Book Review – Alex

Alex (Delirium, #1.1)Alex by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

I’ll admit it. I was really upset at the end of the Delirium. I bawled like a baby. I went and took a long shower, where I cried and cried and then cried some more. It was pathetic. Then I realized that there was a novella, mid-series, called Alex, and I got hopeful.

I dashed out of the shower, went and downloaded this, and read it on the sofa, wrapped in a towel.

I managed to stop crying.

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“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?”

This short piece, not to spoiler things, will definitely calm you down after you finish the heart-rending end of the previous book in the series. It will give you hope.

I really, really liked seeing some of the scenes from the first book from Alex’s perspective. I often don’t like that in mid-series novellas – it seems like a needless re-hash sometimes, and I get bored. Not here. I’m guessing that this was most likely because Alex was my favourite character in the previous book – an “invalid” that was never “cured” of his ability to love, a resistance member, a freedom fighter, and the man that taught Lena about emotion, vulnerability and sacrifice.

I am enjoying this series immensely. I really like the author’s ability to paint relatable, believable characters. I love that she doesn’t use the character’s young ages as an excuse to make them do stupid things to facilitate plot twists (the crutch often used by YA authors that bothers me to no end). I love that all of her tales in this universe – including the “between books” novellas are wonderful as stand-alone stories. You could read any of them, out of sequence, and have a nice, complete and satisfying tale to while away an afternoon or weekend. The author makes you want to read more because her writing is excellent and her characters are compelling, not because she leaves plot holes and cliffhangers everywhere, so you are left angry and disappointed at the end of a book because you have no “completion”. (My usual complaint about serial fiction).

Much love to the author for creating a series that has so captured my imagination.

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