September 25, 2014

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That's what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side.

-from Delirium by Lauren Oliver

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In seventeen year old Lena's world, love is a disease that the government has inoculated. Every male and female are cured on or around their eighteenth birthday and then paired with a member of the opposite sex to live a normal, structured life. Lena can't wait to be cured, it's something she has dreamed of her whole life. Until, of course, she meets a boy. When Lena meets Alex, her ideas of love and the government's control are challenged. She begins to wonder about the world beyond her society's walls and where she belongs.

Let me just say that I love Lauren Oliver, no matter what I say in my reviews, mmmkay? ;)
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Delirium had a lot of hype to live up to, so perhaps I had unfair expectations, but it took me awhile to get through this book. In the end, it was worth it (hence the four-stars), but I felt like it took too long for Oliver to get to the point. I really enjoy Lauren Oliver's writing and there was no problem there other than the fact that she maybe writes too much. For the most part I think the average reader knows where this story is headed before Alex even enters the picture (Hmm, what sort of conflict do you think will be in a book about abolishing love?); I just don't think it should take 400+ pages to get that story out. Funny enough, Oliver then skims through how Lena and Alex's relationship grows so quickly that it took me awhile until it felt solid and believable. I just this story was better paced and/or edited.

That said, I still did enjoy the book overall. When I finished I found myself extremely invested in the series despite it taking awhile to win me over. While the idea of love as a disease is nothing new, Oliver builds a frighteningly controlled world stripped of all emotion because of its lack of love and gives a refreshing perspective. Without love as the centerpiece of life, everything changes and in Delirium, readers get a clear picture of all of the effects.

Lena and her best friend, Hana, give a good balance of perspective as a teenage girl on the cusp of being cured. While Lena is a rule-follower and a very trustworthy narrator, Hana is more care-free and apt to break the rules. Being able to see both angles gives readers a better sense of the experience of teens in their world. I might be jaded from reading so many dystopian series, but I found myself impatient with Lena through a lot of the story while Hana was able to balance that a little bit. After finishing the series as a whole, I was better able to appreciate Lena in Delirium because of how much she grows and evolves.

While I would still recommend the Delirium trilogy to any dystopian loving reader, I will warn that I found it a little long. I don't know that "slow" is the right word, but maybe somewhat anticlimactic given the length. I still really enjoyed the book overall and it made me want to jump right into the next installment of the series.

Bottom Line: Too long, in my opinion, but still a really great kick start to a strong series. The writing is solid and the climax will have you at the edge of your seat! 4/5 Stars.

Oh, and P.S: Save your time and don't bother watching the pilot of the series on Hulu, it is so cheesy and terrible!

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