Published: February 1st 2011, Harper Teen
Series?: Yes, Pandemonium and Requiem come out in 2012 and 2013, respectively
Acquired: Sent for review via Netgalley
Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
My review: I had huge expectations for Delirium. I absolutely loved Oliver’s debut novel, Before I Fall and I’d read so many five star reviews of Delirium that I was sure I’d be disappointed. However, if anything I think Delirium exceeded my expectations.
Lena lives in a world where it’s illegal to fall in love. At eighteen all citizens are given an operation that removes their ability to love, scientists call it the ‘cure’ and Lena has always accepted what they say as the truth. However, as the days to her operation begin to diminish she finds herself questioning everything that the government, the scientists, even her family have ever told her.
I won’t give away much more of the plot as there are so many surprises in Delirium for you to discover when you read it but it’s an absolutely delightful novel. I adored it and devoured it in two sittings, though it is quite a long story.
The characters are fantastic. Lena herself was strong-willed and one of those girls that you instantly want to root for, the underdog. At first she’s so convinced that everything she’s been told is the truth that she’s angry that her best friend, Hana, even suggests listening to the wrong sort of music.
For me the story really picked up with the introduction of Alex. I’ve mentioned in past reviews that I’m sick of writers relying on male leads who are all good looks and no personality. Happily, Alex is a brilliant combination of both and I was genuinely rooting for him and Lena to overcome the difficulties facing them and fall in love.
Of course, it couldn’t be that easy or we would have no story but both Alex and Lena prove, once again, that Oliver is a master at creating perfectly formed, unforgettable characters. Though, I do think it’s her writing that makes her stand out from the pack.
Her way with words is just fantastic and she can make even the most mundane act sound beautiful. My case in point:
‘“Here,” I say, and show her how to peel the orange using her nail, unwinding bright orange curls and dropping them in her lap, the whole time trying to hold my breath against the smell. When I’m finished she holds the orange, now unpeeled, in both hands, as though it’s a glass ball and she’s worried about breaking it.’
Even though the ending of Delirium does show a lot of potential for the next two books of the series and there are a lot of unanswered questions, I do wish that Delirium was a standalone novel. It’s just so perfect the way it is I’m not sure that another two books will be able to keep up the same pace. We’ll see, though!
First line: ‘It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consirtium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.’
Read if you liked…: Unwind – Neal Shusterman, Matched - Ally Condie
Total: 18/20 (A)