Monday, 16 April 2012

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

I have been occasionally writing reviews for a while now. Before I only published them on Goodreads. Now I have a back catalogue of reviews which I will gradually be posting on the blog. Here is the first.

Title: Delirium (Delirium #1)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Hodder
Pages: 393
Release Date: 4th August 2011
Read in: February 2012

Goodreads -
Lena Haloway is content in her safe, government-managed society. She feels (mostly) relaxed about the future in which her husband and career will be decided, and looks forward to turning 18, when she’ll be cured of deliria, a.k.a. love. She tries not to think about her mother’s suicide (her last words to Lena were a forbidden “I love you”) or the supposed “Invalid” community made up of the uncured just beyond her Portland, Maine, border. There’s no real point—she believes her government knows how to best protect its people, and should do so at any cost. But 95 days before her cure, Lena meets Alex, a confident and mysterious young man who makes her heart flutter and her skin turn red-hot. As their romance blossoms, Lena begins to doubt the intentions of those in power, and fears that her world will turn gray should she submit to the procedure.

Had a feeling I was going to enjoy this one after reading the first few chapters.

““I just want to be normal, like everyone else.”
“Are you sure that being like everyone else will make you happy?” The barest whisper; his breath on my ear and neck, his mouth grazing my skin. And then I think I might really have died. Maybe the dog bit me and I got clubbed on the head and this is all just a dream – the rest of the world has dissolved. Only him. Only me. Only us. “I don’t know any other way.” I can’t feel my mouth open, don’t feel the words come, but there they are, floating on the dark. He says, “Let me show you.” And then we’re kissing. “

Love has been classified as a disease and a cure has been found. Every member of society must take the cure upon turning eighteen. Then they are partnered up with a subtitle match and most of their life is decided for them. A life without love.

They found a cure for love but not a cure for cancer. Hmm. Weird priorities in my opinion.

Sometimes I expected the society members to be more robotic. But not all their emotions are removed; just love. However love affects so many of our actions; love of music and poetry, and laughter with other people for example. This made them feel like brainwashed robots even if they were expressing a form of emotion. Which made it slightly creepier.

The rules of the society was not told to us all in one go. We learnt new things as we read. This is a device I love about dystopias. It entices me read more. I hope we discover so much more in the sequels.

When I originally thought about love in this kind of setting, I automatically thought of the lack of romance between couples. However a lack of love affected more than that. It also removes the fundamental bond between family members. At first, Lena’s family seemed like any somewhat functional family. However the gaps soon begin to show and it’s slightly nerving to read. Family members don’t express their love for each other plainly all the time but it always underlies most things that individuals do for each other.

This meant that, even though Alex and Lena’s romance seemed ordinary, put into context it was so sweet.

Most dystopias are first and foremost about the action that is occurring and the romance is a secondary part of the plot. In Delirium the romance was very much the focus. The reason for that being, of course, the dystopia society in which the book is set.

Alex starts off as a mystery. It was so easily to fall for him as Lena did. Although he hasn’t really shown only distinguishing characteristics to set him apart from other fictitious guys, he is still loveable.

Lena was your typical dystopian heroine. She develops the bravery needed to stand and fight the system as she uncovers the lies. Although, to be honest, Lena on her own wasn’t as strong as some other heroines; she is part of a pair. When she and Alex are together – ooh I love them. I love the rebellious forbidden romance. They are so cute together.

One negative is that it got a little slow in the middle. There is just enough action for me to enjoy it but I hope for a little more in the sequel.

Yes the ending is horrible. But I think that is well known by now.

Overall I loved Delirium especially the Romance and the uniqueness of the society.


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