Monday, February 14, 2011

Review: Delirium ~ by Lauren Oliver (a young adult dystopian novel about love)

 

valen5

delirium cover

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.


Delirium; HarperCollins 02/01/2011; Amazon purchasing link for US/UK/Canada.

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:

love sonnet

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).

12 comments:

Blodeuedd said...

Nice review :) I am gonna read this one and I do hope I like it

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Cheers Blodeudd -
I will be curious to see if you like it as well... :)

It really is an easy read, and all the "barfy" bits will most likely be edited out if you get a completed version.

Simcha said...

I saw this book on Net Galley and thought it sounded interesting but I hesitated to request it because most of the reviews I've read have been lukewarm. The fact that you enjoyed it makes me think that maybe I should give it a try after all.

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Simcha -
Truthfully I almost abandoned it at one point... but it has some wonderful elements.

I have 76 "friends" on Goodreads who have added it. Of the 10 reviews most have rated it a 4 star or above. Two have rated it 2 stars.

I would have to say that the completed version should be nicer for you to read. It will be interesting to see what you think when and if you read it.

Amanda Makepeace said...

Great review. I happened across this book while out shopping this weekend, but didn't have a chance to pick it up (daughter was rushing me through the store). Did you ever read Veracity? You would love it.

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Amanda -
Thanks :)
I have Veracity on my list but have not read it. I must have added it last year - not sure.

Yes it does sound like I would.. is it young adult? will go check again.

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I've had my eye on this one for awhile, and now I'm thinking I should give it a try...I like several aspects to this book which you described in your review, like posting little tidbits at the beginning of the chapters to lend context to the story.

Thanks for sharing.

Amanda Makepeace said...

Not for younger readers. It has a few scenes that are intense. I'd say 17 and up.

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Thanks Amanda -
This one says 14 plus but I would say it would work for much younger girls whom are mature - very light sexual references...

Sounds like Veracity is my type of book. It looks like its at our library too... perfect since I don't have enough to read. *wink* lol...

Alexia561 said...

Enjoyed your review! I agree that Lauren Oliver is a very talented writer, and I'm looking forward to reading this one! Sounds like an interesting and original premise.

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Alexia -
Thanks :) I take it you read her first book which everyone has raved about? with the gorgeous cover.

It is a great premise and reading it in its complete form should be a much better than my experience. I do have to say that it is one of the draw backs of reading an ARC.

It really helps a reader to see the work that goes into completing a novel.

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Laurel -
I am not sure whats going on with Google but I did not get notification of your comment for this post... ticks me off. Found it just now! If I knew how to spam I would spam them...lol...

I think that you will really enjoy this novel... even though I don't think you read a lot of YA?

I am figuring out they are different from adult novels in a way I have yet to define - other than being slightly simpler and from what I have read more difficult to write. I will... though dog on it!

If you know please do tell. :)

As for that technique I just found out that it has a name - which I have forgotten. AS Byatt uses it in Possession. Which if you have not read you absolutely have to if you have not already!

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