Saturday, 19 February 2011

Review: Delirium - Lauren Oliver

Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I won this arc from Jess at Jess hearts books. Thanks Jess!

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 government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway 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.

This is going to be a very difficult review to write and I don't know where to begin. I have some serious mixed emotions about this book - some parts I loved, some parts I hated.

OK I'll start with the one thing I really loved about this book and that is that it is so very beautifully written. There were so many passages that I had to go back and re-read because they were so good, so lyrical and easy to read. This is one of my favourite passages:

"I’ll tell you another secret, this one for your own good. You may think the past has something to tell you. You may think that you should listen, should strain to make out its whispers, should bend over backward, stoop down low to hear its voice breathed up from the ground, from the dead places. You may think there’s something in it for you, something to understand or make sense of. But I know the truth: I know from the nights of Coldness. I know the past will drag you backward and down, have you snatching at whispers of wind and the gibberish of trees rubbing together, trying to decipher some code, trying to piece together what was broken. It’s hopeless. The past is nothing but a weight. It will build inside of you like a stone. Take it from me: If you hear the past speaking to you, feel it tugging at your back and running its fingers up your spine, the best thing to do—the only thing—is run.”

I was amazed at how eloquently she could write Lena's emotions but then twist them back in on themselves as though they could really be part of a disease. I loved the quotes at the beginning of each chapter I liked how they set the stage and created an atmosphere for what was happening in the book.

Now on to the aspects of the book that didn't work for me. I wasn't crazy about the main character Lena. I found her very difficult to relate to which I think had more to with the situations she was in and her reactions to it than Lena herself. However the love story between Lena and Alex was quite believable and the moments they got to spend together were some of my favourite scenes in the book.

The main problem I had with Delirium was the love as a disease premise itself. I think the reason I have such a hard time with dystopian novels is because I cannot stomach the futures these books envision. Yes I know they are not actually real but the fact that there is a possibility that in the future this is what we could become depresses me beyond belief. It's like saying that we as a human race can't ever improve things, the future can only become worse. With Delirium in particular I find myself wanting answers to a million questions, how did this future come about, how could we all sit back and let this happen, how could you sell the idea of love as a disease to so many people. Who would even think it possible that love could even be a disease in the first place. We did get some back story as to how it happened but I don't think it was explained properly enough as to make it into a believable situation. And this lack of believability really reduced my enjoyment of the book.

Despite my mixed emotions if there is a sequel to Delirium I will be reading it, the ending really got to me and I may have even cried a teeny tiny bit.

I haven't read Lauren Oliver's debut novel, Before I Fall, but if is written as beautifully as Delirium was I will be reading that too.

That's all for now.


  1. I'm reading this right now and liking it so far. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Tasha @ A Trillian Books

  2. It's too bad you didn't like it !! I really can't wait to start reading it !! I'll let you know what I thought about it ;)

  3. You said the ending out to you mean it was moving, but still happy?

    I really liked Before I Fall, but I wasn't too happy with it's ending. I'm scared to read this one because of that.