Thursday, October 14, 2010

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium by Lauren Oliver, HarperCollins, 2011.
eGalley received from publisher through NetGalley.
Release date 02.02.2011.

Fans of dystopian fiction will love this one! Set in the not-too-distant future, Delirium is the story of Lena, a girl looking forward, as most do, to turning eighteen. However, in her world this epic birthday signifies more than the promise of becoming an adult. No, in Lena's world, turning eighteen means that one is old enough to undergo "the procedure" and be cured, once and for all, of the horrible disease known as "amor deliria nervosa." It's been discovered that this disease (which we know as love) is what causes most of the problems in the world we now live in. Scientists and other assorted Powers-That-Be have decided that everything--world wars, stress, hypertension, even bipolar disorder--is a direct result of love. To cure the world of these problems, you take the love away. Just a simple brain operation, really.

You can't get the operation at too young of an age or you risk serious brain injuries, though, so it's been decided that eighteen is just the right age. Until then, boys and girls are educated separately and physical contact is strictly forbidden. Curfews are rigorously enforced and countries are effectively bordered, preventing anyone from entering or exiting. There are rumors of Invalids (those who haven't had the cure) living in the Wilds, but these stories appear to be nothing more than ghost stories, meant to scare kids straight.

But that's not all! The year before the cure is spent being evaluated. Evaluators (how they got to be evaluators isn't really explained, either to the reader or to Lena) will decide what career you will pursue, what college (if any) you'll go to, who you'll marry and how many children you'll have. Don't fret, though, they do give you some choices--you're potentially matched with four or five mates and then you can choose from them.

Until about 95 days before her cure, Lena is OK with all of this. She's looking forward to it, really. With a family history that's less than stellar, she believes that the cure will make her normal, and by extension, happy. And then along comes Alex, who slowly encourages Lena to realize that the life she's striving for isn't necessarily the best (or only) one.

I don't want to give too much away, but I loved this book!  Oliver's writing allows us to believe that yes, it is possible that the powers-that-be in our world could potentially decide that love is the root of all evil. This is a great novel and will satisfy the dystopian cravings of anyone who's still mourning the end of The Hunger Games.

The only thing I didn't like about it is that it's obviously not a stand-alone book. While I'm anxious to see where it's headed and will of course be looking out for the sequel, after the Hunger Games I was just really ready for a one-book dystopia.

Enjoy your reading!


  1. Awesome review, Christi!
    You know, I didn't know this was the first in a trilogy when I read it, so the ending was that much more painful to me. I spent hours trying to calm down, and I cried and moped all over the house.

  2. I know...I kept checking out how many pages were left, trying to figure out how it would end in such a short time. Guess I shouldn't have worried! It just stinks that because we read the eGalley of it, we have to wait THAT much longer for the second book!


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