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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Pages: 441
Series: 1st in a series
Acquisition: ARC from BEA 2010

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 with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love. (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:
Delirium was a bit of a roller coaster ride for me. I started out really enjoying it, then I found myself really disliking Lena. After a while, she grew on me and I was able to enjoy her story but then the ending left me feeling unsatisfied. So many people have raved about this one but overall, it fell a little short for me.

The dystopian world that Lauren has created is great. Love, or rather, amor deliria nervosa  has been classified a disease. Science has found a cure but it can only be given to those over the age of 18. So, of course the helpless, uncured youth must be monitored at all times. They must learn of the dangers of amor deliria nervosa. It must be drilled into their heads until they are afraid to even look at a member of the opposite sex. Until they yearn for the cure.

Society as re-written itself. Fairy tales, great works of literature, even the Bible have been retold. I found this aspect of the story interesting. Love is such a basic human emotion and when you remove it, you're also removing emotional responses. People don't act or react to situation the same way. History and religion and science take on whole new meanings when feelings are removed. A pretty fascinating scenario.

Have to say, even with my wishy washy feelings for Lena, I was routing for her in the end. She really never knew what she was missing out on and after she sees the light so to speak, a whole new world opens up for her. I wanted her to experience that world and I was excited and afraid for her.  Forming an emotional connection to a character makes for a very enjoyable read.

The romance between Lena and Alex was a little predictable. I mean, he is the first boy she's had any extended contact with so yeah, she's going to fall for him. His reason's for falling for her though weren't as fleshed out. He likes her from the moment he sets eyes on her - not instant love but close.  So, their time together was enjoyable to read but not exactly surprising or exciting.

The ending though? A little to be desired. I didn't quite get why things played out the way they did - especially in the last few pages.  The cliff hanger and series fodder were a little frustrating. Not in the same way, but it reminded me a little like the ending of the movie Titanic. The 'why can't you make room for him on the raft' sort of feeling. Not logical or playing nice with the rules of the storyline. Read it and see if you agree with me.

Will I pick up book 2? I will because, unlike most of the characters in Deliruim, I am emotionally involved. I very much want to know how Lena's story plays out.

A very well laid out dystopian tale. Likable characters, great plot line and even with the not so satisfying ending, I'm looking forward to the sequel. A book I would very much recommend to fans of YA dystopian romance.

Overall Rating:
3.5 / 5 Stars

Books in the Delirium Series:
Pandemonium (March 2012)
Requiem (February 2013)

Linkage Love:
Author's Website


  1. I've been wanting to read this for a while, the whole idea that love is "curable" intrigues me! Glad you enjoyed it - and thanks for the review!

  2. Hey Emily! Fantastic review! :DD
    This one was a little in-between for me, because I liked the characters and thought the premise was fascinating, but I kind of had issues with her dystopian world - it seemed kind of contradictory. But I love Oliver's prose - she reminds me of Maggie Stiefvater, and I can't wait to see what happens in the next installment!

  3. I hate when books that have tons of hype don't live up to your expectations. I loved Delirium, but that has happened to me with other books. There is nothing more disappointing :(

  4. I thought this book was alright, but Lauren Oliver is a fantastic writer that knows how to make her plot lines interesting and her characters stand out! I am definitely reading anything that she comes up with.

  5. I'm still completely in love with this book, but I get why it didn't work for you. I will say, I hadn't realized this was a trilogy when I read Delirium and I actually loved the ending as a close to the whole thing. In fact, I loved the book as a whole so much that I don't see how Oliver could make Pandemonium better.

    But I guess you would view it in sort of the opposite way :)

  6. I just read this recently as well, it seems we pretty much have the same opinion of it :)


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