Thursday 3 February 2011

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver.

Product details:
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton.
Hardcover, 400 pages.
Release date: February 3rd 2011.
Rating: 3½ out of 5.
Ages: 14+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that one 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 Holway 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.

One of the first books I remember taking note of when I started this blog in March of last year was Before I Fall by then debut author Lauren Oliver. It seemed to me as though every book blogger I encountered had read and fallen in love with the book. I have now come to know this phenomenon as “blogger buzz” - it's something I had never heard about twelve months ago, and something that happens when the book blogging world collectively decides to take a book to it's heart and does it's very best to convince the world at large to love that book as much as they do. Shamefully, while the blogging community brought Oliver's much lauded debut to my attention, I still haven’t read Before I Fall (I know, I know!). So, when I saw that she had a new YA dystopian releasing I resolved not to miss out on this one. I had to see what all the hype was about! For me, I definitely fell in love with Oliver's writing style. She has a magical way with words, and in that sense the hype is definitely justified. I had a few qualms with the story of Delirium, though, most notably that it moved a little too slowly for my liking, but boy, did the ending blow me away!

This book opens a couple of months before Lena Haloway is due to undergo her procedure. This procedure will cure her, it will leave her feeling secure and content, wanting nothing from life but to settle down with an approved match who she will go on to marry, and spend the rest of her life with. Lena Haloway lives in a society where love, or Amor Deliria Nervosa, as it is known here, is forbidden. It is outlawed. It is a contagious disease. After Lena's procedure any strong emotions she might feel, any irrational, hopes, fears or dreams she might have, will be obliterated. Her friend Hana, beautiful, popular, wealthy, Hana, is starting to question society and the procedure, but it is all Lena wants. She has lived her whole life waiting for the procedure and the stable life it will bring. Since her mothers suicide she has lived her life as an outsider. She wants to be normal, and she wants the procedure. It will help her feel like she belongs. But then she meets Alex. Gorgeous, mysterious, free-spirited Alex. He is different from anybody Lena has ever met before. Lena soon finds herself falling for him and willing to risk everything to be with him.

I loved the premise of this book. Love as a disease. It makes total sense when you think of it. Love can make us lose all reason, it can devastate and crush us and it can leave us feeling empty inside. Take away love and you take away all the pain and heartbreak it can bring. But then, who would really ever give up on love? For every negative association with love, there is an even greater positive. Falling in love is the most wonderful feeling in the world. Why, then, are the people in Lena's society so willing to undergo a pretty nasty procedure that will leave them without the ability to love? The answers aren't provided in this book, and I would have liked a little more back story as to why this society came to the conclusions that it did. While I'm sure this will be explored further in future books, I needed to know more here to help me connect. Because of this and the slow pacing at the beginning of the book I was left feeling a little detached from both the story and the characters here for a time.

However, in the final third of  Delirium, the pace of the book really picks up with non-stop action and breathless plot twists. There were some surprises here that I really couldn't have predicted!  The YA market is brimming with dystopian titles right now, but Oliver's writing makes this one stand out from the crowd. I also have to give a special mention to Alex – I warmed to him immediately. There are some beautifully written, touching scenes between him and Lena, and he is very much deserving of a place on my special book crush list. After a slow start, I ended up really enjoying Delirium, especially the heart-wrenching ending which packs quite an emotional punch. I have been left with a whole lot of questions, which I hope I'll get the answers to when the next book in this series, Pandemonium, releases in 2012.

 Watch the book trailer:

P.S: Did you know that Delirium has it's very own song? It was written by a talented acoustic group called Minnie Birch and you can download it: here. Thanks to Eleni from Hodder & Stoughton for sending on the song!


  1. Yay! I'm so excited to read this one. And YES! You need to read Before I Fall ASAP! It's a really interesting perspective on life if nothing else. Glad you liked Delirium!

  2. Wonderful review! Oliver's writing is beautiful and what an ending. Can't wait for the next installment :)

  3. Lauren's writing style really is magical,the end blew me away and left me crying. I didn't mind the slow pace in the beginning because it established the right connection to Delirium's setting, to me it was just perfect! Thank you for sharing such a great review + the wonderful book trailer!

    You can find my review here, if you like to read it(5/5 stars :)).

  4. Wonderful review! The book sounds beautiful. Dystopian fiction is the craze now, I guess. I am really looking forward to reading Delirium.

  5. Yay Leanna I'm so glad you enjoyed this one too! I warmed to Alex immediately as well, but it took me a little while to connect to Lena since she was so intent on undergoing the cure. I wasn't sure how I felt about this one until about halfway, and then it picked up and I fell in love with it:) Loved reading your thoughts as always!

  6. Great review! And thank for the info on the sequel. I had no idea when it would be released.

  7. I have seen this book everywhere but for some gosh darn reason I have never really given it a good look before (ie. read the book blurb) and now I am really kicking myself! This sounds amazing! Must. Put. Hold. On. It. At. Library... ;)

  8. I absolutely loved this book, which is odd because I usually hate books with a bit of a slow start. The book led to an incredible climax though, and I ended up riveted! Fabulous review, Leanna :)

  9. Very nice and thorough review. I completely agree with you about wanting more of an explanation. I do hope that is explained more in the sequel.

  10. I haven't read Before I Fall but I do own a copy of it on my bookshelves. I should really read it. But I want to read this one first. OMG, the hype! ;) Great review.

  11. I was hesitant to the hype over Before I Fall, but finally after reading the book understood why so many people love it, for me Delirium only confirms Oilvers' amazing talent as a writer. Loved your review and hope to see one in the future on Before I Fall!

  12. Wow, I see we are of similar opinions on this book, but you worded yours so much better than I ever could! :)

  13. Oh I can't wait to read this one. I have Before I Fall sitting on my shelf which I still have yet to read. Part of me thinks I should read that first, but youre review of Delirium is so utterly fantastic, that I feel as if I should read that first instead.

  14. You are so right about her writing! And that ending! Gah!


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