67 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Well Written Dystopian Book
*reviewed my MM's (Katie) -
Warning: while reading this book you may experience severe reactions to amor deliria nervosa, also known as falling in love, something that's "cured" aka banned in Delirium's society. Side effects may include sleepless nights while reading Delirium, the inability to concentrate on anything else but reading this book, nervousness over...
Published on February 4, 2011 by Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids ...
515 of 599 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
Most reviewers have mentioned Lauren Oliver's beautiful writing, and it really is beautiful. She writes like seasoned pro. I read her sentences and thought that here is a woman who was truly born to write.
But, as beautifully constructed the sentences may have been, they added up to a story that just didn't do it for me. I personally gravitate more toward the...
Published on February 1, 2011 by small review
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515 of 599 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me,
Most reviewers have mentioned Lauren Oliver's beautiful writing, and it really is beautiful. She writes like seasoned pro. I read her sentences and thought that here is a woman who was truly born to write.
But, as beautifully constructed the sentences may have been, they added up to a story that just didn't do it for me. I personally gravitate more toward the faster-paced books. I like to be grabbed by a story immediately. Delirium is definitely not a fast-paced book. At over four hundred pages and only the introductory part of a projected trilogy, the pacing of this story is, perhaps expectedly, sloooow. I felt every one of those 400+ pages.
The entire story follows Lena as she very gradually comes to terms with the realities of her dystopian world. This is to be expected. It is the first book in a dystopian trilogy, so naturally the first book is the "awakening" part of the story. It may just be me, but I often find these books boring. I want to get to the action! I want to see the main character fight against the dystopian society. I don't want to spend an entire book watching them hesitate back and forth between the-world-is-good/the-world-is-bad when I the reader already know the world is definitely bad (hey, it's a dystopian!).
Especially when they do this over the course of 400+ pages. Despite the fact that the writing is beautiful to read, I felt like screaming at Lena to figure it out already. There wasn't any question that Lena would eventually turn against her society (she has to; there would be nothing to write in the rest of the trilogy if she just went along with things), so it was especially frustrating to spend so much time reading about her indecision. I also had a hard time liking and connecting with Lena as a result of this.
While there were a few truly shocking and notable scenes (particularly the spectacular ending!), by the end of the book, we know very little that we didn't already know from the jacket description. I just don't think that should be the case in such a lengthy book. To me, that indicates that the book could have been shortened considerably, and I think I would have enjoyed this book more if that had been the case.
My other quibble is that as a dystopian, this one didn't hold up for me. I've been around the block when it comes to dystopians, and unfortunately Delirium just didn't have what it takes to meet my criteria for an impressive dystopian. What makes the great dystopians (1984, The Lord of the Flies, Brave New World, Utopia, etc) so poignant is that they don't just imagine a horrible society that is possible, but they connect it to what is happening right now. The propaganda, government surveillance, and silencing of dissent found in 1984 weren't just terrifying because they could happen. They were terrifying because they were already happening and they were well within human nature to happen as he wrote.
1984 simply took what already was and expanded it by giving it new technological outlets and imagining how what is currently happening could evolve if given just a slight nudge and just a tiny bit more time. Those connections were drawn with startling clarity. The reader could see the progression exactly and that progression was not only clear, but also completely believable. You're left with warnings of not only what to keep an eye out for in the future, but what you should be looking for going on around you right now. This is what makes a dystopian so scary and effective.
I found this feature lacking in Delirium. I didn't feel like I really understood how the society went from where we are now to where things were in Lena's world. No connections were really drawn to what is happening now, so I felt very disconnected from the world Oliver created. I also can't imagine an entire society of people willingly undergoing brain surgery to become, effectively, lobotomized just so they no longer feel love. Why would someone do that? I wouldn't do that. Would you do that?
I could understand something like the premise of the movie The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where people would willingly give up select painful memories, but to deny oneself the entire possibility and experience of love? Forever? It sounds like this was a government-speared progression, but I don't understand why the government would want this. What are they gaining? Why did they go about gaining whatever it is they wanted in this manner? I could probably think up some possible reasons on my own, but the problem is that Lauren Oliver didn't provide any.
I just have a very difficult time understanding why and how a society would choose to develop in that direction and Oliver's explanations were not adequate enough for me in this regard. Giving the benefit of the doubt, this may be explained further in the second and third books as Lena discovers more about her world. This would be helpful, but for me it would be a little too late. It makes sense that she would discover more truths as time went on, but I would have benefited from more of a foundation earlier on so I could better envision the world.
Finally, I did not connect with the characters or the romance between Lena and Alex. I understood it, and it was, thankfully, not the immediate love-at-first-sight type of romance. But I was never captivated by it. I didn't care if they kissed, I wasn't pulling for their relationship to succeed, and I just never felt that squee-inducing something. I can't put my finger on why. Maybe it was because I was frustrated with Lena. Maybe it was because, while he was nice, Alex wasn't someone who captured my interest. He didn't make me swoon.
Overall, I liked this book well enough, but it didn't capture me and I may not read the sequels. I've seen so many positively glowing reviews for this book, so it seems I am definitely in the minority. In fact, I think I've only read one or two four star reviews and nothing lower than that. I'd say if you think the premise sounds appealing to you and you don't mind a slower-paced book then give this one a try.Otherwise, if you're like me, you may find this book a little tedious with too much investment of time and not enough payout.
I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my review.
67 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Well Written Dystopian Book,
*reviewed my MM's (Katie) -
Warning: while reading this book you may experience severe reactions to amor deliria nervosa, also known as falling in love, something that's "cured" aka banned in Delirium's society. Side effects may include sleepless nights while reading Delirium, the inability to concentrate on anything else but reading this book, nervousness over what's going to happen to Lena & Alex, having your heart ripped out, sighing, finding yourself sitting on the edge of your seat, kissing your book, running out to pre-order PANDEMONIUM, petting the new beautiful cover, telling all your friends to go pick up this book, and of course falling helplessly in love with the brilliant, and breathtakingly beautiful writing of Lauren Oliver.
Can you imagine living in a society where LOVE is a disease?! I seriously loved the way Lauren created a fascinating society that "cures" love. Yes it may seem hilarious, but when you read DELIRIUM it totally makes sense. Lauren's writing is just awesome! It's richly detailed, it's poetic, captivating and I love that she really makes me think. Lauren is truly a gifted writer and I swear she could write a story about the most outlandish thing and make it credible. Here's a taste of Lauren's beautiful prose, which is also one of my favorite quotes from DELIRIUM:
Sometimes I feel like if you just watch things, just sit still and let the world exist in front of you- sometimes I swear that just for a second time freezes and the world pauses in it's tilt. Just for a second. And if you somehow found a way to live in that second, then you would live forever. - pg 153
This is one of the many reasons why I adored Lena, the story's main protagonist. She's insightful and I admired the way she fights to believe in something she's grown up being taught vs something that's right in front of her face telling her otherwise. I love a character who has a quest for finding the truth, no matter how heartbreaking that truth can be and how much they'll have to sacrifice in order to get it. Alex is a character I immediately loved. He challenges everything that Lena has been taught. I love the way in which he makes her think and helps her open her eyes to the truth around her. I of course loved the way their relationship developed over the course of the book.
I'm surprised at how much I loved this book considering there isn't a lot of action, there's no paranormal characters and the characters aren't as in-depth as I usually like them. What a beautiful change of pace this book is for me! This is a book that completely snuck up on me and swept me off my feet with it's beautiful writing style, romantic story line, and it's well developed characters. Oh Lauren Oliver the things you did to my heart in this book..... Luckily my heart won't be ripped out for long as I'm off to drown my broken heart in PANDEMONIUM. Seriously, if you haven't already go PICK UP DELIRIUM! You'll enjoy every moment experiencing the side effects of amor deliria nervosa while reading Lena's story. There is very mild language in this book.
** Reviewed by Sophie for Mundie Moms-
Love. Stories, poems, films, songs have been created in an attempt to explain the concept. But imagine growing up in the United States where love didn't exist. I saw you blink slowly as you read that last sentence. What if there was a cure for love? I know what you're thinking -- no thanks, I don't want it. But what if the government made you take it when you turned eighteen? There would be less divorce, less violence, less reliance upon pharmaceuticals, less addiction. You get the idea.
Lauren creates such a world and introduces us to her protagonist, Lena, who is just a few months from taking the cure. In these last weeks, she thinks a lot about what life will be like for her after the cure. All around her, we see the effects of cured family members and friends. They're happy with their lives and go on with their daily activities with a predicatble rhythm. But is this what Lena wants? As Lena and her best friend, Hana, begin to question some of the government teachings and rules, the reader discovers how far the government has gone to eradicate the concept, feeling and existence of love.
I have to admit to sitting back and admiring the absolute plausibility of such a concept. The excerpts of government approved literature at the start of each chapter set the tone for what Lena and Hana have learned all of their lives. As a reader, you can't help feeling sympathetic for them. This level of propoganda is all they know. It is their truth. And then the reality of the horror unfolds as you find out what happens to those who do fall in love and are caught.
I'm a huge fan of well-written dystopian stories and Lauren has penned one that rings true and shakes our most sacred belief system. To top it off, her prose is so lyrical, at times, that yes, I paused to text KatieB and even call her to read a few sentences out loud. I am thrilled that this will be a trilogy and that the movie rights have been optioned.
If you enjoy a love story where love is truly forbidden, pick up DELIRIUM on February 1st. You will realize that a unifying, maddening and unpredictable concept like love will remain even when threatened. It'll be that loose thread in a tightly woven fabric and the temptation to pull it will be overwhelming. So what would happen if you did fall in love in such a society? I know, I'm still thinking about it.
A quick aside for those Mundie Moms who will ask me -- but is there romance? I will confess that there is a multiple-page Kissy Scene that I may have read more than once. And there is...Alex. Mundie Moms, trust me, you will want to meet him.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delirium,
My Thoughts: Honestly, I didn't think anything Oliver could write could outshine Before I Fall. I really loved Before I Fall. But I loved Delirium way more. When I first read the description I knew I had to read it. I am a hopeless romantic so the concept seemed so intriguing. I had to learn more about Oliver's world of no love. Would heartbreak end from love? Or would it just enforce more heartbreak? How can you truly be happy if love is out of the question?
We are introduced to Lena who lives in a society where love (delirium nervosa) is frowned upon. At the age of 18, everyone undergoes a procedure to take away all emotions leading to love. Lena is 17 so her time is coming. She just wants to get it over with, she wants to be cured. It's all she has ever known and going against the government would result in dire consequences. But Lena agrees for the most part, she just wants to get it over with so she does not end up like her mother. We are introduced to all of the side characters. We meet Lena's family; the only family she has left after her mother, whom was claimed by delirium nervosa which led up to her death. We meet Lena's best friend Hanna. I really liked her best friend. She reminded me a lot of the girls I hung out with during my teens. The relationship between them was beautiful, they were there for each other like best friends should be. We are than introduced to Alex, who tells Lena he's already been cured so its safe to hang out with him. Of course Lena starts to have feelings for Alex. I loved Alex. At first glance, at first wink, I adored his character. He was sincere, sweet, and he was an all around good guy despite the rumors about those who were outsiders.
The relationship between Alex and Lena was beautiful. Beautiful I tell you! Nothing could compare to the way they treated each other. When Lena is caught holding hands with another guy (the guy she is to be married to after the cure) instead of getting possessive Alex goes and tries to do a good thing for Lena. He was unselfish and thoughtful. Alex and Lena decide that they must take the next step to be together and even though it is very risky, they love each other so they know they can not exist in this society and must find a way out.
I read Delirium right after Matched by Allie Condie and even though they were both set in a somewhat dystopian world, I liked Delirium more than Matched. Matched felt more dystopian while Delirium felt more worldly, even though the laws existed. I started Delirium and I didn't stop once even though it was 450ish pages. Delirium was marvelous and Oliver sure has an imagination! Be prepared to cry and have the tissues handy. Delirium is a epic love story full of emotion and how one choice (to be in love or not to be) could effect the rest of your life.
Overall: Loved it! A must read for 2011. Get your wallets ready and rush out and buy this one right now!
Cover: It's neat. It's somewhat plain but really neat.
What I'd Give It: 5/5 Cupcakes
Taken from Princess Bookie (blog)
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Promising Start to a Good Series,
Let's face it: each and every one of us has fallen hard and stupid for someone, right? So much so that it might feel like we're not even the same person anymore; we're distracted, our appetites may or may not be affected, and we can think of little else than said person. What if we could have a relationship that skips all of those unpleasant side effects? What if there were a procedure that we could undergo that would take away all the pain that this disease called "love" causes?
Welcome to Lena's world. At the age of 18, all members of society go through a procedure that makes them incapable of feeling love. They go through an Evaluation that will determine who is their best match, and then when the time comes, their ability to feel love is completely removed. Lena fully embraces the way her society functions because she is something of a black sheep; her mother committed suicide because she was diseased. The only way for Lena to fully become accepted in her community is to finally have the treatment, and she is counting down the days.
But when Lena meets Alex, she falls hard. She knows she is infected--and she likes it. In order to be with him, she has to lie to her family and hide the symptoms so no one will find out about their love. Alex shows her an entirely new way to think, and Lena begins to question the society she has always trusted.
I'd been hearing wonderful things about Lauren Oliver, and over the last few days completely got lost in Delirium. The premise was fascinating to me--kind of a mix of Ally Condie's Matched, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale (Everyman's Library), and of course Romeo and Juliet (Modern Library Classics). There wasn't as much world building as I would have liked, though. We get little glimpses of how the collective society thinks at the beginning of each chapter with an excerpt from rewritten Bible stories, text books, or government websites. Lena herself doesn't provide very much information on how the government came to the decision that love is a disease and should be eliminated. I'm hoping that we'll learn more about what brought this about in the next book.
I would have also liked to see more of the Invalids and how they survive in the Wilds. When Lena visits the Wilds, we only get a limited view of it. There has to be more to it than just what we were shown, and I really want more of this. Is there a resistance leader in the Wilds? Someone who is organizing a great rebellion?
Delirium is definitely a good read; while I'm waiting for the sequel(s) I plan to read Before I Fall.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite and Stunning - This Is What Love Is,
This is possibly one of the most difficult reviews I've ever written because, like many other people, I have been infected with amor deliria nervosa. Meaning: I loved this book.
Delirium was an exquisite read. Lena's life, her world, is one of control and awareness. Her mother committed suicide when she was younger because she was afflicted with amor deliria nervosa - Lena vows to never be like that. She fears the procedure that will change her life forever, but she also welcomes it, wanting the normalcy that it will provide. Upon meeting Alex, a cured boy, things begin to change and Lena starts to see her world for what it really is.
Lauren Oliver has crafted this dystopian world that, on the surface, does not appear harsh or cruel or bad. But underneath, below the blank faces and the shiny atmosphere, is a world where people are losing their emotions, the feelings cut right out of them. The setting of Portland, Maine is a character all on its own. I felt like I was right there, in Portland, smelling the ocean and feeling the salt on my skin. Oliver's writing is, for lack of a better word, breathtaking. Her characters are so human and filled with the life that the cure takes away.
I was instantly taken with Lena and her desire to hold onto her mother's memory, but also to separate herself from it. She wants to be a good image in her family and knowing that the cure will tear her apart from her best friend Hana, is devastating. In Lena's world, love is a disease and diseases must be inoculated. When Lena begins to have deliria-like feelings for Alex, she begins to see reasons why there are Invalids and people who would rather die than lose themselves to the cure. It is terrifying and tragic and haunting and beautiful all at the same time.
The premise of Delirium is so entirely captivating that I did not want to put the book down and I cannot stop thinking about it. Lena, Alex, Hana, even Gracie all tore into my heart and made me love them. If this is deliria, then I do not want the cure. Lauren Oliver's writing is stunning and the ending, oh, the ending, it killed me. I implore you to buy Delirium, open it the second you get it, and don't stop until you reach the back cover. It's amazing and incredible and this review does not do it justice.
Opening line: It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure. ~ pg. 9
Sometimes I feel like if you just watch things, just sit still and let the world exist in front of you - sometimes I swear that just for a second time freezes and the world pauses in its tilt. Just for a second. And if you somehow found a way to live in that second, then you would live forever. ~ pgs. 110-111
And this one:
As I lie there with the hurt driving through my chest and the sick, anxious feeling churning through me and the desire for Alex so strong inside of me it's like a razor blade edging its way through my organs, shredding me, all I can think is: It will kill me, it will kill me, it will kill me. And I don't care. ~ pg. 166
*This is the e-ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may be subject to change before official publication
27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Such bold disregard for logic!,
This review is from: Delirium: The Special Edition (Delirium Trilogy) (Hardcover)
Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker. Read and reviewed for the H.Y.P.E. Project.
Sixty-four years after love was declared a disease, citizens of the United States are regularly cured as soon as they turn eighteen--sometimes sooner if they are in danger of being infected with amor deliria nervosa. Having seen how the disease affected both her mother and her older sister, Lena is counting down the days until she is cured. About three months before it can happens, something terrible happens: she meets a young man named Alex and falls in love. Her procedure date comes closer and closer, and Lena will be forced to choose between a life devoid of love with her friends and family or a life on the run with the man she loves.
Lena is our typical protagonist devoid of personality, self-esteem (until Alex comes along--that all these heroines have to be validated by men before they can feel worthy angers me), and the ability to realize that Romeo and Juliet is not a love story. If I had a dollar for every book that misinterpreted that play... She says at one point that most people only spend time with her because they have to, and I can't help but think there is a good reason for that. I wouldn't want to hang out with a girl whose thinks (paraphrased) "Thank goodness we don't have free choice or I would have no one because all those pretty girls would have all the boys" either.
This book would have been much more fun if Hana had been the main character instead of flat, dreary Lena. (Yes, I am aware of the Delirium-related novella Hana. No, I am not reading it. I'd rather not chance the ruination of the only character I could stand.)
Hm? There was a plot and forward momentum? The book trudged along so slowly without greater action that I must have missed them. My economics textbook was more interesting three-fourths of the time.
The government is supposed to be constantly watching the people for any signs of sympathizers or dissent, but they are woefully ineffective as antagonists until the plot demands they do something. Lena and Alex should have been caught much earlier than they were. Something else that annoyed me is that there are two main examples of love in the book: the relationship Rachel had before she was cured and the one Alex and Lena have, and the former helped define who Lena is. The problem is that neither relationship demonstrates love. They look more like infatuation with very slight obsessive elements to me.
I've heard much about the beautiful prose Lauren Oliver spins. I saw brief flashes of what people were talking about while reading Delirium, but I was largely unimpressed. I suppose she had to much of it in Before I Fall (which I have not read yet but may read one day) that she was spent by the time she wrote Delirium.
On the bright side, the fake excerpts at the beginning of each chapter made me feel horrified just like they were supposed to. It's not for the reason the book wants me to feel that way, but I'm horrified nonetheless.
I kept the other sections deliberately short so I could expound on how this book is by far the most flagrant in its disregard for logic among the hundreds of books I've read over the years. It is a black hole, sucking in all attempts at logic and destroying them within seconds.
Let's think about economics. Love is not just an emotion; it's an industry. Everything to do with love, from the candy and cards to matchmaking services, pump millions, possibly billions, into economies around the world every year. Suddenly, love gets outlawed. Severe economic damage ensues unless there is something to immediately replace all that lost income. How is the loss of such a large source of income replaced? The United States as portrayed in Delirium has closed its borders, rendering itself entirely self-sufficient and unwilling to import goods from other countries. Yet there is no sign that there is any sort of economic hardship among the people or that there ever was one. Really? All of this would result in a worldwide crisis and possible collapse.
Now we can think about it in terms of how humans love. Just as naturally as we blink and think, human beings love. Removing the ability to love from them and then forcing them to raise children is asking for disaster. The children, raised by parents that don't love them when the children can love, would rebel in large numbers as they aged and the world... To say it kindly, it would not be pretty.
Finally, who decided to outlaw love in the first place? Why? What did they have to gain from removing something so necessary as the ability to love from human beings? We love love. It causes us pain sometimes, but that is the nature of love and we persevere. I can't understand for the life of me how we would get to that point.
To me, the power of a dystopian novel and what truly makes it great is the sense that our society could really fall that far and become the horrid environment the book of choice portrays it as. For all the reasons I just explained and more, Delirium does not have that power. The world appears to exist more to enhance Lena and Alex's story than anything and that is an insult to what dystopian novels are about and why they are written.
Was it worth the hype?
Nope. It wasn't worth a word of it. The writing, the dystopian elements, the characters--I found all of them underwhelming. I wish I could say I knew what my friends were talking about when they praised this novel, but I do not.
Bonus cover section
I am unimpressed with the covers for both the hardcover edition (the blue one with the girl slightly visible within/beneath the text) and the paperback version (clearer picture of girl's face).
101 of 136 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hunger Games it is not,
WARNING: SPOILERS ABOUND IN THE BELOW REVIEW.
Delirium, Delirium, Delirium, let me see, what can I say about you that doesn't involve laments of failed expectations, fits of insurmountable rage, and copious amounts of hair-tearing? Really, you started out wonderfully, with prose that, if not ground breaking, was at least nice and beautiful at times. You had a great character in Hana, who, by FAR, was my favorite in the entire book. You had a decent lead in Lena, who, if not very interesting, seemed to at least hold her own in life.
Well.........on second thought, not really. In the beginning, she panics at the slightest thought of disobedience, which really annoyed me, although I get that you were trying to convey the depth of her unquestioning faith in her society, and contrast that with her eventual change of heart and disillusionment with her faux-utopia. Still. Don't you think the story might have been bucketloads more interesting had Hana been the main character? Imagine the daring escapades! The crackling wit and vibrancy! The ability to be her own person, and not be some dimwitted puppet to be pulled along by the strings of society and Alex and family? Lena made me mad. She was so...pathetic, I guess, is the word I'm looking for. Sure, maybe she had moments of bravery where she took the initiative, but good Lord, those rare moments were always heralded by endless paragraphs about how brave she was to have stepped up to the plate. But anyways, I'm not the author so it's not my call.
I started Delirium, and in the beginning, everything was good. Great, in fact. The writing was great, the story promising, the characters interesting. It keeps going, going, going this way, until we get to that inevitable point where our young heroine meets her One True Love for the first time.
And hey!-still going strong.
Lena meets Alex for the first time in a cow stampede in the middle of her evaluation, and I gotta say, it's unique. And what's even better, she goes home, and she does NOT obsess over ZOMGBBQ-mysterious-hawt-guy!!!11 At this point, in my head, I'm already cackling and fist-pumping and telling myself that yes!- this might well be a kickass story, jaw dropping, ground-breaking, worthy of five stars. But shortly thereafter...she goes for a run with her BFF Hana and meets One True Love again, and bam, like that, the story goes downhill.
For one, it's that insta-love crap again, where is absolutely NO basis for their love, and if there is, it's as flimsy as gauze (I was going to make a crack here about our economy, but naaaah). They meet maybe twice and suddenly they are each other's One Tru Undying Forevar and Evar Eternal Luv(tm), and I'm sitting here raging and screaming WHAT? Because the reason that Alex is smitten with her is because many years ago, he played Stalker McStalkypants and saw her running near a shop where he was working. And according to Alex, who is evidently blind, Lena was just sooooooooo "awake"! And if Lena is awake, then I ask you, what of HANA? They were running together, and Lena, repeatedly, throughout the book, has always said that Hana was so much more vibrant and confident than her, and yet Alex ignores 100000-wattage Hana and goes for Lena? Timid, obedient, boring Lena, who is as "awake" as I am at 3AM in the morning? Bah, humbug.
And then after they discover that they love each other dearly, the story just consists of a lot of waxing poetic about how lovely love is and whatnot, interspersed with paltry bits of action and actual points of interest. When I end up cheering because the heroine gets caught by the baddies, because her plans have been quashed because their love's been found out, well, that's bad. I think I was supposed to have gasped in fear and dismay and said oh noes, right? Because I was supposed to have been invested in their love story. I might be alone in this sentiment, but I was completely sick and tired of the endless smooching by this point, and was gleeful when the regulators locked down their hideout and foiled their plans. Oh, and I was disgruntled when Lena ended up escaping.
There was another problem. This world...was meh. There was no true worldbuilding going on here, as practically required when one writes a dystopia. I could imagine Portland, but that was all. What, exactly, is this world of yours? The other cities? The other people? The other countries? The government? Surely the United States cannot be the only country left standing in your world. And even if it is, who, really, is the oppressor here? One of the greatest problems I had with this book was the lack of villains present. There were only the mooks. The red shirts. The expendable soldiers, the brainless minions. There was never a Big Bad here, and I found fault with this because I like it better when there is a figurehead for evil/bad/wrong around. Where is the Mayor Prentiss of this world? The President Snow? The Voldemort?
I will say this, though. Delirium is very readable. The pages practically flip themselves, despite my nitpickings and issues with the story. Oliver's writing is very accessible, pretty but not overwrought like the classics of old.
Anyways, look, I get that the entire premise of this book is that in this society love has been deemed a horrid disease, and that Lauren Oliver's point was to show us that NO, that's wrong, love is great and powerful and showstopping, but I feel like she could have done it without relying on such worn tropes as instant love and Twilight-esque romance and despicable dependency (I cannot live without you! I shall die if we ever part! etc, etc). Lauren Oliver has a lot of promise, that much is evident, but in my eyes it was wasted here. What could have been an amazing story about love and defiance and free will and humanity was degenerated into a mushy mushy goo goo sop of a love story.
That said, I aim to continue this series for four reasons.
1) Pretty book titles. Delirium, Pandemonium, Requiem. Music to my ears!
2) Pretty book covers.
3) Pretty writing.
4) The stray, fragile chance that Alex might die or that Lena might grow some cojones or that we get to see more of this world (Europe! Asia! Africa!) or that the love story might fall apart and Hana might become the main character.
89 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you liked the world of THE HUNGER GAMES, you'll want to read DELIRIUM,
The hook for DELIRIUM is brilliant. Amor Deliria Nervosa. Every single man, woman, and child lives in fear of contracting this deadly disease. Every aspect of society has been restructured around this idea. The government's authority and control is total including gender segregation, media censorship, and brainwashing indoctrination. Basically the US is under a kind of Sharia Law.
"It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure. Everyone else in my family has had the procedure already. My older sister, Rachel, has been disease-free for nine years now. She's been safe from love for so long, she says she can't even remember its symptoms. I'm scheduled to have my procedure in exactly ninety-five days, on September 3rd. My birthday."- Opening from DELIRIUM
We experience this world through the eyes of seventeen year old Lena. Her fear and nervousness about the procedure are only trumped by her eagerness to be cured before the disease inevitably infects her the way it did her mother. She observes her neighbors home vandalized because they are suspected of being sympathizers to rumored `Invalids' who reject the cure, the detached parents who never bond with their children and appear not to care when their child is hurt right in front of them, the sister who was dragged screaming from a secret boyfriend to the clinic to be `cured' and return later serene and calm with the telltale triangular scar behind her ear.
The most horrifying thing about this society is that no one fights back. Even Lena who witnesses some of the atrocities firsthand has been so indoctrinated by the government that she accepts this is the only way to stay safe. She does not come easily to the other side, and it's that painful, heartbreaking, utterly real journey that has so engrained DELIRIUM into my mind.
This amazing story doesn't end in DELIRIUM. This is the first in a planned trilogy. The ending, while not a true ending, is complete and satisfying in a bittersweet way. Completely unexpected, but in hindsight completely perfect too. If you liked the world of THE HUNGER GAMES, you'll want to read DELIRIUM. Lena starts out as sort of an anti-Katniss, but by the end, she was a true fighter. I loved this book so much I already went out and pre-ordered a copy for my sister. Take my advice and buy two copies from the get-go. You won't be disappointed.
Sexual Content: Kissing. References to sex.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't leave me delirious,
Be forewarned: there will be some spoilers in this review.
There are some books to which I have an almost visceral reaction, The Hunger Games being a good example of this. They pull me in right from the first page, and I feel as if I'm inhabiting the world of the characters. I love it when a book is so real, so richly drawn and textured that it seems like it's living and breathing on its own. Alas, I did not find this book to be that kind of book.
Oliver is a good writer, so I have no quibbles with that. Her prose is often lovely, and I enjoyed her descriptions. One of the problems with this book, though, is that there is a lot of writing, but very little is happening. I'm not opposed to slow books, and I typically enjoy the kind of fiction that is full of a character's reflections and thoughts, so that wasn't my problem. What was my problem is that I felt like there was so little growth, so little change. One moment Lena is very gung ho about the world in which she lives, and the next she isn't. Yes, there is a device that provides her impetus for leaping right over the edge, but I just didn't find it all that believable. I wanted to see some real growth, some serious evolution in Lena's thoughts about her world and how it was run, but I didn't find that.
I was very disappointed in the back story about Lena's mother. Lena has such wonderful, lovely memories of her mother--and that makes her extremely eager to get the "cure"? That just didn't add up for me. I understood that Lena was traumatized by what she witnessed as a child, that she was afraid of what love could do, but I just didn't see how someone who seemed to love and treasure the memory of her mother as Lena did could be so completely on board with what was about to happen to her. I really felt like her experiences as a child should have shaped her thoughts, should have colored the way in which she viewed the relationships between other husbands and wives, other children and parents. Yet, when Lena discovers the truth about what happened to her mother, she's ready to totally renounce the world of which she was previously so accepting? That just didn't make sense to me.
On the whole, Lena is a pretty bland character. She would have been more exciting to me if she had struggled some more over her emotions about her mother. It's disappointing to me that a novel that gets as much press as this one has such a boring female lead. When I think about a character like Katniss, who was infinitely more complex and who was filled with so many conflicting emotions, I can't help but be let down by a character like Lena. And while I do think there is a sensation of awe attached to loving someone so intensely and finding that they love you back, I was just really annoyed with the whole "I'm nothing" and "I'm just plain" attitude that Lena had. Would it be so wrong for there to be a female lead who doesn't constantly think this way?
Lastly, I was very disappointed in the world. The setting turned the book into something more like "Dystopia Lite". It was hard to understand what the government's beef with people loving was because it had no real discernible advantage for the government. This, to me, is a rather large flaw. Good dystopian fiction should always give you a feel for why the government acts as it does. I'm not saying that this needs to be revealed in the first ten pages, but it doesn't take long before the reader can see what the government's aim in 1984 is, nor does it take long to understand the advantage of The Hunger Games to the government of Panem. Instead, this book felt more like an alternate universe, starring a Portland that is, for all intents and purposes, exactly like the Portland we know, only with a slight twist. Maybe this will be further developed in future installments, but I don't know how likely I am to make it that far, given that this book just didn't do all that much to draw me into the story and the world.
So why did I give this book three stars? Well, because it's a solidly decent book--but that's really all it is. I didn't completely hate it, but nor did I feel like I just had to keep reading because I had to know what happened to the characters. It is also obvious to me that Oliver is very talented, but I think this is a genre she would have done best to avoid. It's a genre that doesn't strike me as a very good fit for her particular talents.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I guess I'm the only one...,
As usual, I really wanted to like this one. It was one of the original books on my wishlist. I'd like to say that it was the excitement that made me not like it as much, but I don't know. I just felt so underwhelmed by it. It just didn't grab me like I would have liked.
Lena was a product of her environment. She believed mostly everything she'd heard about Love, that it was disease and it was the root of everything bad. Now, when you turn 18, they basically give you a lobotomy so you won't fall victim to the "disease". They refer to it as being cured. Sounds like it totally sucks, huh?
Lena is OK as a protag. I don't know, I just didn't really connect with her. In the beginning, she is very dedicated to the cause. Of course, she believes that everything they are doing is for their own good. Honestly, she annoyed me (in the beginning!). But then, she freely admitted her faults and that she was scared. I grew to like her more though. I also felt she was a little too descriptive in her thoughts. It seems like everything she talked about had to have something likened to it. I searched, and the word like is used 732 times.
Alex was OK as well. I still had a lot of questions about him and his life. He was a good guy. I can't think of anything else to say about him. Just an average nice guy. He never pushed Lena for more than a ton of kisses.
The book is fairly clean, I say fairly because some of the violence is pretty bad compared to the lightness of the rest of the book. Not too much goes on until the end. You learn a lot about what life is like there. But there isn't a main evil top figure (like President Snow) that you can be mad at.
Oh, and what was up with that ending?? Did not like! Did not like one bit! I kind of felt like a lot of things weren't answered, the ending was so abrupt. I guess I was looking for more triumph. Hmmm, maybe there will be a sequel? I want to know what happened with everyone.
After all this, I do still recommend it. People who love a good love story will enjoy this one. I think a lot of readers will enjoy reading about Lena's emotions as she comes to terms with everything. Futuristic Portland is scary and even though you sometimes get the sense of freedom, there really isn't any. Yep, its scary. I also enjoyed the headings at the beginning of each chapter. Creepy stuff! It really pushes home just how much things have changed.
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Delirium (Delirium Trilogy) by Lauren Oliver (Paperback - February 7, 2012)