Delirium ~ by Lauren Oliver (reviewed by Shellie)
A perfect read for Valentine’s Day - Delirium is set in a future US, where love is considered a disease and the cause for all social ills. Everyone by the age 18 is to be “cured” via an operation which is not entirely safe or effective.
Setting: Lena is like most normal teen girls - slightly insecure, and she does not realize her abilities and attractiveness as a growing woman. As she is coming up to this important date where she will have her operation to free her from this “disease”, she starts to become less comfortable within the world she has been raised and indoctrinated in. She begins to question what is beyond the electrified fenced boundaries surrounding her country and wonders if anything is beyond them in the area considered the wilds; and what about the people – invalids, who are said to have once lived there?
Thoughts: I enjoy dystopian novels – I would even say love them. I am guessing it is because of the science fiction element which they commonly possess, and perhaps the element of horror too. Happily there seems to be quite a few of the young adult variety being published at the moment. Another reason is that from my perspective as a woman and an adult reader with a degree in education – I have a strong belief around the importance of intellectual empowerment for girls and young women. This genre can be a way for girls to absorb something alongside their romance which may work toward in-depth thinking into science or politics. I like that.
Beyond the genre there are several things I liked about this novel. Lauren Oliver uses a technique where each chapter is preceded with a snippet of the “new world order” – these are the reworked laws, poetry, fables and mythology which have been changed and distorted by the creators of this dystopian society - a method used by the usurpers of overturned societies since the beginning of recorded time. I loved this aspect, giving the story contextual interest and attesting to the power of literature and stories as a way to establish and maintain belief systems. She also includes a number of insightful thoughts and grounding ideas about love and human nature - perfect for a young adult novel - which encourages me to positively promote her books.
I did have two problems which are taste oriented and version related (I read an ARC version of the book). The first “niggle” is that the main character goes into depth about her feelings and emotions, which most women/girls will enjoy. For me it was just too much at several points. Additionally, when I read that the main character was about to vomit for the 10th time I felt like throwing up myself. It led me to think about what are the other ways a writer can describe extreme distress? I imagine that these bits have been edited out or changed since an ARC version is not entirely edited.
On balance, it is apparent that Lauren Oliver is a talented author. The book has a great premise, I liked the crescendo and the ending was a good one - heartbreaking but with that necessary element of hope and strength. The best news is that there are two more in the series coming in the next few years - Pandemonium (2012) and Requiem (2013). Both are the planned sequels to what I hope to be a very popular series. I give this young adult novel 3.5 stars. I liked it a lot.
To find out about this new and popular young adult author, Lauren Oliver ~ link to: Lauren Oliver on Facebook; Lauren Oliver on Twitter; Lauren Oliver's Official Blog; Lauren Oliver's Official Website.
This book was found on Net Galley in ARC (advanced review copy - it is not completely edited) for review. If you have an ereader and a place to post reviews it is a way to find new books. Do keep in mind that they are DRM equipped so they time out after 60 days, and they are not readable on all devices.
Let me leave you with this poem. A classic favorite by Shakespeare:
This book will be included in several challenges - Myth Challenge, Dystopian Challenge, as well as the Sci Fi challenge – The 42.
To celebrate further we have a Valentines from Other Press and Herve Le Tellier (author of Enough About Love). It is a free download of his novella - The Intervention of a Good Man. Click here to download the PDF.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all! Here’s to love in all its wonderful forms. What fun love related things are you doing this day? Thanks for reading.
(Valentine’s images and poem via The Vintage Moth).