Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Read-a-thon Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium (Delirium #1)

Lauren Oliver

Publication Date: January 1st 2011

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 470

Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult

THEY SAY that the cure for Love
will make me happy and safe
And I've always believe 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.

Delirium was the first book on my Dewey's Read-a-thon list. It is a book I bought at V-Stock using credit because I kept hearing about it and its sequel that had been just coming out. It also turns out had kept recommending it to me over and over, but the cover hadn't caught my eye or I must of not read the blurb very well, because I kept rejecting it.

What was wrong with me? This book has elements that remind me of The Giver by Lois Lowry and "Stupid Perfect Love" a short story by Scott Westerfield in the anthology Love is Hell, and coincidentally the work by him(it is a fantastic story) that got me to actually go and read Uglies, but I digress. The element that hormones and love are a disease is a theme that is ingrained in the human consciousness. We as humans find ourselves falling in love, and therefore becoming vulnerable to those we love giving them the ability to tear our hearts out and stomp them rather visciously on the floor, causing all sorts of symptoms (And I'm not just talking about significant other, I'm talking about all love, family and friend love included. You know you've been there before readers). So logic of course says, why don't we get rid of it? And that's where these books are fantastic. It weighs in your mind, is love a good thing or a bad thing? Would you live without love? So many people would say yes, and so many others would say no.

Delirium goes through this point beautifully, showing us people "cured", "uncured" and as with Lena's mother, "uncurable". We are shoved into a world of propaganda against love. A world that is fleshed out an highly detailed in its belief system, thanks to blurbs at the beginning of each chapter that help to flesh out what these characters are brought up with: a combination of religion, science and forced propaganda, the twisting of Mary Magdalene being a perfect example of that.

The characters are a variety of types and we see how each one reacts when faced with the reality that the "cure" is not as amazing as they thought it would be, and will they risk their lives to keep the love and passion? Or will they just skirt the borders and rebel only if it seems safe?

I recommend this to lovers of dystopias in the traditional way, in the "makes you think" way. I felt as if Oliver approached the theme of love in a careful and interesting way. I also recommend this to people who enjoy good world building in dystopias. This book really does make Wither seem like a weak shadow of a book. I flipflopped between 4.5 and 5 bookmarks for this, but in the end, because it did make me think and I liked it a lot, for now I will give it 5.



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