Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Dear Blog,

Summary (from Goodreads): 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 Halloway 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.

Review: Dystopian romances are everywhere at the moment.  They are inescapable nowadays and I was, until fairly recently, an utter fangirl of all things dystopian and apocalyptic.   At this recent emergence of novels where the world is either a) unravelling at the seams or b) run by some sinister authoritarian government I was chuffed to pieces. Heck, who doesn't like to see how things might end up however many decades into the future? 
So after reading Before I Fall last year, I was ridiculously excited.  Lauren Oliver + Dystopia= surely potential awesome? In part it was.

 I can't help but see some flaws with the way that Lauren Oliver's futuristic world works.  For instance, why is it so dangerous for teenagers to have the operation before they turn eighteen?  There's not much difference, surely, between someone a few weeks short of eighteen and someone who's within their first few months of eighteendom?  I also didn't really see much sense in the fact that the operation would only remove the emotion that is love.  I'm no biologist, but I find it pretty hard to believe that there's one part of your brain for being capable of love, another for hate, another for sadness, etc. The society didn't seem particularly...threatening, either.  If the world was that terrifying, that creepy, and the police and everyone were really in control,  then why was it so easy for hundreds of teenagers to just sneak out to the country and have huge parties and listen to loud music?  Little things like that that kept appearing here and there that didn't leave me convinced that it was perhaps as creepy as it was intended to be.

Lena, too, bugged me a little.  She was so...plain, describing herself as; "I'm not ugly, but I'm not pretty, either. Everything is in-between. I have eyes that aren't green or brown, but a muddle. I'm not thin, but I'm not fat, either."  Perhaps Lena was created so for the reader to be able to relate to her easily, but I just wanted for her to be vaguely remarkable. I did, however, like that her hobby was running, which seemed quite original, and she stood out amongst the scores of aspiring writers/poets/guitarists in YA literature. 
The only vaguely noticeable thing about her is that she's five foot two, which isn't even particularly dwarfish.  She was also one of those characters who totally buys into the society she lives in until a mysterious boy appears  and opens her eyes to the way the world works. 

I probably sound really harsh, like I didn't enjoy Delirium, but if I said that then that would be lying. Aside from those two points; I did like it.  For one thing, the writing style was absolutely beautiful; something I hadn't remembered from when I read Before I Fall.  It flowed perfectly.   The description, in general, was entirely beautiful, whether it was description of a scene or an emotion or a kiss. 

Also, I did like Lena's best friend Hana.  She had...personality.  I can overlook the fact that she was apparently good at everything, because in being good at everything she was unique.  She had guts and a backbone, too, and she was fairly witty.  Alex was crushworthy a likeable romantic interest;  clever but humorous, tough but sweet.  Also, another awesome thing: There was no love triangle, which was one of the best things about constructing a society where love is forbidden. 
The ending was awesome.   The last few chapters were perfectly, fantastically tense, and not a word was wasted in moving the story along.  It's a cliffhanger, perhaps not as cliffhangery as the cliffhanger of, say, Catching Fire, but still urgent enough for you to be like "I need more.  I need more now. "
Apparently it's going to be a trilogy, so despite a couple of society and Lena-related flaws I can't wait to see what becomes of her and Alex next.

In three words: romantic, suspenseful, poetic.
recommended for: lovers of dystopian fiction.  And Lauren Oliver.
Rating: four.

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