Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Genre: YA dystopia
Pages: 441 (hardcover)
Published: February 2011 by Harper Teen
Recommended for: fans of dystopian romance

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

My Take:

The premise of Delirium kind of had me worried at first-- I mean, I love dystopia, and there was so much buzz surrounding this book.  But the idea of a futuristic society where love is treated as a disease and they literally have it down in the textbooks in Latin as amor deliria nervosa with symptoms like 'scattered thinking' and 'sweaty palms' listed seemed a little cheesy at first, even if there was supposed to be a great love story involved.  But I ended up loving the execution of the story, the beauty flowing descriptiveness of Lauren Oliver's writing, the subplots, everything.

Lena isn't my favorite heroine ever, mostly because she doesn't really stand out to me among other dystopia protagonists.  But the other characters: Alex, her mother, and especially her best friend Hana are all fantastic.  They're strong and passionate and caring in a world where passion and love are seen as terrible disease.  The story of Lena's mother, a rebellious woman who vanished from her life long ago and was considered 'uncurable' and a problem subject by the doctors who administer the cure for love at age 18, is what really sold me on the book.  Alex is amazing-- he's rebellious and fun-loving and genuinely cares for Lena, and felt so much more real than many love interests in YA books I read.  So much that I came close to having a little panic attack for his safety while reading the last few pages when everything boils down to a suspenseful (and very cruel, Lauren Oliver!) cliffhanger of an ending.

There are quotes at the beginning of every chapter, which I always love because one of the first books I ever loved to death, Inkheart, had quotes as well.  These quotes arent from actual books, but bits of poetry and lore and song taken from the futuristic world of Delirium and a sort of well-being book for their world called "The Book of Shh".  Some of these excerpts and songs are so beautiful and entrancing, I was almost surprised they weren't already written down somewhere and they didn't seem fabricated at all.  Some aspects of the futuristic Portland where Lena lives were harsh and somewhat bleak-- the interviews and committee which decide the fates of teenagers graduating high school were particularly disturbing, and put me in mind of  The Giver, another dystopian book which I liked considerably less than this one.

The romance was sweet and I liked reading Alex and Lena's conversations and what-not, even though the story itself occasionally seemed to drag.  But here's the thought I keep having, the whole time I was reading: Why is Lena the MC of this book?  She's alright: she's nice, ordinary, a little bit of a sheep in the beginning, though she likes Romeo and Juliet in a world where even that most innocent and beautiful of love stories is all but banned.  But why is Lena the main character, when we have her best friend Hana, who's so strong and bright and passionate and vibrant?  I could so seeing Hana being the girl who sneaks out to a party and meets this boy from the outskirts of society and falls deeply in love with him, and refuses to let go of her love and surrender to the cure even when everything and everyone she's ever known depends on her staying within the confines of this love-less society.  Lena and Alex had good chemistry, but I can't help but think Hana and Alex would have been better-- they're both rebels, fun-loving and generally outgoing.

Despite my initial doubts about the premise, I ended up coming down with a raging case of amor deliria nervosa for this book.  Delirium is beautiful and bittersweet and occasionally sad, it's lyrical and pretty much fantastic... And it reminded me of a song. I've never posted a song with a review before, nor have I really seen it done- but here it goes.  The song is Resistance by Muse.  Let me know if this is a weird idea in a good way, or if you think it's an epic fail! 

Muse - Resistance .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Cover: 4/5
Premise: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5


Lucia (iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books) said...

I loved this book so much. :) Lauren Oliver is a really good writer. And yes, that cliffhanger!!! Ahhh, I almost died.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I still need to read this one, but it sounds very interesting. I'm glad you liked it for the most part. I suppose the MC might be because she IS so different from Alex. Who knows? LOL I like the song you picked. I do this every now and then, but I haven't had one in awhile. I like finding songs that fit books.

-Let's Get Beyond Tolerance

Valen Steel said...

I was completely sucked in by this book. On my blog I think I gave it a 4 point something out of 5, but after a few days I really felt it deserved much more. This book was beautiful and entrancing and, frankly, scary. The idea that mankind can become so twisted to think that love is a disease, is really terrifying and seems, quite possible, especially with the way Oliver wrote this book. And yeah, the little quotes at the begining of each chapter were so real and beautiful, that I kept looking them up online to see if they were actually real, but they weren't, ;^)~. Oliver is a great writer. Can not wait for Pandemonium and Requiem!!! And Muse + Oliver = Awesome!!

Kat said...

@Valen-- Ooh, I hadn't even looked up the sequels yet, and had no idea she'd already settled on (such intriguing) titles. I agree, the world of this book was scary... entrancing in the way a car wreck is, I guess. lol

@Shooting Stars Mag-- Glad you liked the song! I was kind of uncertain adding it to the review, 'cause I'd never done that before. It's true that Alex and Lena were great contrasts to each other-- foils, I guess. :)

Nic @ Irresistible Reads said...

I agree that cliffhanger ending was evil. I felt the same way about this book as you. Also I love that Muse song you have picked. Suits this book perfectly :)

Maria Behar said...

I have yet to read this book, but I do have it already. It's supposed to be terrific, according to several blogs where it's been featured. Now, having read your review, I still want to read it, although I will definitely keep an eye out for the things you've mentioned that you weren't quite happy with.

As for the idea of including a song with your review, one that you feel fits the feel of the book, I think it's a BRILLIANT one! I've never seen this on any blog, either, so you might very well be setting a fab new trend, girl! Since I haven't read the book, I can only say that the song does seem to go with the title, since it sounds 'delirious'. Lol.

Anyway, thanks for a very informative review! We can compare notes when I've read the book. OMG, and I have SO many in my TBR pile....(just visit me on Goodreads, and you'll see!)

Maria @ http://twilightandotherdreams.blogspot.com/

Read for your future! said...

I have been considering this book lately. Now that i listened to the song and it is stuck in my mind its time to read it.

Kat said...

@Lora-- The song gets stuck in my head, too! :)

@Maria-- Your TBR pile is even worse (or better, depending on your perspective ;) than mine, lol! Glad you liked the song-and-a-review thing-- I think it's a good idea, but it's hard to find a song for every book. :)

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