Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Genre: Young Adult, Science-Fiction, Dystopia/Utopia

Publishing Info: Kindle Edition, May 17th 2016 by HarperCollins (first published 2011)

Pages: 401

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover 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.

I cannot deny that I was pleasantly surprised by this book. A lot of YA dystopia has left me disappointed, so I’m reluctant to have too high hopes when reading this genre which I love so much. I’d heard of Delirium, but never got round to reading it until now. One of the things that cheeses me off most about YA dystopia is romance. Romance often seems to take up so much plot of some YA dystopia novels, leaving the important stuff or action in the background. Romance can be great in any novel, but when it takes over and blots out everything else, that’s what annoys me. Or the genre is plagued by love-triangles, insta-love, unlikeable/unbelievable love interests and unbelievable romance. So I was definitely a little wary when I started Delirium.

The whole point of the world Lauren Oliver has created about love so, considering the above, it would seem this is perhaps not the book for me. But that wasn’t the case. I think why the romance wasn’t annoying in this book is because it was actually totally relevant to the plot. It wasn’t thrown in. It is an important element of the world building and essential tool to explore the nature of the presented society. Love is seen as a disease which can be cured. This is actually quite an interesting concept and quite believable, in the way love is presented as something which causes you pain, and that you’ll be happier without it. I found myself completely intrigued by this dystopian/false utopian world.

The things that usually annoy me about romance in YA weren’t present in the book. There wasn’t an annoying love triangle and there was no insta-love – the characters fell in love gradually, far more realistic. The ‘love interest’, Alex, was actually likeable as well, though perhaps could have benefited from being as fleshed out as Lena and Hana. Onto Lena herself, the protagonist – I didn’t find her annoying. So often YA comes with really annoying protagonists, but I genuinely liked Lena’s character. Her development and her past were really interesting. I wanted to know what was going to happen to her, where she was going to go, and who she was going to become.

The first half was a little slow at times but my interest in the world kept me interested enough. There were some clichés/tropes of YA dystopia, such as the America is the only place left and there are borders and barriers everywhere. At first it reminded me of Pretties by Scott Westerfield with love instead of beauty, but as it went on it became its own story and the parallel was less obvious.

I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this and wasn’t expecting to be giving it 4 stars. Perhaps my score would have been different if I hadn’t had low expectations going into reading it. I really enjoyed the writing style, it flowed very easily and there were some nice descriptions. I’ll be reading the next two in the trilogy, and crossing my fingers that the series continues to be good and doesn’t derail like many I’ve read.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

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