novella, you don't really get any new information, just a different view of what we already know from reading the previous books in the series.  But that doesn't mean it's any less pertinent to the story.

Reading from Annabel's point-of-view was very much like reading from Lena' least Lena's voice from the beginning of Pandemonium.  It is disheartening and depressing, with just the slightest hint of hopefulness.  As she alternates between the past and present -- the past being the time before she was paired and the present being the days leading up to her escape from the Crypt -- it is easy to see where Lena's strength and determination come from.

In addition to viewing Annabel's misery through her own eyes, we also get a glimpse of the lengths she was willing to go to for freedom...and the lengths others were willing to go to in order to aide in her escape.  I, myself, never made the connection as to who her accomplice was, but I shouldn't have been all that surprised.

Like I said, nothing new here, really, but you do get a peek at the first two chapters of Requiem, and if you're already having a difficult time making it until March for the final installment of this series, that in itself my whet your appetite for a bit.  Or it could make the wait pure torture.  Who am I to say?  *insert wicked laugh*

Rating:  Photobucket 1/2


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