Thursday, March 22, 2012
It seems to be a thing lately for YA authors to write short little companions to their trilogies. In some ways it seems like a ploy to make money, but it works -- I tend to get my hands on them, eager for more. I was especially excited when I noticed this little story, for two reasons: First of all, I still haven't gotten my hands on Pandemonium and I've been hungry for more Delirium for over a year, and second of all, one of the things I had wished for from Delirium was more Hana. I loved her as a character and I wanted to get to know her better.
The story gives us a snapshot of Delirium's story from Hana's point of view. It starts with the first party Hana invites Lena to, takes us through their fight, and through the raid where Lena is bitten by the dog. It ends with Hana getting to know Alex and her reaction to him. Be aware that while this review won't have spoilers for "Hana," it will have some Delirium spoilers.
The story reveals a shocking addition to Delirium, one I hope is included in Pandemonium, because it seems pretty fundamental to the overall story, and I guess I perceive these short story snippets that are all the rage to be additional and nonessential to understanding the story -- just extras for those who are obsessed. Other than the shocker, which I am not going to spoil for anyone, the story was a bit lackluster for me. I was hoping for more detail -- how it works out for Hana once she is cured and married to the mayor's son, more of her personality. While we are given more of her motivation for attending the underground parties -- descriptions of moving music written in Oliver's stunning prose -- this didn't feel very revelatory to me. I was aware that Hana loved the music from Delirium, and while I had the chance to read her experience in Hana's voice, it wasn't anything new for me.
We also receive insight into why Hana, seemingly the wild and more rebellious of the friendship, winds up being cured, while the more cautious and rule-abiding Lena falls into a full-blown deliria infection. When I read Delirium, I thought it was just the expectations of her family, the pressure of her high-status match. However, "Hana" reveals that Hana had a love interest of her own that she met at the parties -- a love interest that she learns is just experimenting before his inevitable cure, who doesn't want to feel the deep connection of true deliria. This disappointment leads Hana back to what she views as reality -- deliria is a disease, something to be rooted out -- it causes people to act foolish and only results in hurt. Despite her longing for freedom, she begins confining herself to the rules, despite the fact that she continues to spend time with Lena and Alex, apparently flouting the rules of her society.
"Hana" offers a few new insights into Lena's story, but I was disappointed that I didn't get more of a feel for Hana's personality. Or, I suppose, I was just disappointed by the facets of Hana's personality that were revealed -- she shrinks as a character, retarding her growth into passive conformity. It is a decent read, but probably not worth the $2.99 I paid for it.