Okay, first, what is this annoying trend where authors omit bits of their story and put them in these short novellas? I hate it. It's commercial and gross, I hate feeling obligated to read them, and it annoys me that they exist. With that said, I spotted this compilation of stories from Lauren Oliver's Delirium world on the shelf at my library, and because it was in book form, the completionist in me knew I had to read it.
The three stories in the book (plus a chapter from Requiem, released before its publication date) are told from the perspectives of Hana (Lena's childhood best friend), Annabel (Lena's mother), and Raven (the leader of Lena's group in the Wilds). All three stories show us alternate POVs for events that happened both during and before the Delirium books. And, I suppose to justify their existence as something other than a ploy to get rabid fans to pay more money, there are some revelations included. The chief 'pleasure' of Annabel's story is that we have heard virtually none of it, but Hana's and Raven's give us another view of events that have already happened. The chief revelation in Hana's story is that she is the one who turned Lena and Alex in to the authorities in book one (something I learned for the first time when I read Requiem, but it was published here first). Raven's is that she was fucking pregnant when she died, something that wasn't even included in Requiem.
I have bones to pick with both of these 'revelations.' Raven's is the most obvious: if she was pregnant, we should have known about it. This is yet another example of how Oliver's strict adherence to Lena's POV (and Hana's in Requiem) is a detriment to the story, as more often than not, Lena is an idiot with her head up her butt. Hana's is a bit more complicated. There was virtually no clue in Delirium that Hana was so pissed off at Lena, so it feels like retconning when we learn about it. Again, I know this is in large part because if Lena didn't know something, we didn't know it either, but why limit yourself as an author to such a dull perspective?
I enjoyed the voices of all three of these women 1000% more than I enjoyed Lena's. If Oliver would have included their POVs in the three novels, they would have been so much better, not only because we wouldn't have had to spend all that time with Lena, but because it would have allowed her to open up the world she was building as an author in a much more in depth way (I know she included Hana as a POV in Requiem, but that's a case of too little, too late, in my opinion). On a positive note, these stories on their own are much better pieces of writing than the main three books. Short stories suit Oliver's poetical style.
Officially done with this series!