Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Review of Delirium (Delirium #1)

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 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 with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:  4 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Dystopian and YA romance readers
High point:  The introspection
Low point:  It left a lot of my questions unanswered
Reader maturity: 13+

Delirium was all kinds of awesome. I actually pre-ordered it last year and then didn't get around to reading it until now because I was miffed about the cover change. (Who doesn't like their series' covers to match?) But whichever cover you prefer (I'm partial to the one shown here, the original cover), don't let the publisher's indecisiveness stop you from reading it!

Delirium is a steady, extremely introspective novel, similar in tone to Before I Fall. Several reviewers have described Delirium as "slow," but I don't feel like that's a fair or complete descriptor. True, Delirium has few moments of real action, but there is a constant evolution within Lena and her interactions with her world.

The world-building is to be commended as well, although there are a lot of unanswered questions about how love came to be considered a disease. Lauren Oliver didn't turn the US on its head; she closed it off. There are a few new technologies (the "cure," for one), but mostly the US in Delirium is a collapsing, frightened version of its current self. Quotes from The Book of Shhh and "banned content" from familiar novels were a great addition at the beginning of each chapter. Maintaining 21st century technology and culture keeps the dystopian aspect realistic and allows Delirium to focus on food for thought rather than science fiction-- Is pleasure worth the pain? To what lengths is our society willing to go to be "safe"? Is peace without choice still peace?

I'm not usually interested in short story tie-ins, but I'll admit that I'm curious about Hana's story. She did not turn out like I thought she would...

I'm so glad there's a sequel because Lena's story isn't finished. I have so many questions!

Title:  Delirium (Delirium #1)
Author:  Lauren Oliver
Genre:   Fiction - Dystopian
Year:   2011
Book Source:  Purchased


  1. I didn't think this was slow. I really enjoyed this book! I look forward to your review on Pandemonium! There are a lot of mixed reviews out there for it.

    I like the original cover better too!

  2. I've been meaning to read this along with Pandemonium for ages. I guess I get a little leery when there is so much "hype" surrounding a book. Your review gives me renewed hope...I shall make great efforts to pick this up so.

    Also, the cover thing...I KNOW! It bugs the hell out of me too! WHY change covers mid-series?! I wonder if it's a marketing strategy? To make OCDers like us to re-buy the series in matching covers? Honestly, as much as it sucks when covers change, I'm not going to fork over extra cash to buy books I already own!
    *ok, rant over*