Friday, September 20, 2013

Book Review! Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium (Delirium Series #1)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: February 2012
Pages: 441

In Delirium, we’re thrust into this world where love is forbidden. In this society, it’s not only forbidden but it’s seen as a disease, called amor deliria nervosa (otherwise known as delirium). And because of this, a surgical procedure was created in order to cure it. Lena couldn’t have been more happier to receive the procedure, and always looked forward to what her life might be like past it, convinced that love was a horrible disease too. That is, until she meets Alex and does unthinkable: she falls in love.

I wasn’t sure whether to gag or be delighted-- because for some reason the whole Lena falling in love part, was just something I was expecting. I think it wasn’t so much that I was surprised by it, but I was surprised by the events which followed after. It had it’s moments, especially in its end: thrilling, exciting, and some super interesting characters (...and some hot guys *cough cough cough*)

Delirium had me on the edge of whether to read or not because-- well, for crying out loud, it’s a DYSTOPIAN. Maybe it’s me, but I felt like with the Hunger Games’s popularity there’s been a surge of them published in YA literature. I can’t help but compare the newly published books to Hunger Games because, as equally wonderful and exciting as the trilogy was, I couldn’t imagine there ever being a dystopian book that seemed to satisfy me as much as that one did. Other examples are probably, say, Divergent, The Giver... and I could probably go on, endlessly listing titles with dystopian/post-apocalyptic-themes. Each other definitely brings their different, savvy spin on the world and storytelling. Some don’t even make any sense, or are just waaaay too far-fetched for explanation but still maims my interest. I thought the reviews on Delirium were just too high to be true, but I was super excited to try.

I’ll be honest: it literally took me two times re-reading this book to actually go through the ENTIRE thing. I didn’t think it was bad, and I already had the preconceived notion that it wasn’t, because it’s Lauren Oliver writing it after all (and if you’ve read Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, you know she can write a damn good book.) And Delirium is written beautifully. The dialogue between characters was just too genuine and I could literally imagine myself, and the characters, because they were that amazingly characterized. Oliver just set the bar as an author even higher, and I can say I love this book. Just-- WOW.

The story does know how to drag out, which is something I can easily say what I dislike about it. The book could’ve moved along way faster than it did, and for a whopping 480 pages-- I wanted more story to it. Essentially, there are things happening but it feels longer than it needs to be with Lena’s constant indecisiveness. She could spend the longest time making a decision really, and probably that’s my biggest pet peeve with Lena. Come on... just make up your mind already!

Probably if it hadn’t been for the spectacular ending, nothing in particular would’ve stood out. It really did fail to keep my interest because of it’s slow pace, even as beautiful as Lauren Oliver’s words are. Sorry to say, but it did not grab me like most grabs me like dystopians, because of the lack of creativity in its setting. If there wasn’t the whole ‘love is disease’ thought processing, then Delirium could’ve and would’ve easily been a contemporary YA read rather than dystopian. I could be mistaken (and correct me if I’m wrong), but isn’t Delirium taking place in the future? Where’s the technology advancements? Hell, where’s the flying cars? (Joking, of course.) But really, that’s not important-- but it is something I ached for in this book, and hoped for there something really distinctive about this ‘new world’ Lena lives in.

Okay I admit, I was a bit confused by the backstory of the dystopian as a whole. Like I said, there are dystopians that simply just seem really far-fetched and Delirium is just is one of those books. Then there are well-written ones, just like this one, too. But what really keeps me on my toes in this book, is the fact that love is considered a disease. I would think with the unlikelihood of this ever happening, there would at least be somewhat-ish of a background given to why a society like this was created...? The gears aren’t quite turning when it comes to this, and I’m hoping at least for the sequel (Pandemonium) there’s further explanation.

And considering how much press Delirium received, I was expecting a strong female lead--as most dystopians these days seem to be following that trend--but Lena was ultimately a bland character. Her memories of her mother are heartfelt, but Lena just has such a... stodgy narrator and person as a whole to the extent where I’m dulled by her. She could’ve been more to her, especially considering she is the protagonist, and the “Why me? I’m so plain” attitude she seems to carry throughout the novel can be on the annoying side. But hey,  she isn’t perfect given her flaws, which is something I do like about her and I’m sure others will too.

But shh, don’t let me discourage you! Because Delirium is an amazing book, it really is. And trust me, you do not have to be a teen to love this book because I can imagine this appealing to adults, just as well as teens. I enjoyed it and it was a decent book. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it was my favorite book, because there were just things that bothered me a little too much about the book for me to simply ignore it. If you’re a reader who loves their books to grab at them from the start, then maybe I would rethink adding Delirium to your read list because it is slow-paced and you just have to wait to the end for it to really get heated.

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