Series: Delirium #1
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Genre: YA Dystopian
THEY SAY that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever. And I've always believed them. Until now.
Now everything has changed. Now, I'd rather be infected
with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.
Yep, happened again. I've put off reading Delirium for this long because...oh hell, I don't really know, but yet again I've fallen deeply in love with another dystopian world. Lauren Oliver has created a frightful and fascinating world. One I've enjoyed losing myself in, and in the same breath, one I find utterly depressing. What is a world without love?
Amor deliria nervosa: [A disease that] affects your mind so that you cannot think clearly, or make rational decisions about your own well-being. - Page 3
I would venture to say this is a pretty accurate description of love. So powerful, so overwhelming, so all-encompassing that your mind is filled with flighty, selfless thoughts. Being near the one you love is all that matters. You obsess about your next encounter, the next time he winks at you, the slightest of flirtations, the next kiss. You catch yourself doodling his name in your notebook. Driving two miles out of the way just to drive by his house, hoping for a glimpse of just the top of his head. Silly, giggly, girly feelings. The quivering of your tummy, the flush in your cheeks. Bewitching and delectable, disquieting and dreadful.
When I began reading Delirium, I completely understood Ms. Oliver's premise. Love is so confound that it not only leaves you all warm and fuzzy, but crushed and out of control. A society that rids its citizens of love, also rids them of heartache.
Lena is set to have the "procedure" done on her 18th birthday. After that day, she'll no longer miss her friends or family, she'll no longer be in danger of contracting the dreadful disease amor deliria nervosa. But before she undergoes the procedure, she'll be evaluated and scored. She'll be assigned a career path and paired based on her scores. Every decision, including the number of children she'll have, is made by the government, creating a happy and carefree society. EXCEPT--
Lena catches a glimpse of a handsome young man during her evaluation, which is rudely interrupted by a stampede of cattle. Yes, you read that right. Lena continues to have very brief run-ins with Alex throughout the next few weeks until he saves her. She'd only gone to the underground party to warn her friend, Hana, of the random, but nothing out of the ordinary, police raid when she's attacked by one of the police dogs. Alex rescues her and the disease creeps in. At this point, Lena begins to realize that everything she once believed to be an absolute truth, might be a lie - or at least tainted.
Lena is a unique heroine. In the beginning, I liked Hana, her best friend, much more. I like to think myself a risk taker, which unless we're talking a couple of tattoos and piercings I'm absolutely not, but Lena preferred the easy path. She did what she was supposed to without question, and maybe that's the part of her I disliked in the beginning. I think it's every citizen's responsibility to question the decision of their government, not simply sit back and let them dictate. However, she matured throughout the book and by the very last page, I was vastly invested in her future.
Alex isn't so much smoldering as he is perfect. Not angelical, but he makes Lena think and ask the right questions. He's her light, but not her only reason for acting. I didn't necessarily connect with Alex in this first installment, but I'm hoping for better chemistry in book two.
Hana is Lena's best friend. From the beginning, she pushed the bounds. She rebelled, listening to music the government didn't approve of and frequenting underground parties. She lived. I'm left wondering what her role will become...friend or spy.
Lena's mom is a subplot I can't wait to explore more. Enough said.
The reason I'm not giving Delirium 5 stars is subjective. The paragraphs were long and filled with a little too much fluff for my taste. We didn't get into any real character interaction until the last part of the book, and I am character driven. Although I rented this book from the library, it will soon be purchased and find a nice little niche on my bookshelf.
As stated above, I think this is a unique and deeply profound premise. The effects of love affect each of us differently, and at times has us soaring in the skies, at other times we're plummeting from a cliff.
I'd been previously warned of Lauren's horrific cliffhangers, so I'm a little relieved I've put this series off for so long. Now I can read start to finish without having to cry over the unknowns.
You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them. You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist.