Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

March 24, 2013

Delirium (Delirium #1)Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: 1 February, 2011
Genre: Young Adult, Distopia
Rating: 4/5 stars
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There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it. Then, at last, they found the cure. Now, everything is different.

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.

Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.
First of all, I'm consumed by a severe case of cover-lust. Seriously, would you look at that cover?! Its genius! All of this book's covers look amazing, but this one's my favourite. So now that I've got that out of the way...

Love makes the world go round...  But what if love became a crime punishable by death?

Delirium, is a book about love, like many others. But what sets it apart from the others is that it is set in a world where 'love' or rather, amor deliria nervosa, is a twisted, evil thing, something to be scared of; a disease.

Magdalena 'Lena' is an almost eighteen year old girl (trust me, she does not seem eighteen, but much younger), who cannot wait to be cured of the deliria. Ever since her mother committed suicide, succumbing to the disease, Lena has been waiting anxiously to be cured. She cant wait to be purged of it finally, as it will mean the end of her nightmares, though it will also inevitably mean the end of her long friendship with Hana, her best friend. But in their last summer together, everything starts to change. Hana seems like a whole other person, with her rebel attitude, things are going wrong in places they cannot, and then... there's a boy.

Ninety-five days before she's about to be cured, Lena falls in love with Alex, an Invalid (an uncured person).

Delirium, the first book in the Delirium trilogy, is a story of a world that is hauntingly sinister, and yet also familiar. It brings to mind several questions - What if this world was really eradicated of love? Even familial love? Wouldn't that make us robotic? I mean, even for the smallest things, love is involved; that's how we're made. So wouldn't this suck away all emotions? Wouldn't the death of love ultimately mean the death of ourselves? What I found very disturbing is that many parts of the world are just a few steps away from a world like this. Just a few more laws, a few more regulations, a few more scientific advancements, and bam! We're there.

I loved every single character in Delirium. Even the ones that were hateful, I liked them for the way they were written.

The book is narrated from Lena's point of view. I love the name Lena. Its so soft, so innocent in it, and still, there's something, a hint of strength in it (probably because it rhymes with Xena?), just like the character. Lena is the last person you would think would rebel. She is so proper, believes so strongly in the system, that when she goes against it, it comes as a shock to even herself.

Hana, as Lena's best friend is SO enjoyable! I missed her in the second book, but she's back in the third (I'm reading it now), so I'm happy. The seed to rebel had been planted in Lena's mind many years ago, but I think it was Hana who acted as the catalyst. Hana is such a true friend, ready to go to the ends of the earth for Lena.

Alex. Where do I begin? Alex is a young man, a year older than Lena, and he's a part of the resistance against the government. Alex is everything a girl's first love should be. He's charming, loving, funny, strong, protective, careful, slow (I mean he takes things slowly with Lena)... I'm stopping now, or else I'll just keep going. I truly loved Alex as a character. He's not the classic tall, dark and handsome guy. He's like sunshine; cheerful and makes everything better.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Lauren Oliver's style of writing. It's so lyrical and poetic that it just sucks you in and doesn't let you go, so that it keeps echoing in your head after the book is closed. Delirium doesnt deal solely with love. It also deals with friendship, family, loyalty, and sacrifice. There are few books out there that are as wholesome as this one, so its all the more special. Oliver's character's are all thinking people, and some of their musings are so insightful. My personal favourite:

You cant be happy unless you're unhappy sometimes. ---Hana

This one brought to mind a line from John Green's Fault in Our Stars:

'Without pain, how could we know joy?' This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate. ---John Green

But I kind of disagree with Green. Ok. Imagine, right after you eat broccoli, you eat chocolate. Wont you appreciate the chocolate more, than if you'd had it simply, rather than as a follow up to broccoli? I think its all about appreciation. Think about it :) Just saying. But then again, that doesn't mean that unless you eat broccoli and then chocolate, you wont appreciate it enough.

Okaay... So getting back on track, there were a few thinks I found confusing in Delirium. There wasn't a proper history to the world. Like why exactly had the cure been formed, and how? Why is Alex in Portland as a part of the resistance in the first place? Is the whole world like this, or is it only the US? (this one is answered in Requiem, btw) I'm someone who likes everything well detailed and properly lined up. The quotes from various books at the beginning of every chapter does shed light on how the deliria-free world was formed, but I didn't really find it sufficient. But that's just me. You might not find it so.

Nonetheless, Delirium is a book that grabs hold of you, and takes you for a roller coaster ride of emotions, thrills, and cliff hangers.

Two words. people. Read It.

SPOILER ALERT: (if you want to read ahead, highlight the next few lines)
The book ends on a cliffhanger. And death. One that left me gasping, and mad enough to spit. I thought, "Finally I find a beautiful character, and you do THIS?!"