Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Title: Panic
Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

Goodreads rating: 3.70 out of 5.00 (660+ ratings)
Goodreads | The Reading Room

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.
Review by Nara

If you go into this book expecting something like Delirium, I'm afraid you're probably going to be disappointed in one aspect of the book or another. Going from Delirium to Panic, Oliver makes the transition from dystopian to contemporary as well as series to standalone, and as a result I feel that there's quite a different writing style and tone to this book compared to Delirium. I guess that also stems from the fact that this book is based on fear rather than love. (By the way, for some reason a lot of people seem to have shelved Panic as a dystopian on GR, but I'm pretty sure that it's a contemporary. Maybe those people haven't actually read the book and assume that it's a dystopian because Delirium was a dystopian. Seriously though, look at the blurb. IT CLEARLY ISN'T A DYSTOPIAN, PEOPLE.)

Contrary to what it looks like in the blurb, rather than two main characters, there's more so four overall. Only Heather and Dodge actually get points of view, but there are two other characters, Natalie and Bishop, who are just as important to the story. And while it also seems like Heather and Dodge are the main couple, very early on in the book, it becomes obvious that the pairings are actually Heather x Bishop and Natalie x Dodge. Some comments about these ships:
Natalie x Dodge
Natalie was probably my least favourite protagonist. There was just something inherently unlikeable about her character (for me). She was shallow and temperamental and -_- Dodge, also, wasn't a particularly solid character. Basically, his motives for entering Panic centre around revenge, and I feel like his character is almost just defined by this revenge. Accordingly, the romance between Natalie and Dodge wasn't too interesting for me. I mean, the romance itself wasn't badly done; I just didn't care enough about the two characters to really enjoy it.

Bishop x Heather
Probably the only person of the four who I actually really liked was Bishop. Initially, at least. Later on in the book there's a somewhat predictable curveball which sort of twisted his character a bit, but when you learn the motivations behind his choices, I suppose they're acceptable. Heather was also not a bad character, and the majority of the book is focused on her journey to face her fears. Seriously, these two had the sweetest relationship- with a very natural evolution from best friends to more-than-friends. I didn't even need to ship these two; the ship sailed itself.

In terms of the actual game of Panic, I did have some issues about the background of the game. Mostly the fact that a lot of things seemed to go unexplained, particularly about the judges. In the game, there are some people who are chosen to moderate the events and arrange the challenges. Who chooses these people? How are they chosen? How are they paid? Where does the prize money come from?? SO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS. The actual games, however, were pretty good. Enough action and mystery and thrills to keep me reading on.

Overall, ignoring the unanswered questions, Panic was quite a realistic contemporary, and I'd recommend it to people who like their mysteries with a touch of romance and action.

Liked it

Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3/5