Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver... A Review

I'm Delirious for Delirium by Lauren Oliver! It's "the dystopian Romeo & Juliet", filled with memorable characters and a wonderfully detailed and believable world. It's about friendship & love and about what makes us truly human.

Imagine a world where the simple act of love is against the law. Love is declared a disease, and at the age of 18 you have "the procedure", the "perfect cure", so that you'll be safe. You'll be happy too, because love is a sickness, it makes you crazy at times, it impairs your reasoning, makes you preoccupied, have periods of euphoria, despair, insomnia and changes in appetite.

"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 governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway 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 isn't love what makes us truly human? The ability to care, to laugh, to feel? Lena understands this from when she was a young girl and her mother use to secretly dance with her, laughing and carrying on. But her mother couldn't be cured... her mother was diseased... at least this is what Lena learned later, after her mother committed suicide. Now Lena tries to be the "good" girl, obedient and trustworthy. Her sister Rachel and she were taken in by her Aunt Carol after their mother dies and she lives her life in perfect harmony with society... That is until the unthinkable happens... she falls in love...

And the love story is wonderful, filled with all the tenderness and discovery you'd expect from first love. Awkward, 17-year-old Lena blossoms as that disease "love" slowly takes hold of her, also opening her eyes to the world around her. Things just don't seem "right". Is it because she's sick or because she's been lied to all her life by the adults around her? There is this internal conflict that Lena is struggling with that makes her have such genuine vulnerability.

The world Lauren Oliver creates in Delirium is so rich with details - sights, sounds & smells - that you feel as if you are walking down the streets and alleyways yourself, feeling the breeze off the water, smelling the salt water. I thought at first that this was going to be similar in tone with the Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, but in my opinion Delirium is better. The story feels bigger. There is the love story, but also the wonderful aspect of the life long friendship between Lena and her BFF Hana, two girls who couldn't be more different, and whose friendship is tested as they each test the boundaries of their freedom. And of course we can't forget the society that serves as the launching pad for the story. At first it seems to be so "perfect" and accepted by all, but then the cracks begin to show. Of course, that's true of most dystopian societies, and Oliver does a great job creating one.

If you consider yourself a romantic, you will love this book! It was everything I could have asked for and Lauren Oliver does a wonderful job with her lyrical prose to put butterflies in the readers stomach too! I would also say, readers who enjoy dystopian novels, such as Uglies, will enjoy this as well. Oliver does a great job of creating a complex, layered society. It is just a wonderful read! I found I could not put it down. And the ending... OMG! There is a twist at the end that left me breathless! It also left me wanting to start reading the next book, because there definitely will be one! Delirium is the first book in a trilogy!

Delirium by Lauren Oliver will be available from your favorite bookstore February 1st! Delirium will also be available for your Kindle! I received a copy of Delirium as an ebook and want to thank HarperCollins for the opportunity to review it!


Cat and DOG Chat With Caren said...

I must share this with my husband. I think he would love it!

Cat Chat

Ella Preuss said...

The ending, indeed!
I invite you to come by Deliriously Falling, and celebrate with us the release of Delirium in a Countdown this month!


Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Caren!
If your husband likes dystopian fiction, he should enjoy this! And the love interest of the heroine, Lena, is a really interesting guy too!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Ella!
Thanks so much for letting me know about the celebration! I'm going right over to say hello and to join the celebration! LOVED Delirium! And the ENDING! We'll have to chat about that!

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

I just started this on NetGalley and love it!

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