After the rather disappointing ending to Requiem, I was relieved to stumble across the set of novellas associated with the series, hoping they would provide further closure. While this was not the case with Annabel
, I was glad I took the time to read it. Annabel
provides further insight into the character of Lena's mother, particularly during her imprisonment in the Crypts. The heart-wrenching tale of her time there served as an eye opener as to how much she truly suffered, hanging onto every small shred of hope she could find. In the series itself, Annabel is overlooked, appearing for only a brief period of time in Requiem
; this novella, however, provides a great deal of insight into the suffering she endured, unbeknown to the other characters. She was portrayed as strong and independent, refusing to give up, even in the face of adversity. It was evident that her strength and determination had been passed on to Lena.
Similar to Pandemonium, Annabel
is divided into "then" and "now". While I'm not a huge fan of that structure and didn't enjoy it in Pandemonium,
I didn't mind it here, surprisingly. The distinction in time portrayed how Annabel had changed and grown as a character, leaving behind her old self in search of a new beginning. Her magnified character growth made her more believable and memorable to readers. Additionally, hearing the story through the perspective of Lena's mother was a refreshing change, especially after reading three entire novels that we're told almost exclusively from Lena's point of view. Annabel was a much more pitiful character; she was wide beyond her years and her voice conveyed the suffering she was forced to overcome. This vulnerable tone is absent from Lena's narration, which is much more rigid and matter-of-fact. Annabel
ended much too quickly, of course. In retrospect, I wish I had read the novellas in the order that they appear in the series. It's a bit late for that, though, but I was glad I decided to give them a try regardless. Requiem was a big discouraging, so I was preparing myself for the worst, but Annabel
thankfully exceeded my expectations. And now I think it's time to start the next novella, Hana.