Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that one 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 Holway 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.
I. Am. Not. Worthy. There is no way I could ever do this book justice in my review and I bow down and kiss the feet of the genius that is Lauren Oliver! I count Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver's debut novel, as one of my top 5 of all time. At the back of the book was a passage from her second novel, Delirium, and as I read it I fell in love all over again. Then I found out it would be a whole 7 months until I could get my hands on it! Man, was it along 7 months but it was so worth it! The concept in itself is just so original. Lauren Oliver's writing is just so beautiful and dreamy and GAH..She could re-write the phonebook and I would lap it up.
I loved the characters and in particular, I liked how much Lena grew as a person over the course of the book. What she wanted and her hopes for the future at the start couldn't have been more different than what they were at the end. When we meet Lena she followed the rules and not only did she accept that when she turned 18 she would never feel love or passion again, she looked forward to it! She counted down the days to her operation like a teenager girl in our world would to their prom. Then she met Alex. Alex is pretty much everything that Lena has been taught to fear and he makes her question if a life 'cured' of love is really as perfect as it seems. I love love love Alex! He was sweet and passionate and you could tell he really cared for Lena. I thought the way Alex first saw her and why he was drawn to her and what he left for her was adorable. He's definitely a rebel with a cause but he's not all brooding doom-and-gloom serious all the time like some love interests are in a lot of YA books. It makes a nice change because he is cheeky and charming. Here's a quote from Lena that I think sums Alex up nicely: "I've never seen anyone maintain a smile for so long. It's like his face is naturally molded that way." And he recites forbidden poetry to boot! Alex is definitely a ray of sunshine in this book (and Lena's life) and probably the reason I loved it so much!
The world Lauren Oliver creates feels so real and desperately sad. A world where love is considered a disease is unthinkable. I guess life would be a lot simpler, but it wouldn't be so beautiful either. The members of Lena's family who have gone through the procedure are very cold and the way that the relationship between Lena and her sister has changed is heartbreaking to read. Her silent cousin Grace is also a character I adored.
Another thing I love is the way the chapters start with a quote from the Book of Shhh (The Safety, Health and Happiness Handbook) or a childrens nursery rhyme. It gives us a look at how they have been brought up and manipulated to believe that love or amor deliria nervosa is a dangerous disease that should be feared. I particularly thought it was a nice touch to have Romeo and Juliet presented to them as a cautionary tale.
The ending was just CRUEL. I have to know what happens next!! I honestly don't know what's going to happen between Lena and Alex because it's such a heartbreaking situation and I am so super excited (and terrified) to see how their relationship is going to work or not (gulp!).
If you haven't got a copy yet- WHY NOT?- run to the bookshop pronto! Beg, borrow, steal if you have to (just kidding!). Seriously though, it is such a delight and experience to read Delirium and now begins the pain-staking wait for Pandemonium to come out!