Bryan and Robert are deliriously excited to review another Lauren Oliver book! Check out their review of her series starter Delirium.
Bryan’s quick summary:
Lena Haloway is about to be cured. As soon as she turns eighteen – or in 95 days, not that anyone’s counting. Cured of what? Of a disease that has been a destructive force in mankind since the dawn of time: love.
Once she is cured, she’ll be free to be “paired” with a government-chosen life-long partner, and there’ll be no chance she’ll be struck down by the debilitating amor deliria nervosa. Lena is nervous: some of her friends caught the disease before they were cured, and even her mother committed suicide after the “cure” failed for the third time in a row.
But what Lena doesn’t yet know is she’s about to meet Alex – a security guard at the curing labs – and plunge headlong into a world she would rather never have discovered.
Soon she’ll be confronted with a difficult choice: will the “cure” be worse than the disease?
Delirium is by Lauren Oliver
So what did we think? (From a reader’s perspective)
1. (Robert) Lauren Oliver does it again. Lena is a completely believable 17-going-on-18 year old, in part looking forward to the “cure” and being free of the fear of going mad with “the amor,” and in part being curious about how her life will be after. The dilemma she faces soon after meeting Alex careers between wanting the cure to be done so she no longer has to care, and curiosity about what she’s been sheltered from by her aunt. At times I really felt her thoughts whirling and affecting her decision-making.
2. (Bryan) I think this was in the top tier of the dystopias/utopias we’ve read so far. It all made sense in a Brave New World kind of way. While it felt pretty obvious where things were going to go from the beginning, I still enjoyed the path there.
3. (Robert) A great story – at first one thinks, “What? How preposterous to think that love is a disease and a problem!,” but this quickly becomes less distracting as the world and setting builds, and the logic with which (almost) everyone treats the cure as being necessary.
4. (Robert) The final climax – even though it’s leading onto a series sequel – is a great series of scenes, and the ending closes our current story sufficiently, yet will have you wanting to read the next in the series (Pandemonium)!
NOTE: There are a couple of “F-Bombs” in the book, and some discussion about sex, as well as plenty of kissing. Not for the younger reader.
What did we think from a writer’s perspective?
1. (Robert) Oliver has a great sense of the YA setting, desires, fears, relationships. There’s a lot to learn from her writing! Nothing syrupy or so stereotypically “teen” here.
2. (Bryan) Our main character wasn’t very interesting, though the things that happened in her past certainly were. I was a much bigger fan of Hannah to be honest.
3. (Robert) Although the tropes are clear and verging on clichéd (The “regulators” and the police), there is a palpable sense of fear about the curfews, the violence employed by the forces to keep the masses in check, the constant threat of security forces entering homes and checking for “invalids” – the dystopian oppression is believable.
4. (Bryan) The world was deep and realized, and it reminded me a lot of Matched in its concentration on love and non-love. Lauren Oliver’s skill goes to show you just how important it is to improve your craft as you go along.
5. (Robert) Delirium uses what might be an overly-simplistic and childish premise – that love is a curable and dangerous disease – and uses it to build an excellent world and story where the issues become personal. In particular, Lauren Oliver knows how to foreshadow with subtlety, and although you sense what is likely to happen, the story will still surprise you.
Bryan and Robert’s Famous Takeaways:
1. Could love really be one of our most destructive forces? Surely if there we no passion, then we would not have war. But what would we have? Oliver gives us a glimpse, and it’s not pretty.
2. This is a great series opener, and different enough from Oliver’s debut, “Before I Fall” for any reader to enjoy for the writing style alone.
3. Although there is a love story in this book (obviously creating conflict!), there’s also great suspense and some fantastic action scenes.
Prompt of the Week:
Delirium depicts a world without love. What other emotions might a “utopian” society try to take from us and why? Would you like living in a world without fear, hope, pain, or something else?