Delrirum by Lauren Oliver was a novel that has been buzzed about this year by everyone I came across on the Internet, so when my lovely Blogger's Bookshelf co-founder Erin (as well as one of my old college friends) suggested I read it...well it had to be done right?
Delirium is set 64 years after the United States declare love to be a disease (so named amor deliria nervosa) with citizens 18 and over are required to be 'cured'. The cure renders them incapable to love, basically turning the population of adults into mundane, feeling-less zombies who love their lives by the Book of Shhh (The Safety, Health & Happiness Handbook)
Lena is a young, girl who wants this life. The disease tore her family apart when her father died, her mother supposedly suffered so horrendously from it that she drove herself to insanity and was forcefully treated multiple times before killing herself. Lena now lives with 'the shame' and constant fear that she too may be susceptible to the disease. She's happy when the day she's to be cured comes around, until her examination is rudely interrupted by anti-cure protesters (and believe me you will never in a million years guess how they do this). She spots high up on the platform above her, a young boy, slightly older than herself. She promptly faints - not from the boy but from what happens during the examination, awaking in the house she shares with her aunt and cousins after her mother passed away with her cure day rescheduled because of the disruption.
She believes seeing the boy was all a dream until she runs into him again. His name is Alex and like most boys in Dystopian novels, he turns her world upside down. Alex takes her on a journey of self discovery, teaching her that love isn't the disease she thought it was at all.
Like most Dystopian novels Delirium is chock full of cliches in terms of characters. Lena is your typical lost soul, a little bland and boring at first, with a troublesome past. Alex is your usual pretentious rogue, hell bent on fighting the system from within. The story is very Romeo and Juliet. But that's where my criticisms have to stop.
This book was quite the surprise. The premise was a little different and though it started off a little slow, once it kicked into high gear it really kicked into high gear, especially towards the end. The world itself is rich and well built. Though we've yet to find out why love is banned, excerpts of studies, poems and mentions of scientific journals really bring the world to life. One of the things I really loved about Delirium was actually how well rounded the secondary characters were. Oliver has clearly been thorough with backstories for Lena's family and her best friend Hana (who actually has her own spin off novel).
So my verdict?
Delirium was both similar and brilliantly different to any Dystopian novel I've read. The themes lost hope, a corrupt government and self discovery are evident as with novel as any other in the genre. What will get you are the sharp u-turns Oliver takes you with the surprisingly unpredictable plot and the detailed world these characters exist it. Not to mention the fact that it's the first in a series so there's plenty more where that came from!
Emergency: Paramore; Animal Love: Charlene Kaye; Turning Tables: Adele; Nowhere Left To Run: McFLY; Rules Of Attraction: Joe Brooks; This City Is Contagious: The Cab; Love Out Of Lust; Lykki LiFor lovers of...The Hunger Games, Romeo & Juliet, Divergent, and those with a thing for tragic love stories.
*all photos in this post (c) Ria Cagampang