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 governments 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. (from Goodreads)
I think I'm going to have a fangirl moment while reviewing Delirium. Because it was AWESOME!!! And I really want everyone to their hands on a copy but it isn't released until February, so no ardent encouragement for you to get in your cars and drive to the nearest bookstore. Not yet, at least. Okay, so let me tell you why I loved Delirium.
You guys are going to get really tired of hearing me talk about dystopias, but alas, Delirium is a dystopia. I'm trying to write a dsytopia for NaNoWriMo, and let me just say, it's is really hard. The world building is actually really difficult; you have to have all these rules and then the characters have to follow them and then they have to make some sense and it's a big ole mess. So now that I've attempted to write one, I have a newfound respect for any author who writes a believable dystopian novel, Lauren Oliver included. Lena lives in the United States but it's so different that it takes a lot of work to successfully set everything up.
But I was really interested in the fact that love has been outlawed. It's kind of hard to believe, but is there anything bad about love? The government in Delirium wants to get rid of the negative emotions that can be experienced with love: jealousy, longing, sadness, the famous lovesickness (loss of appetite, concentration, etc). Also, in eradicating love, the country is also hate-free, which I guess could be a good thing. But what you notice about people who have had the operation is that they are kind of emotionless. At least they are free of extreme emotions. They may care for their family members and spouses, but there is no actual love. All the characters at some point say that they are happy now that they have the operation, but it's more of that they are content, which is not the same thing as being happy.
I found some similarities between Delirium and the Uglies series: an operation that takes place only at a certain age, two protagonists who want the operation at the beginning, all characters who have the operation say how happy they are, the operation actually changes your brain chemisty, etc. I don't think these were intentional, but it's interesting to compare the two.
I should probably mention the love interest: Alex. He was a pretty interesting character, he has some secret history which you'll learn about. It's kind of ironic that Lena falls in love just as she is saying how she can't wait to get the operation, but it really changed her. In the beginning, Lena truly believes that her life will be better once she doesn't love anymore, but by the end, her outlook is completely different. Which is a good thing, in my opinion.
Another thing I loved was that each chapter was headed by a little excerpt from some history textbook or book that is prominent in their culture. It just made the world Lena was living in more believable and realistic, like I could see some future society writing those things. I also loved that the characters read Romeo and Juliet as a cautionary tale, even though the readers know it's anything but.
All in all, I absolutely loved Delirium. It has excellent world-building, realistic characters and an interesting plot (all prerequisites for a great book). It's also a trilogy, which I didn't find out until I finished it, but I am so excited to read more about this society. I definitely recommend this, but unfortunately you will have to wait a few months for the release date.
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: provided through One ARC Tours.