I just finished reading the first book in the Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver. It's a YA Dystopian novel, which is one of my favourite genres to read.
Here's the basic plot summary, courtesy of www.goodreads.com:
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.
Delirium is the story of a world without any 'illness', the illness in this case being love. Once the U.S. government realised that love and attraction can push a person over the edge - quite literally, often - they decided to perfect a cure to rid every human being of this emotion.
The protagonist of the story, Lena, is your average plain Jane who has been brought up in this dystopian world. In a few months she'll turn eighteen, and she'll be able to get done with the procedure of curing her, so she'll never risk contracting Amor Deliria Nervosa.
But what happens when she does fall in love - and it changes her whole perspective about family, society, life and even death?
The premise of the story really caught my attention, although I didn't find it plausible at all - I still don't, to be honest. A world where love is considered a disease? And not just romantic love. Even family love, saying 'I love you' to your child or friend or parent is frowned upon and could brand you as a 'Sympathizer'.
A society like this could never be created. In a country like America, especially, where there is a lot more freedom for lovers in general, how can the government suddenly take such harsh steps?
If you think the book explains it, you're wrong. Barely any information is given to us about the history of this 'disease' and the events that led to the formation of a cure.
I wasn't interested in the book until the last hundred or so pages, actually. Nothing that shocking or amazing happens in the beginning or even in the middle. There are quite a few plot holes. Lena goes from being a scaredy-cat, who won't step out of the house after curfew, to a romantic young lady who isn't afraid to kiss her boyfriend in the middle of the street at midnight, whether that's illegal or not. I don't think that's called character development.
Alex is like any other YA hero. He's brave, he's attractive, he's funny... he's too perfect, and doesn't seem like a real character at all.
That being said, I still really liked him, for all the above reasons. I loved his romance with Lena, and I spent quite a lot of time wondering how they were going to end up together in a world where you're matched with a compatible spouse and married off once you're cured.
Lauren Oliver is an amazing writer. She just has a way with words; she can paint a dozen images with just a few sentences. But she might have overdone it here. There's too much backstory about things that don't matter, and the writing is so descriptive that often I felt the urge to just skip through it all and read only the dialogues.
But the dialogues were really good. Here are some of my favourites:
"Love. It will kill you and save you, both."
“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. And there are many of us out there, more than you think. People who refuse to stop believing. People who refuse to come to earth. People who love in a world without walls, people who love into hate, into refusal, against hope, and without fear.
I love you. Remember. They cannot take it.”
“I'd rather die my way than live yours.”
As for the ending... gah! The cliffhanger! I couldn't bring myself to stop reading once the last chapter began. And once I finished the novel, I was in shock. How could Lauren Oliver have done that?!
Thank goodness I have the second book, Pandemonium, waiting for me on my Aldiko Ebook shelf.
I'm going for 3 stars out of 5 for this book.
It isn't as complex, unnerving or amazing as some other YA books out there, but it's a book that will make you value human companionship. It will make you want to say 'I love you' to all those who matter to you, because at the end of the day, love is the greatest emotion of all.
So, if you found the story interesting, do check this book out! If you've already read it, tell me in the comments below whether you loved it or not.
Also, I just want to say that even though I haven't updated my blog in over a week, I've still been receiving countless views every single day. I don't know who you are or which country you're from, dear reader.
But for supporting my blog even when I've been inactive... I love you. Remember. They cannot take it. :)
Check out the rest of my book reviews here.