Delirium (Delirium #1)Hot
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
“Delirium” follows Lena as she heads into the months just before her eighteenth birthday. The present she’ll receive is an operation that cures the brain and body from ever feeling love. Love has been classified as a disease, one that causes people to act rashly and experience dangerous levels of emotions ranging from unstoppable despair to delusional euphoria. Lena can’t wait, since she worries she’ll catch this disease just like her mother, and all she’s ever wanted is to escape this ailment that could run in her blood. But wouldn’t you know it, Lena meets a boy, and as she starts showing signs of love, Lena realizes she might not accept that love is a disease after all, and she worries the supposed cure may ruin her completely.
As the disease of love was described in the first chapter of the book I thought, “Huh, they’re actually kind of right.” While I don’t think love is a disease, I definitely agree that love makes people do some crazy bidness. People go out of their minds if the love of their life leaves them; they justify horrible, and sometimes criminal, actions a loved one commits just to make his or her life better; and people instigate entire wars over love (I’m lookin’ at you, Helen of Troy). So while I can’t imagine living without love, I can see how the government powers-that-be were on to something. Although potentially sinister, the reasons behind curing love aren’t entirely evil, and I love a good villain who is equal parts good and bad, just a tad misguided.
What I loved most about this book is it shows the power of propaganda. As Lena is experiencing the bliss of falling in love, she’s simultaneously concerned out of her mind that she’s going to catch the disease in full force and become a raging lunatic. She has been so totally convinced by society and its shunning of anyone who falls in love, that she knows, despite what her body is telling her, love cannot be a good thing. Seeing her inner battle go down was so convincing that at times I rooted for her to forgo any relationship and just rush to get the cure.
This emotional back and forth experienced by Lena, paired with the understanding of why people would want to cure love yet the complete horror of thinking of a world without it, made “Delirium” an intense and captivating read. Thankfully, this is only fiction. To celebrate, I’m off to grab some Chinese fast food while I read a book about dinosaurs as Selena Gomez plays in the background. That’s a night I could fall in love with!
A protagonist who is captivatingly confused about what she wants.
A villain who's equal parts good and bad.
I read this in just a few hours because I could not put it down. Great writing, strong characters and an interesting take on the trendy dystopian world, one where "love" is viewed and treated as a disease. Like with any disease, some are cured but a few, despite all efforts, either go uncured or are resistant to the treatments. These are the ones, the Invalids, that are the most dangerous.
The main character, Lena, is an orphan whose parents are long dead, her mother having taken her own life (supposedly) because she was "uncureable" and who is just a few months away from being cured herself. Lena sees herself as plain, a rule follower and is looking forward to her procedure and moving on with her life after graduation. Her best friend Hana is beautiful, rich and questions everything about the procedure and life as they know it. (I *heart* her!) This scares Lena and she worries about their futures and their friendship. Enter Alex...he happens to witness the odd interruption that takes place during Lena's evaluation (a precursor to the "curing" procedure) and since then she can't stop thinking about him. She runs into him again several more times and he begins to make her question everything she's ever believed to be true about her life. When she's with him, she also starts to notice the beginning stages of "the disease" which she knows is impossible. He's already been "cured", she's weeks away from her own "curing" and has already been "paired" with who she'll marry so what's happening? Information about her past also begins to unravel and she starts the fight of her life - literally.
This is a story full of life that had me laughing, crying, and on the edge of my seat right up till the very last sentence. The only negative thing I have to say about this book is that are a couple of f-bombs (spoken by Lena) and I just didn't get them. They didn't seem necessary for her character in that part of the story. I know she's going through changes and while I'm not a fan of language like that, I do "get it" when it's used within the context of a story/situation but it just didn't seem to suit her. Maybe it's just me.
When you pick up a first book in a trilogy, you need to understand that the characters you meet in it aren't the author's completed portrait of them, just their beginnings.
That's why I wasn't too upset over how childish(and dimwitted) Lena was in this book. because I knew that she was sure to learn from her mistakes in the next two installments.
as I read though, what really irritated me was that the author had copied some key elements of the book from 1984 by George Orwell; I don't mean common cultural property like the idea of a dystopian society where a rigid government keeps everyone in line by monitoring their every thought and action and delivering severe punishments for tiny infractions.
I mean things like..The coffee
In Lena's household, they drink bad weak coffee. They drank bad coffee in 1984 as well.
The Invalids=The proles
like all dystopians, there are a group of people who rebel against the current authority or somehow live out of its reach. here, they are the uncureds. People who refuse to receive brain surgery to make them immune to love(and passive automatons) and choose to live outside the city borders.
Ring a bell?
Maybe because you've read it before in Uglies by scott Westerfeld
another part that was similar to uglies: Lena, the protagonist and narrator has a best friend named Hana. Her friend doesn't believe in the cure and alludes to the possibility of life outside the city confinements.
i couldn't help but think of Shay.
when Lena and Alex go to The Wilds they come across a street filled with wrecked cars left over form The Blitz. In an almost exact replica of the part in uglies where the abandoned cities have cars jamming up the roads like trophies of a time gone by.
once I got past these, something else stopped me: there are a lot of things in this books that weren't given enough attention.
In the beginning Lena explains that she an Hana have a secret handshake code: "two short pumps, two long ones". later in the book when this comes up the long pumps come before the short ones.
I know it's borderline obsessive to hold a grudge over hand pumps but little things make or break a book. That's just the way it is.
in another part of the book, Lena goes to the beach, takes off her shoes and walks on the sand. when she goes swimming her shoes are mentioned several times as having become heavy with water, but when
she swims to shore she "grabs her shoes" and leaves.
It's entirely possible that she took them off after getting out of the water and just held them and walked barefoot, but wouldn't it be nicer if all this confusion had been avoided?
Things like this just get in my face. I can't get past them.
Have you ever had this friend who almost completely forgets you exist once her boyfriend shows up? that's kinda the way Lena treats Hana. After helping her and Alex stage a few undercover dates, she is not mentioned for a very long time. Long enough for you to notice that she's missing.
Later, Lena [ Goes over the fence with Alex to see what The Wilds are like and completely forgets that this is the kind of thing you share with your best friend. Especially the best friend who's shown enormous interest of going to said Wilds. (hide spoiler)]
at this point I just had to face it. Lena is a crappy friend.
it wasn't until the last hundred pages of this book that I stopped marking things that bugged me with post-its and actually started being involved int he story. I can understand what people mean when they say Delirium has a slow start.
but despite all these things I can't say I hated this book. I hated the stupid things that could have been fixed or refined in it. It was an absorbing story. If a book inspires me to read its successor then I'm happy.
and then the ending happened..
I still have no idea how I feel about that ending. All I can say is I like things that make me both angry and buzzing with excitement at the same time.
Lauren Oliver’s writing in this book is truly incredible. I found myself totally swept into the story, the writing is very good and descriptive. You are included in the transformation Lena undergoes throughout the novel and I love how she matured. The twists in the plot are really good at well. I thought I had the entire story figured out, and then: BOOM! Something happened that had my mouth gaping open.
Another thing that had me immersed in the book were the way relationships are explored. Mainly the relationship between Lena and Hanna, and the relationship between Lena and Alex. The strong bond between best friends and the bond formed by love. The relationship between Lena and Alex is smoldering and passionate, and Alex opens her eyes to a different world. They have the odds stacked against them but that makes it that much interesting to see how they won’t let these odds stop them.
Then the ending… Phew! What to say about the ending. It was gut wrenching, I can tell you that much! The waterworks were comparable to my experience reading The Fault in Our Stars. I couldn’t stop thinking about this cliff-hanger for quite a few days. I pondered some more about Lena’s character, and of course Alex’s character as well. Aside from that I also thought some more about the whole ‘Love is a disease’ thing. It became more chilling every time I thought about it. I couldn’t imagine living in a society like that. It also made me realize why I bother with love. Because it can be the most beautiful thing in the world, but it can be oh so painful. I wouldn’t want to not experience it though, because in the end love is a experience that defines us and makes us stronger. The way Oliver described the love between Lena and Alex was beautifully painted.
Furthermore, at the beginning of each chapter. There are quotes from different government approved books, including the “Book of Shhh,” an abbreviation for “The Safety, Health, and Happiness Handbook.” I really liked this, because it gave some insight of the dystopian world presented. The only thing I would’ve liked was more insight to the history and how this world Lena lives in came to be.
In conclusion, I loved this book. It is beautifully written and an emotional read. It left me with a big ass book hangover when I finished it!
Story keeps you on your toes
Then she meets Alex. Her whole world gets turned upside down and the government she has known all her life starts to be questioned. She wonders whether the procedure is truly as good as everyone who has undergone it claims it to be. As her feelings for Alex grow, her faith her dystrophic society sway. How can she give up the boy she loves for a life she thought she wanted, but isn’t so sure of now?
This book was pretty much what I expected of it. There were a few surprises along the way but it was pretty predictable from the beginning. That does not, by any means, mean it was boring or made me cry any less. I am a softy when it comes to love stories and especially when there are obstacles for the couple to overcome. This is no lock of obstacles for Alex and Lena, that’s for sure.
The end of the book leaves the reader on a cliffhanger. What will become of all my favorite characters? Hana? Lena? Alex? Gracie? I can’t wait to pick up the next book and delve back into the world Oliver created for Lena and Alex.
Review Posted on: http://www.ladybugliterature.blogspot.com
As with any dystopian, a certain suspension of disbelief is required in order to immerse oneself into a world that is so different from the one we currently inhabit. The problem I had with Delirium was my inability to suspend disbelief to the point where I could fathom a world where love is seen as a disease, and I think most of my inability to believe was rooted in Olivers’ characters’ nonchalance toward their punishments for breaking laws concerning showing affection. Having been raised to fear love and all of its symptoms, and having witnessed her mother’s depression (and eventual suicide) after repeated attempts to cure her were ineffective, Delirium’s protagonist Lena should have had a healthy fear of anything associated with love and an understanding of the repercussions if someone fails to comply with government regulations surrounding the disease. But shortly after meeting Alex, Lena is breaking curfew, touching him in front of Cureds, and eventually, making out with him in dark alleys like she had no fear for the consequences of getting caught – which, as Alex enlightened her, for some meant death. So to experience something she has been taught to fear, with a person she barely knows, Lena puts her life on the line.
This, I might have been able to believe, if it hadn’t been for Lena’s abhorrence towards her best friend Hana, when she began to question the government. At every turn, as soon as Hana mentioned something illegal – whether it was internet sites that played non-sanctioned music, post-curfew co-ed parties with live bands, or thoughts about love being normal – Lena was the first person to shut her down by reciting some government propaganda or by listing the benefits of the cure. She was also the first to point out what kind of fate Hana could expect, if anyone were to catch her in any of these illegal activities. So the real problem for me with Delirium, was why Lena was so quick to set aside all of her reservations.
My inability to understand in her actions aside, I did mostly like Lena as a protagonist. Even though her actions were sporadic, and she was constantly at war with herself, I empathized with her struggle to decide what she should – what she wanted – to believe. It was her relationship with Alex, or more-so Alex, that I didn’t overly enjoy. Yes their love story was adorable, and his reasons for being so fascinated with her had me grinning. I also really enjoyed that they had an entire summer to fall in love, and that we got to witness some of their stolen moments together – instead of being forced to believe in instant lust-is-love. But Alex as a person? He fit the stereotypical YA guy-mould to a tee. Attractive, arrogant and mysterious? Check. Troubled by a dark secret and haunted by a sad past? Check. Slightly stalkerish? Unfortunately, check. I really think Kat Kennedy said it best, “Alex felt like a definition of desirable love interest instead of actually being a person Lena fell in love with.” His character had no depth, no spark, and thus, he and I shared no connection.
My issues aside, I did really enjoy reading Delirium - Oliver’s prose is simply beautiful and I found myself taking frequent breaks to just marvel over how well something flowed, or how poignantly it resonated with me.
"You have to understand. I am no one special. I am just a single girl. I am five feet two inches tall and I am in-between in every way. But I have a secret. You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them. You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist. And there are many of us out there, more than you think. People who refuse to stop believing. People who refuse to come to earth. People who love in a world without walls, people who love into hate, into refusal, against hope, and without fear. I love you. Remember. They cannot take it."
And her descriptions were so vivid, so clear, that I couldn’t help but nod along in assent.
"Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That’s what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side."
If nothing else, I think Delirium deserves a read solely for its prose.
Though I had issues, I enjoyed Delirium; maybe not as much as I was expecting to, but I enjoyed it nonetheless and I’m interested to see where the sequel, Pandemonium, takes Lena and to see what happens with Alex.
I really liked all the characters in the story, which I think is really what pushes this book from good to great for me. Lena is a likable main character who has both believable strengths and weaknesses. Her motivations for actions always made sense to me. Hana, Lena’s friend, is a great character as well and adds a lot to the story–perhaps a little more than she should, since at times Hana is the more interesting character. Alex is a believable love interest who I was drawn to right away, and I really enjoyed all the secondary characters as well, including Lena’s guardians.
The best part about this book is that while it is a “Love story”, per say, it is not just a love story, at least not a romantic one. It’s Lena’s romantic interest that finally pushes her to see that she wants love, but throughout the book we see what happens when love is taken away, not just in romantic relationships but in friendships and families as well. Actually, as devastating as the whole romantic development is, I think the most terrifying part of Delirium is when we see families that operate without love.
The writing is beautiful, but I also really loved this book because it’s written in a way that assumes some intelligence from the reader. Aspects such as the family relationships aren’t completely spelled out, but they are insinuated. I love world-building, and it’s here, but in bits and pieces through out the book, which in my opinion, contributes to a much stronger book by the last page.
Final Impression: Such a solid book with a world that at times is truly terrifying. Ever character is perfect for their designated roles and the stakes always felt high.
Okay, so I have a confession to make. You know how Requiem, book 3 of this series is already out? It’s okay if you didn’t. Let’s just say I completely forgot about this series until one of my friends showed up at school with Requiem in hand, and I saw “Lauren Oliver” printed on the cover and thought it looked familiar. So I flipped through the book, saw the Delirium stuff, and I basically banged my head on the table because I couldn’t believe I forgot to play catch-up on this series. I read Delirium around when it came out...and then I don’t know what happened. I just never read Pandemonium, and I don’t know what I was thinking when I skipped over it. I decided to be a good girl and give Delirium a re-read first before moving on, so here are my thoughts.
This was a really solid beginning to this series. It is a romance-dystopia, and in this world, love is considered a disease. It’s the most deadly one of all, that was the cause of other diseases such as depression, cancer, etc. Through tech advancements, they have been able to surgically alter the brain, and thus cure all people 18 years and older of “amor deliria nervosa”, or love. Lena is just one of the everyday people taught to believe this, but her family holds a secret: her mother was infected, and the cure didn’t work on her no matter how many time administered. It is their greatest shame and embarrassment, and they try to keep quiet about it as much as possible. Lena can’t wait to get cured, because all her troubles will end. Well, enter Alex to the scene.
Hot, gorgeous, and downright swoony, he makes Lena question everything she once believed. She really refuses to acknowledge her intrigue about him, having been taught to stay away from the boys at a young age. Thats the thing about love though right? You can’t just ignore it and push it away, no matter how hard you try. I always love reading the moments when the protagonist of a dystopic book has that sparkling realization. When they figure out that everything their society tells them is horribly twisted and full of lies. I feel like this is when a character really blooms into a hero/heroine, and when the true plot of a dystopia series begins. Delirium is no exception, and when Lena realizes that love is the only thing that is right in her life, her character is completely changed into a true lovable protagonist.
Delirium was very well written. Lauren Oliver’s writing is weaved wonderfully in this book, which is probably one of the most enrapturing points. I admit I did not like Lena at first, because I felt like she was just blind. Maybe it’s because we live in a world where love is held high, but she honestly annoyed me with all her crap about detesting love and wanting the cure. Once she opens up with Alex though, I loved her--being all rebel and sneaking in the corners. Alex. LOVE. HIM. I wish he were real, seriously, I want him to read poetry to me or something (and that’s really weird because I unfortunately don’t quite have an appreciation for poetry...). Delirium is a little lacking in action until the end of the book, but just watching Lena be resculpted was enough to keep me engrossed.
The ending broke my heart omg. It’s one of those endings where you can’t believe what’s happening. It’s like HUGE PLOT TWIST--The End. It took me awhile to come to terms with it, even though it was my second time reading it, and somehow I feel really thankful this series has been completely written. Reading Pandemonium next, which I should have a review up for soon! I absolutely have to finish this series, and find out the fate of Lena, Alex, and this society.
This world is kind of scary in how believable it is. Not that I think our government would decide to come up with a “cure” for love. But love does cause people to do crazy things sometimes, so of course it can be twisted around and calle a disease. Falling in love is scary, but not for the reasons that the Book of Shhh feeds the citizens.`It’s easy to buy into the concept of love being a disease that leads to so many problems, and our heroine, Lena, is like the poster child.
Lena was a completely refreshing character. It seems like in general the heroine of Dystopian novels are at least suspicious of the government that they live in, if not total rebels. Lena is 100% good girl. She honestly believes that getting the “cure” is the only way to live. No music, dancing, dreaming, flirting with boys, are the only way to protect herself from the same fate as her mother. Lena is horrified when her best friend is involved with the above activities. She can’t wait to turn 18 and be free from the possibility of contracting deliria. At least until one night when she decides to prove to Hana that she can live a little and ends up meeting an uncured boy.
Meeting Alex shatters the bubble that Lena has been living in. He introduces to an array of brand new feelings and sensations, and soon Lena realizes that maybe love isn’t what the government says it is. Of course, they want to run away together to avoid the cure, but it’s not that simple. I was on the edge of my seat through the final third of Delirium. I knew something was going to go wrong, but I didn’t know what form it would take. The ending is a major cliffhanger, so I need to get my hands on Pandemonium ASAP!
I would say that Delirium is one of my favorite Dystopians so far. It’s unique and I was engaged from the very beginning. The world is disturbing, yet believable, and I think the author did an amazing job explaining it. There’s little excerpts from various texts that the government issues that will just make you go “what?!” Those were definitely a nice touch. I wholly recommend this to all YA Dystopian fans.