Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Book Review: Hana

Originally published on June 4, 2012.

I actually feel a little guilty counting Lauren Oliver's Hana was my 22nd book of 2012, since it is actually a "novella" and only 47 pages long. But I'm going to go ahead and count it, largely based on the difficulty that I had getting it. It's only available in eBook format, and since I don't have an eReader, I thought that I would never get a chance to read it. Thankfully, then a friend clued me in to a free download on Barnes and Noble's website that would allow me to read anything made for Nook on my computer, so after downloading that and a $3 version of the novella, I was in business. Maybe the reading experience would be slightly different on a real Kindle or Nook, but reading it on my laptop pretty confirmed for me that I don't really want one. I'm too attached to the actual pages of an actual book; I have no interest in reading an on-screen version if there's an alternative. I can see that eReaders have a definite audience (like, say, those who travel a lot and don't want to pack tons of books), but give me an actual print version any way. Perhaps, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer's librarian Rupert Giles, I'm just too attached to the way that books smell.

Anyway, I digress.

Hana would best be read as a companion to Lauren Oliver's Delirium. I read it back in January, and while I remember most of the details, I kept thinking that I would enjoy Hana more if reading it directly after Delirium so that I could compare them better. Hana is essentially the same story as Delirium, but covering a shorter period in time and told by the character of Hana Trent, whereas Delirium is told by the main character of the trilogy (Delirium, Pandemonium, and the upcoming Requiem), Lena Haloway.

I didn't like Hana's voice nearly as much as Lena's--while Lena has a lot to overcome and learn, Hana comes across sounding spoiled and selfish. And with only 47 pages, there's not a lot of space for new plot development. It was very interesting to see Lena's story from another point of view, and I was surprised by some of Hana's emotions and reactions. They definitely leant a completely different perspective to the story. The end of the story was especially surprising to me; definitely a cliffhanger. In fact, to be honest, I have to wonder if I'm reading it right at all, because there was nothing to indicate this development in either Delirium or Pandemonium. I'm really wondering if it will be addressed in Requiem, as it seems like a pretty major development to just leave hanging.

Sorry to leave you all hanging without being able to give more details of the end-of-story development, but I really think that divulging more would ruin the story. Just let it suffice to say: if you've read Lauren Oliver's books, pick this one up for a different perspective. And if you've also read Hana, then you and I need to discuss the ending. :)

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