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All I can say is wow! This book was fantastic and completely swept me a way. Based on the concept that love is a disease, the story is set in a world where love and emotions have been almost completely eradicated. The laws stating that love is the root of all things evil and hurtful, therefore scientists created a procedure to cure mankind of this terrible disease, freeing them from the pains and suffering caused by emotion. The only glitch - the cure only works on adults eighteen or over.
However for Lena Holloway, her eighteenth birthday cannot come soon enough. After witnessing firsthand how the disease of love (deliria) consumed her mother to the point of madness, Lena looks forward to the day when she can look back on her childhood with the neutral detachment brought about by the cure. But then she meets Alex, an uncured 'invalid' from the wilds and suddenly, Lena finds that catching the 'love-bug' might not be so terrible after all...
First things first, I loved how each chapter began with an excerpt from 'The Book of Shhh', a Bible slash rulebook of this new loveless world. Not only did it give a broad insight to the kind of society Lena was raised in, but it really made you think of how life would be in a world absent of feelings. Basically pretty boring and robotic.
Furthermore as the story goes on, you see through Lena's eyes the implications of living in her world. Not only is it impossible to form romantic attachments but parents have no feeling towards their children, siblings act like strangers and friends are soon forgotten. Everyone just goes through life with casual indifference towards their fellow humans.
Yet as falling in love goes against everything that Lena has been taught, it is interesting to watch as she comes to terms and acknowledges her own feelings. However while her romance with Alex is sweet and heart wrenching to read, the relationship between Lena and her best friend Hana is also a key element of the story. The trust and loyalty shared between them defines true friendship and shows a different, but no less important, level of caring for another.
Honestly this book was simply amazing and I can't praise it enough. Beautifully written, it is a stunning read. I would honestly recommend that adults and YAs alike give it a try as the concept alone is completely thought-provoking. Also when you combine it all with the books dramatic ending, I am eagerly awaiting the sequel. 4 ½ stars!
Delirium - Lauren Oliver
While aimlessly wandering around the local bookstore waiting for a friend to arrive I happened to pick up this book and I read the first couple of pages. From that moment onwards I was hooked and I just couldn't seem to put the book down until I had finished it. Predominantly, I read mostly adult fiction, but I have been astounded at how much great young adult fiction is available and accessible even to people well out of their teens. In my opinion, this is definitely a book that isn't limited to only the young adult market.
Unusually for me, I read the first sentence before I had even read the synopsis on the back of the book. I always think that first sentences are a great way to determine if a book has the potential to grip my attention right from the start and this really did. It set a great tone for the book and I couldn't help but to read on.
"It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure."
In Lena's world love has been classified as a disease, one that her mother succumbed to years previously, which has since tarnished her name and ultimately led to her mother's untimely death. Lena lives in a society that is heavily regulated and that the 'cureds' those that have already underwent through the Government enforced procedure of being cured from the disease of amor deliria nervosa (or love) lead content structured lives. Where everything, from who they marry, to how many children they have, to what job they do has already been predetermined for them by a selection committee. The cure is the ultimate birthday gift on the day a teenager turns 18 and starts their real life, until then there are a lot of curfews and rules in place to limit most activities. In her daily life Lena is content, until the day her life gets turned upside down and she meets someone that is worth breaking all the rules for. Instead of the cured life she had been looking forward to, free from the prospect of the disease of love, she can no longer bare to think about giving up the love she once feared.
There is a lot of Dystopian fiction making its presence felt and although I haven't really read that many of them to date. I loved this book. Lauren Oliver writes beautifully, and creates the characters and parallel dystopian world perfectly, with the right amount of detail without getting bogged down in extra information. She really made a complex world with borders and many levels feel like an effortlessly, understandable and believable background to the main story.
In my opinion, the ending was perfect for the story and although it was a tad predictable it worked well. Even thou it has been a little while since I have read this book it is one story that I feel will stick in my mind for a long time to come. From the beginning right to the end of this book I was caught up in the characters life and found myself getting much more attached to them than I usually find myself. Although I doubt that there will ever be a sequel to this book I would happily get drawn back into Lauren Oliver's world of Delirium.
There was only one event in the book that I felt sort of didn't really belong and was maybe a little confused feeling. Nearing the end there is a scene in the Crypts - the horrible, neglectful prison where people who are sympathisers to those that love, or other such criminals are hidden away from society. It's hard to discuss this in much more detail without giving away some of the plot, but it was the only part of the book that I didn't relish every word of.
If you do want to read this book and I do recommend that you do it is easily available in most book stores and online stores, typically retailing for £12.99, but it is always worth shopping around for the best price. The hardback edition was published in 2011 and has 393 pages.
I don't often judge a book solely by its cover but, if I did this would make a great first impression. At first glance the book is an unremarkable blue shade with a large title, author name and small dove like birds. Inside the writing is a picture of an attractive girl. Everything about this book from the synopsis, to the cover, to the first few paragraphs caught my attention and made me want to read this, which I am glad that I did.
In my opinion, this book really deserves four and a half stars, but I did like it more than enough to round it up instead of down, so from me Delirium gets the full five out of five star rating. This is Lauren Oliver's second book and I have since reading this one bought her first book - Before I fall, which I hope is going to be just as good and I think that she will be an author that I watch out for in the future.
Leno Holloway is looking forward to one day only, the day she'll be cured forever from Amor Deleria Nervosa...or love. Having identified 'Love' as a sickness many years ago and a procedure against the disease now mandatory at age Eighteen by order of the government, it's not like she'll have a choice. She yearns to be normal and banish the tarnished reputation left on her by her Mother, who eventually succumbed to the Deleria. After all, a life without love is a life without pain, it's safe and predictable. But just weeks before the procedure Lena's world is turned upside down. She falls in love.
Lauren Oliver's Delirium was top of my highly anticipated reads of 2011 after falling in love with her debut novel, Before I Fall. While I ended up not loving Delirium quite as much, I did really like the book and the ideas behind it.
The idea of Love being recognised as an illness or disease is fascinating. Anyone who has ever been in love will recognise and relate to the symptoms described and agree that it can indeed feel like a sickness. Anyone who has ever had their heart broken will find themselves wondering for just a second, if life would be easier without such overwhelming feelings. But the cure takes the life out of people, the very things that make them human and passion for anything is irradiated, love for children and families becomes nothing more than an obligation. I know I'd rather take the pain and still experience the good than loose my ability to love. The half people, known as cureds, scare the life out of me and are truly sinister.
I liked Lena immediately. She's distinctly average and desperate to be normal. She's terrified of being like her Mother who succumbed the Deliria despite several attempts at a cure and can't wait to have the procedure herself. She's horrified by some of the feelings she has and tries desperately to quell them, hiding her appreciation of things as simple as the beauty of the sunset or being drawn to certain colours, which are frowned upon. Her best friend Hanna appears to be the one who's going to rebel and Lena struggles to understand it. But when Lena meets Alex, he encourages her to see beyond the lies fed to her by the government and as she discovers some shocking truths, she's forced to acknowledge that they are wrong. I loved how Lena began to slowly question her world and the inner turmoil she experienced between wanting to be normal and become 'cured' and knowing that actually this may not be right after all. She's no kick ass heroine, being nervous, weak and conformist to begin with and her development throughout the book is a real joy. Even as she turns into a fighter, she can't quite believe this is she. I love how the ordinary and small does something extraordinary and huge and found it pretty inspirational.
Lauren Oliver's writing throughout the book is stunning. It ranges from stark and desolate to beautifully poetic. I love her way with words and her writing is always a joy to read. I did find Delirium a little slow to start with and while I was enjoying it, it wasn't until around half way through that I became completely hooked. While I found the idea's behind the book fascinating and could actually imagine them happening, I was left a little disappointed by the world building surrounding Lena and at times thought it wasn't as believable as it could have been. It seemed a little too easy for rules to be flaunted and while the emotionally void 'Cureds' sent chills down my spine, I didn't think the guards and Regulators who police Lena's world were nearly menacing enough. I also struggled to believe for the first three quarters of the book that no-one had actually rebelled before, however along with Lena we find out there's much the government wants to keep quiet about that and I think we're going to find out more of these people in the second part of the series.
What I wasn't prepared for though was the ending, where Lauren Oliver literally ripped my heart out. I was reading on a bus, in public and audibly gasped making the woman next to me jump. It's a very brave step by Oliver and in the last few pages she turns around your previous expectations for the series. While very sad, it's a little exciting, as now I have absolutely no idea where things will go and it makes sure I'll be following Lena's story into the next book.
Overall Delirium was a good read. The ideas are interesting and thought provoking while Lena is a character easy to relate to and care for. While I wasn't as blown away as I hoped I'd be it leaves me with high hopes for the rest of the series. Delirium is beautifully written and while the beginning was a little slow moving the powerful and shocking ending more than makes up for it.
~ Other Information ~
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Published by Hodder and Stoughton February 2011