Friday, April 6, 2012

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

[description from goodreads]

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.


Spring break always allows me to begin catching up on some of the books I've had for a long time, and I thought I'd begin break with Delirium because everyone else seems to have read and loved it in the time I haven't been able to get to it. I don't love it nearly as much as everyone else seems to, but I don't think I'd say no to reading the sequel.

Delirium was different than I expected, and for that reason I find it difficult to determine how much I actually like it. I'm used to futuristic novels having a big emphasis on the role of the oppressive government in the life of the protagonist, but Delirium's really doesn't, and thus its world-building leaves much to be desired. I never understood how or why love became such a threat or who was running this society-- although Lena encounters different sorts of guards, officials, and tests, I didn't know what the tests and people were really doing. However, it sometimes didn't seem to be necessary for me to know these things since the focus is on Lena and Alex, the boy she meets. I still would have preferred to know what kind of place they were living in, though, because as time goes by and Lena gets closer to the date she will be cured, she feels more threatened but without knowing who was behind it, the threat seemed empty.

Even without the world-building, the events of this book did manage to keep my attention despite how long it takes to get to the more adventurous parts of Lena's romance. I do appreciate that the two actually took their time in the relationship, because the way Lena and Alex meet is too unconventional for them to jump right in to love. Occasionally their love seemed like a simple consequence of he being the only boy around, but because the book chronicles their relationship from its beginning, it seemed fairly realistic. I also liked Lena's relationship with the other characters in the book, especially her friend Hana. Although many of them, perhaps because of their cure-induced monotony, are not particularly exciting, Lena's relationships with them are complex because of how different she is from them. Her friendship with Hana, though, is the best because of how close the pair remain despite all the hardships they face and the knowledge that the cure will take their friendship away too.

I wanted more development pretty much across the board, but Delirium is such a quick and adventurous read that I liked it anyway.

Book details: HarperCollins/Paperback/$8.99

Source: BEA '10 (yeah, I know)


  1. I just finished Delirium, and I agree with you a lot. I didn't love the world-building, and I wish the history of the cure had been explained better. All in all, it was a good book, that left me wanting the next book!

    Debz @ Debz Bookshelf

  2. I enjoyed Delirium, but like you, I wish there had been more world-building. I'm hoping more of the past gets explained in Pandemonium...maybe it's a literary device to get us to keep reading?