Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book: Delirium (Delirium, #1) by Lauren Oliver

I feel really happy because, albeit slowly, I'm beginning to cross out titles after titles in my 2014 Reading List. :) Here's another book that I've been waiting big time to read...and finally, finally, I was able to squeeze it in my schedule. Book thoughts after the jump! :3

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Plot:
"Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't. " (via Goodreads)

Delirium is set in a dystopian world where Love was treated as a disease -- Amor deliria nervosa. And Lena Haloway, our heroine is only days away from undergoing the "procedure" that would rid her completely of this infection.

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The book started out a little weak for me. Or maybe, the tone of the writing just didn't appealed to me that much. There were moments when I confuse the Divergent universe with this story for some reason -- with the whole "wall" thing and all. But as the story furthers, I can spot all these poetic undertones that marked Oliver's lines and breaks -- and after a while, I got totally hooked. It blossomed, like the way Lena opened up for that emotion that her whole society condemns.

It was a bit silly...but I really mirror the development of Oliver's writing with the way the story progressed. I guess it won't really be a spoiler if I say outright that, yes, Lena indeed fell madly in love with someone in this book. And as she goes deeper and deeper into that abyss that is love, her words began to have this meaning, this much intricate resonance to them, and I started to feel and grasp her character more. What started out as a damaged, unfeeling girl...lead to the discovery of this sensitive, relateable protagonist. And as the story furthers, the way she tells her story morphs into something beautiful, a sight to behold -- inspired. It's amazing, because even with just the way the narrative was written.... Oliver was able to demonstrate how love can transform a person, and how it can do wonders in someone's outlook in life.

Her bestfriend, Hana Tate -- which (even if her description kinda felt like a clichè perfect YA heroine) still feels like a much more evolved character than her other literary counterparts. There's something fishy with the way she's too good to be true, like there's something really big lying underneath. She came off more as an enigma, and as I get further in, I get the sense that I need to know more about her. There's a Delirium novella titled "Hana", and that might be the answer to some of my questions about her.

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Of course, Alex Sheathes -- the very reason Lena changed in the first place. The slow building up of Lena and Alex's attraction to each other was prety interesting. And when it escalated into something beautiful, I swear I can almost feel Alex's eyes bore into Lena's -- literally, like I'm almost witnessing it first hand for some reason. There were things which were a tad bit predictable to his story line....but he was so well written, that Oliver managed to make me fall in love with him, too. (It also helped that I've always imagined the Alex in my head as sort of Alex Pettyfer-ish and the fact that he's quoting e.e. cummings and all. C'mon!). And that scene at the end....ugh, let me just melt into a pool of feels because I can't even begin to fathom the extent of his love for Lena. LET ME HAVE MY OWN ALEX, PLEASE.

These are just some of the things that stroke a chord with me -- but what takes the cake would definitely be about Lena's mother. This storyline was so heartbreaking, not just generally but for the effect that it had on Lena growing up. This part of the story was handled splendidly (and shockingly! I swear I got goosebumps), and I admit that this is really my favorite part of the book besides the book-ender.

I guess the very fact that love is banned and is somehow condemned in their society is what intensified what they feel into something that they feel is worth standing up for. That the greater the resistance for the emotion that kept them going, the more they feel that it is something special and that they wouldn't admit it if it wasn't true because it's too risky and that they should fight for it because it's worth it. Maybe we're too used to the fact that love is a universally acceptable thing (which it is), and that it is far too great an idea that suppressing it would feel like a violation of something innate inside of us. Or maybe it's all those little things all at once.

I would've given it a 3, but because of how Oliver wrote the ending of this book.....I'm giving it a solid 4. I acted impulsively on Goodeads last time and rated it an outstanding 5 right after I read it -- that's how awesome it was. I swear, that has got to be one of the best, if not the most heartbreaking, book-enders I've read in years. And I would never forget how it broke me in all these familiar places. That scene alone inspired a mini movie in my head that has been playing in my mind ever since I closed it -- and that in itself speaks a great deal. Definitely recommended.

My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:
It's so strange how life works: You want something and you wait and wait and feel like it's taking forever to come. Then it happens and it;s over and all you want to do is curl back up in that moment before things changed.  
The one good thing about being shy is that nobody bigs you when you want to be left alone. 
"Are you sure that being like everybody else will make you happy?" ~ Alex 
"That's when you really lose people, you know. When the pain passes." ~ Alex
Sometimes, the pain only makes it better, more intense more worth it. 
I guess that's just part of loving people; You have to give things up. Sometimes you even have to give them up. 
And now I know why they invented words for love, why they had to: it's the only thing that can come close to describing what I feel in that moment, the baffling mixture of pain and pleasure and fear and joy, all running sharply through me all at once.
Fast Facts:
Delirium was about to be be turned into a TV series, until Fox rejected and declined to pick up the pilot. Lena was supposed to be played by Emma Roberts, and Hana by Jeanine Mason (SYTYCD, yay!). Anyways, I found clips of the unaired pilot back at PageToPremiere.com: check it out here.
Quick thoughts on those clips: I'm really glad that this show was never picked up. I mean, I totally loved Delirium but there's just something really off about this pilot. The casting of Hana totally deviates from the book and bad acting from almost everyone -- and that's not even the major problem here. I think it's more with regards to the script. The lines felt really cheap  and flat for some reason, like its some sort of a normal teenage chick flick (which it's not). And don't even get me started on how casually they speak of "love". Ugh. The first episode alone covers the entire book 1, so yeah. It's weird. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

#BeautifulDeath

"There is only one thing we say to death: NOT TODAY." ~ Syrio Forell, A Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones (or more appropriately, A Song of Ice and Fire series) is one who isn't afraid to show blood. There has been so much deaths, in the books and in the TV series. And though the small screen adaptation have some minor deviations from my beloved and favorite book series, I can say that they've made very death (minor or major) artistically and well executed. Some say that it's too much, but still, these deaths are probably one of the major factors that made the TV show and book series a hit. To hell with fan service! -- this thing is the real deal.



And because Season 4 is just around the corner... HBO made an effort to recount the past deaths that made significant impact to the show for the past 3 seasons. Check out their Beautiful Death tumblr, their "official death-by-death countdown to Game of Thrones Season 4" .

The site includes 30 stunning portraits illustrated by Robert Ball -- interpreting one death per episode. Each portrait includes symbolism and quotes included in the iconic deaths of the show. Brilliant, brilliant interpretations.

Here're my 5 favorites among the bunch: (spoilers ahead)


Jory's death may have been a minor detail, but please....this illustration is just so stunning it just caught my attention right on.


Here's to one of the best episodes the TV show has produced...ever! Blackwater was a mixture of brilliant story telling, great pacing, and just downright amazing script. Epic!


Just seeing the Godswood make me choke up. Ugh, Winterfell.


This is not in the books, so this really caught me off guard. This shot really brought up Joffrey's love for cruelty on a much disturbing level. I never really got a solid take on this while I was reading, but it was very apparent on the show -- and I loved it. Also, I love this illustration.


There goes all our feels, right? This wouldn't be a list of my favorites without the #RedWedding in it. One of the most iconic death scenes the series has produced, if not the best. I know many of us were traumatized, and rewatching this episode may prove too hard because that means we'll undergo the same emotional trauma that we've tried so hard to get over with.

Illustrations c/o Robert Ball / HBO
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Well, that's just about it. Who's excited for the Season 4 pilot? Because I totally am! Season 4 would be all about the latter half of A Storm of Swords, which for me was the most action-packed in all the series so far -- and my favorite! If they would follow everything (which I'm sure they would because everything at that point is pivotal to the plot), I know, more deaths are coming. So be prepared, this list of beautiful deaths would continue to grow any moment now. :)
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Friday, April 4, 2014

Book: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Book thoughts, y'all! :) Sorry for my blog backlogs! Gawd, things just got buried in my huge pile of work that I somehow missed posting things in my Drafts folder. 

This is one book that is very close to my heart. And with the recent good news circling the YA Adaptations Heaven (more on that on my next entry), I think I should post this before it's too late! A book with a curious cover art, a catchy book blurb...and one that provided me an even more awesome reading experience. Here's Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. :)
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Plot:
Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.
 
Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor. 
Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park. 
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try [via Goodreads]
The premise was somehow ordinary, but what made it special is its own set of characters and how Rowell treated each of them. Awkward, asian kid. Fat, freckled girl, with a disjointed family. C'mon! Who does that? What a unique pairing it was, and this, for me is what brought the heart out of the book and its story. That not only cute girls and heartthrobs fall in love. That awkward teenagers and people with complicated lives do, too. That imperfect people also have a shot at life. Because in the end, all is fair in love and war. (And when did I start quoting things like this? Haha. >.<)
Eleanor & Park by Simini Block / source

It left me brimming with #feeeeeels and I haven't been like this since I read TFioS on a school night last year. It breaks my heart into tiny little pieces, letting them scatter on the floor only to pick them up again and leave me hoping for more. I love witnessing them fall in love -- and I swear, this is one of the cutest thing I've read so far. Ugh. Young love is just so beautiful.

My cheeks were seriously burning all throughout and there were moments when I hate how much this book feels so relateable when there wasn't even anything in my life right now to relate it to. Cliche as it may sound, but this book made me remember the thrill of falling in love for the first time, the nervousness of dipping your toes into something you're not really used to, and even the pain when it feels like all the universe is conspiring to break what you have apart. This book will make you feel things, really.

And I wasn't even expecting the later part of the plot. I mean, I was half-expecting it, but it took actually reading it to realize that all the signs were everywhere and I just haven't been paying that much attention because I was too caught up with everything that's going on between Eleanor and Park's relationship. Books with that kind of theme makes me a bit uncomfortable, but with E&P, all's well because it added something brought about by the thrill of the chase and all the figuring-out stuff. It was genius.

And that ending? Gawd, was that one of the most torturing things I've read... that you just can't do anything but demand a sequel. Srsly.

I love how Rowell was brave enough to talk about REAL issues. It's time to stop living in a world of perfect love stories, feel-good lives and fairy tale endings, it's time to talk about REAL LIVES. And I applaud this book for doing just that. 

Genre-bending. A YA book that crosses borders. Eye-opener. Definitely recommended.

My Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)

Quotable Quotes:
"Holding Eleonor's hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive." 
"Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something" 
"I just want to break that song into pieces and love them all to death."

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