Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Review: Delirium

Title: Delirium (Delirium #1)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 1st, 2011
Genre: YA, Dystopia

Lena cannot wait until she turns eighteen so that she can receive the cure for deliria. In Lena’s world, deliria, or love, is a life threatening disease. It was deliria that killed her mother when she was a child, and Lena fears that the same disease runs through her blood as well. When American citizens turn eighteen, it is safe for them to receive the procedure that protects them from the disease. This makes them safe and content and prevents them from ever being unhappy. As her high school graduation approaches, Lena has to prepare for the evaluation that will determine who she will marry. Things begin to change when Lena meets Alex. Lena has always been average and an in-between person, but Alex makes her feel extraordinary. As she spends more time with him and begins breaking rules, she gradually starts to see the lies that her society has been telling her. As the day of her procedure draws closer, Lena will have to choose between living a safe life without ever being happy or unhappy, or risking everything for love.

I’d wanted to read Delirium for a while and finally bought it just because I found a signed copy at my bookstore. Before reading it, I didn’t like the overall concept. It seemed a bit ridiculous to me, but I love a good dystopian read and thought I’d give it a shot. I read it on vacation a few weeks ago and loved it! Not long after I started, I found myself completely absorbed in this book. I thought that Oliver’s writing was beautiful; there are so many wonderful quotes from this book. Some of the themes presented in Delirium actually reminded me a bit of The Giver by Louis Lowry. Both books are partially based on the idea that no one is able to be truly happy if they’re never unhappy. Also, in The Giver Jonah’s family have never felt love and don’t understand the concept. Delirium goes more in depth to some of these ideas and looks at them in a different way. Lauren Oliver did a very good job creating a society where love is seen as a sickness. I’m really interested in how love came to be known as a disease and hopefully that will be explained in the sequel. Although at first I thought that Delirium was based on a bizarre concept, I was quickly convinced otherwise by Oliver’s loveless dystopian world. Despite my scepticism, this book pulled me in and made me think.

Since this book is about love, romance played a huge role in Delirium. I liked Alex and Lena’s relationship, although I felt that they fell in love too quickly (which is often the case in novels, to me.) While reading Delirium, I felt that Lena didn’t have much personality and was a bit flat. However, while writing this review I realized that the restrictive society that Lena grew up in encouraged people to be sort of personality-less. To me, a flat character seems fairly realistic in this case. As the novel begins, Lena blindly believes that the government’s laws are for the better good. It was interesting to see her evolve throughout the novel and slowly start to see her society for what it was. I loved Hana and how she contrasted with Lena. I liked how she represented the teens that rebelled against society, but were still content with their lives and not willing to see it change. I especially liked Hana and Lena’s friendship and how they knew that nothing would be the same after their procedures. I loved how Oliver showed different kinds of love, not just romantic, and how all types of love are removed by the surgery. The procedure changes how you feel about your children, your friends, your family and even your hobbies. In this brilliantly crafted story, Oliver shows us a heartbreaking loveless world, where a mother is considered a freak for showing her children affection.

I think that my joy in finding out that there is going to be a sequel basically sums up how I feel about Delirium. A great dystopian romance, I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone.


"Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That’s what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side.”

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