Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium (#1)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Published: February 7, 2012
Pages: 401
Series: yes (second installment, 'Pandemonium')
Source: purchased

Goodreads Summary: 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.

Finally I'm coming around to reviewing this.

'Delirium' is my first dystopian novel in so long it feels like my first dystopian novel ever. I'm not a fan of the dystopian genre and except for this series I don't see myself picking up a dystopian book anytime soon (well, except if it somehow wins me over like 'Delirium' astonishingly did).
I read Oliver's 'Before I Fall' and just like 'Delirium' it's one of those books you'll either really like or really dislike. I really liked 'Before I Fall' and naturally wanted to read more books by Oliver.

Firstly, I have to address that most negative reviews of 'Delirium' seem to surround the speed of the story (slow.) I can see that, I was past the 100th page before finding that things started to happen. But that didn't mean it was a drag until then. I enjoyed Oliver's raw, poetic, and descriptive writing style.

I wasn't sure about the storyline - that love is a disease that humans need to be cured of - in a way it's simple, but most of all, it's such a challenge to actually be convinced of it. That the book started off with Lena's evaluation helped me get in the right state of mind. The society Lena lives in is clinical and cruel and it comes across.

Lena was brainwashed, and I'm sure that's how Oliver intended for her to be. She religiously believed in everything the government had succeeded programming into the community - it's all she knows and have ever known.

I didn't like the voice of Lena - even when she was happy and in love, she thought she'd been infected; it bothered me she would still view her and Alex's relationship as the outcome of an illness. She wasn't strong, she didn't stand as her own person. I wonder how the story would've turned out having the protagonist be more adventurous and risky to begin with.

I loved Alex, Hana, and even Grace - as in genuinely cared for them. Alex and Hana were good; too good for Lena. Maybe that's unfair to state but considering the amount of trouble they were willing to go through for her, I couldn't help but feel this way. Certain moments with the three taking risks for her really touched me, even brought tears to my eyes.

I can't put my finger on exactly why I like this book. It's well-written. Oliver has the ability to write about something you're not supposed to agree with, character you're not necessarily supposed to like, and still make an impact. 'Delirium' is a lonely, trapped, and unsafe journey - and that's how I felt when reading it.

The end should've been heartbreaking or devastasting, but I just found it awfully unfair. I was even a little mad at Lena, I felt she'd been lucky rather than deserving. It was just unfair, probably not the best note to leave off on but enough to have me purchase the second installment, 'Pandemonium'.


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