Sunday, September 21, 2014

ARC Review: Rooms - Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver
Series: N/A
Genre: Paranormal, Adult
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Elaborately Constructed
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Let me start off this review by saying two things: 1) I've never read a Lauren Oliver book before this and 2) I'm not a huge fan of the paranormal genre in general.

However, 1) WOW, how have I not read a Lauren Oliver book before, and 2) This was probably one of the best paranormal books I've ever read.

That being said, this book centers around a house in which several ghosts live, as well as the live inhabitants of the home. The book goes from room to room of the house, constructing a story through the various backgrounds of the characters and tales told for each room. The real reason I adored this book as much as I did was the writing style, as well as how Oliver constructed our characters. Every character, ghost or living, was provided with an elaborate amount of detail (but not so much that it bored me to death).

That being said, I did think Oliver tried a little hard to make this a clear cut adult fiction novel -- I haven't read any of her YA stuff before, but I'm going to go ahead and assume it doesn't mention sex or drinking in just about every chapter of the book. I thought those inclusions were a little forced as times, like Minna with sex or Caroline with drinking.

I also thought this book was less "real" paranormal than it was just an adult fiction novel which happened to have some ghosts in it. The ghosts were treated almost like living characters (other than some of their inability to communicate without the house to the living inhabitants), and it wasn't a spooky tale or anything that even vaguely resembled what in my mind, is a real scary ghost story. For me, that worked out, because I, like I said, am not a big paranormal person. If you are into scary/gory detail of ghosts, this might not be the paranormal book for you.

Can we just take a minute to talk about Oliver's poetic writing and clever wit -- she manages to write both a funny, engaging read, while also include fascinating prose tidbits that I cannot get over. Honestly, the plot in this book was nothing overly special (I wouldn't fall all over myself to read a similar plot by another author), but I really did like this book a lot because of the way the story was told and how the "realm" of the story was constructed.

I absolutely want to read more Lauren Oliver books in the future, perhaps with less obviously adult inclusions and maybe a little more engaging of a plot. Oliver is clearly a great writer and provides an interesting and well written approach to the paranormal genre.

- Amrutha

What are your favorite characteristics of the paranormal genre?
Let us know in the comments!

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