Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Lena can’t wait to get the surgery, that at 18, will cure her of the disease that took her mother – the highly contagious delirium nervosa (or in layman’s terms: falling in love). Lena’s main concern is passing the exam that will determine her future status in society. But then she meets Alex and soon becomes “infected”.


Lauren Oliver skillfully introduces us to a society where people are either afraid of love or are numb to it. For the past 43 years, the government has stamped out “messy” emotion in favor of a more ordered existence. Most accept it, as having the surgery makes you immune to heartache and pain. But of course, there are those who resist. As an “uncured”, 17 year old Lena, needs to be protected from those resisters, and there are strict measures in place to ensure her protection – a curfew, raiding parties that look for offenders, unisex education and socialization.

Though it was a bit implausible to me that a society that abhors love would allow the family unit to remain intact, putting its most vulnerable citizens – those uncureds under 18 – at unnecessary risk (if they REALLY wanted them safe, they’d lock them up in unisex dorms until they got “cured” - although that still wouldn't keep everyone safe, obviously), the world-building suited the main plot brilliantly. Because, of course, for the story to work, Lena has meet an uncured guy to her liking (and Alex fits the bill) and have the opportunity to sneak out and spend time with him.

And DAMN, if I may say so, Lena’s scenes with Alex sizzle, making the novel soar to dizzying heights of emotion.

But it isn’t just romantic love that is so well explored here. Lena has a very close relationship with her best friend Hana that is heart-breakingly real, and we also see snippets of the happy familial love she shared with her mother.

The shock ending underlines and gives even more depth to the powerful themes of the necessity of love and the meaningless of life without it. I, for one, can’t wait to read the sequel.

DELIRIUM comes out February 1, 2011. You must read this book.  Find out more about it by reading my interview with Lauren that I posted earlier today.

5 Zombie Chickens – The Ultimate Dystopian Reading Experience


See index of all dystopian Reviews on Presenting Lenore

29 comments:

Amanda said...

I so wish I had gotten a copy of this one! It sounds so good!!

Mrs. DeRaps said...

I can't wait to read this book! I love Lauren Oliver and love dystopian lit. What better combination is there than a favorite author and a great genre?

Lenore said...

Amanda - I think you would love it! I am so sad I don't have a copy to send you :(

Michelle said...

I'm beyond looking forward to this book. Such an awesome concept.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Oh I can not wait! I too wish I would have got this one for review. WOWZA!

Anonymous said...

I could not get through this one. It felt like the author was making it up as she went along.

Lenore said...

Anon - That's generally what fiction writers do...

Into The Morning Reads said...

That sounds like an amazing read. Sort of like The Giver by Lois Lowry meets The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld with a romantic twist. I'll definitely be watching out for this one!

Sandy Shin said...

I'm very much looking forward to this one. I haven't read BEFORE I FALL, but have heard so many great things about Lauren Oliver -- and the summary for this sounds amazing.

And 5 zombie chickens! That's an instant must-buy. :)

Michelle said...

This is one I"ve been crushing on for the lovely cover and now to hear it so good? Well, I'll have to be sure to track a copy down. Thanks for the great review.

ahs said...

I really liked Before I Fall, and this sounds like it will be even better. I can't wait to read it!

Ladytink_534 said...

I've seen this around but this was the first time I stopped to find out what it was about. Now I've gotta read it!

Sharyla said...

While not normally my type of book, your review was awesome. Will keep an eye out for this one!

Staci said...

5 Zombie chickens is a good thing. Marking this book!!

Shelley said...

Something these days is making love harder, but I don't think it's the government!

bermudaonion said...

Wow, a story about the government stamping out emotions that's packed with emotion sounds great! I got Vance to play Delirium for me after reading your interview with Lauren Oliver and I've had it stuck in my head all day today.

Chachic said...

I loved Before I Fall so this one is already on my wishlist but now I want it more because you gave it such a high rating.

pirate penguin said...

Delirium sounds SO GOOD. I can't wait to read it!

Zibilee said...

I suppose it's only romantic love that is being stomped out, right? I think this sounds like a great read, and although there are some implausible bits, I am going to let your 5 zombie chicken rating sway me!

Anonymous said...

Lenore said: "Anon - That's generally what fiction writers do..."

No, like you'd be reading, and the world would have one set of rules, and then the plot would require something different, and so she'd make up a new rule or forget one that was in place before. It wasn't consistent, and new rules would just come out of nowhere as the plot required, instead of something happening and the reader going "uh-oh, that's going to be a problem, given BLANK."

I had the same problem with MATCHED, and with a lot of the big dystopias coming out this year.

Patty said...

I loved your review and am off to pre order this book NOW!!!

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

This sounds so good! And different enough from her other book. I can't wait to put my hands - and eyes - on this one!

Alexander Bennett (Tales of a Teenage Book Lover) said...

Ahh! I need it NAO!

Lily Child said...

Man, I can't wait to read this one! Great review!!! With a 5 zombie chicken rating, you know I'll be reading it as soon as it becomes available! :)

Debbie's World of Books said...

I loved this one and can't wait to find out what happens next.

Michelle said...

I loved this book, so very great in so many ways. I can't wait to see what happens in the next.

stacybuckeye said...

5 Zombie Chickens?! I'll have to look for this one.

kaye said...

Wish i could get a copy anytime soon.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I've only heard incredible things about this book, so I'm dying to get my hands on it. I really wish it were February already.