Friday, 8 March 2013

Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver

Delirium (Delirium, #1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever.

And I've always believed them.

Until now.

Now everything has changed.

Now, I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Delirium (Delirium, #1)(Source: I won a copy of this book! Thanks to Heather from ‘The Misadventures of a twenty something year old girl’)
This is the first book in the Delirium trilogy.
Lena has only 95 days to wait. 95 days, until she turns 18, and 95 days ‘til she gets ‘the cure’.
Lena lives in a society where love is a disease, and everyone gets their brain chopped up at age 18, to cure them of love. Everyone is then paired and allowed to have children – all without love. This is designed to keep people happy and safe, and free of the risks and pain of love.

Lena cannot wait for ‘the cure’. Her mother was resistant to the cure, and had the procedure 4 times before finally committing suicide. Lena hates that the disease made her mother leave her, and she hates that everyone who knows the story looks down on her because her mother was infected.

When Lena meets Alex, a boy who works as a guard, she knows that she shouldn’t be talking to him – girls and boys are not allowed to mix, but something makes her want to see him again, and again after that. Lena is shocked by her best friend Hana’s sudden risqué behaviour, but then begins to do risky things herself so that she can spend time with Alex.

Soon Lena begins to admit to herself that her behaviour is wrong, but at the same time knows that she belongs with Alex. But with the days counting down until her own procedure, will Lena give up everything for love, and run away with Alex?

I liked this book, it was slow in places, but explosive in others, and a lot of the writing was simply beautiful.

I had my doubts when I began reading this book. Firstly, Lena says that it has been ‘64 years since the president and the consortium identified love as a disease’. In my opinion something like that would surely have been decided by people in a medical or health profession, such as the World Health Organisation, not the president! But this is probably just me being picky!

Lena was an interesting character. She was so dead set on ‘the cure’ that she was counting down the days! Who the hell counts down the days to getting their brain chopped up? She was a bit of a stick-in-the-mud, and wouldn’t do anything without permission in triplicate. If her friend even so much as said a word out of line, Lena was horrified, telling her off, and checking that one of the enforcers wasn’t coming to arrest her.

When Lena first met Alex, she was again scared and worried that she would be arrested. Even once she started to get to know him, she still behaved this way. In fact it took a long time for Lena to loosen up. When Alex eventually admitted that he was in fact ‘uncured’ Lena almost had a fit!

I liked Alex, although it was funny to see the way he tried to bring Lena out of her shell. I immediately knew that he was uncured though, simply by the way he spoke and acted, his announcement was no surprise for me. I did feel a little sorry for him at first, picking Lena to love was not an easy decision, as Lena was so dead-set on being cured. He also risked a lot when he told her his secret, as she could so easily have exposed him for what he was.

I liked the storyline in this book. I think the idea of treating love like a disease is an interesting one; I just don’t think that people would really be interested in being love-free in the real world though, as love is something that people strive for. I understand how some people might be interested, maybe someone going through a messy divorce, or someone grieving would consider it, but I just don’t think that anyone would ever want to give up their love for their children no matter what.

I thought that the way partners were picked was a little weird. I know arranged marriages do work, but only because love grows between the couple. How people are supposed to live in such sterile relationships, and have children is a little beyond me. Children are obviously conceived in the same way as normal, but surely being forced to have sex with a random person picked for you by a computer, who you have absolutely zero feelings for would not be enjoyable? It’s almost like being raped by the government.

The idea of children being brought up in such a sterile world worried me too. I liked that Lena had good memories of her mom, which seemed in part due to her being uncured, and I really don’t get how anyone can raise children without love, and more to the point, how awful to not have parents that love you!

I did find it a little strange that Lena was so set on the cure considering how much she loved the things that her mom did when she was uncured, but I suppose you can see both arguments for why she wanted to not be different, and to be ‘safe’. I just found it a little hypocritical that the things that Lena remembered and loved about her mom were the things that made her different, while Lena was so against being different herself.

The main problem with this book was the slow parts though. While some parts were really good, and there were some beautiful lines every so often, parts of it were just tedious. I got to the point where when I hit a slow part I started reading faster to try to get through it, which helped things a bit. The book could have done with being paced a little more quickly in my opinion though.

There were some other elements of the story which I wasn’t able to guess, and there were several moments when I thought ‘OMG’, and was desperate to find out what would happen. The revelations that Lena comes upon towards the end of the book were pretty good, although there was a lot that was left open-ended to be explored in the next two books I presume.

I have to say that the end of the book was very exciting, and I really liked it. Things happened that I didn’t expect, and the very end was quite heart-breaking. The cliff-hanger ending was unfortunate, but I do want to read the next book and find out what happens.
Overall; an interesting YA dystopian, a really good read if you can look past the slower parts.
8.5 out of 10.

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  1. I read this one recently and really enjoyed it. I agree the writing is beautiful in places and the fast parts make up for the slower parts.

  2. I really enjoyed this. And the second book is good too. I'm really excited because Harper just sent me Requium (the book, not an ARC). I have one more book to read before it. And I'm for sure going to spotlight it on my blog and give it away. I'm a huge fan of Lauren Oliver.

  3. I loved this book - it's one of those books that's really quotable. I have Pandemonium waiting to be read next! :)

  4. I too enjoyed Lena and Alex. Such a great premise, but a bit discouraged because I have read several reviews that the ending isn't what they wanted :(

    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  5. I agree, the writing is beautiful. The ending was so surprising. I really hated the slow parts though. It ruined it for me. I wish more happened. But I am so happy you loved it.