1 Sep 2015

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Release Date: 7th February 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Page Count:
Format: Paperback | Borrowed

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Synopsis (from GR): Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.

My thoughts: I went into Delirium with really high hopes, because it is a book that has been recommended to me by a number of people. Unfortunately, it sat oddly with me. The concept - a world devoid of love - is quite interesting, but it could've been executed a bit better. As a dystopian novel, it fails completely. As a YA romance, it works a bit better. It is obvious that this is the focus of the story - and the entire reason this dystopian world was created - was to tell a romance story. I for one would love it if YA writers would just write a romance novel rather than jumping on board the bandwagon for the latest YA trend. That said, I did enjoy Oliver twisting Christian mythos to explain the "love is a sickness" mentality. I wish I could've enjoyed this more, because Oliver is obviously a talented writer. 

One of the main reasons Delirium didn't work for me is because the world building was inconsistent. Lena lives in a highly autocratic world where love is so stigmatised that using words like 'sympathiser' can end badly for people. Phones are tapped and people are always watching - yet Lena uses the word 'love' without any consequences whatsoever. She doesn't even think twice about using it. Furthermore, she's wandering around and making out with Alex like it was no big deal, when it would land them both in prison. Furthermore, Lena is terrified of the deliria and is counting down the days to her procedure - for me, it just didn't make sense that she would become so reckless. This kind of leads into the next reason why I didn't enjoy Delirium that much - the characterisation was a bit hit-and-miss. Lena was really well done, and I really loved her as a character. However, this made Alex seem all the more one-dimensional and flat. Alex seemed to tick the box of the generic YA male love interest: sad back story? Check. Incredibly devoted to heroine? Check. Kind of stalker-ish? Check. I couldn't connect to him and despite his experiences, I couldn't empathise with him.

Finally, there was barely enough story to stretch 440-odd pages, so I'm not sure how it's going to make it a trilogy. I've checked Pandemonium out of the library, just to give this trilogy a chance - but it's safe to say, the concept is better than the execution.

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