In Delirium, Lauren Oliver constructs a layered and intricate world that will unnerve readers with its similarities to our own. At first, Lena's desire for the cure and investment in society seem superficial, but as the novel progresses readers learn more about her haunted past and come to appreciate the burdens that weigh so heavily on her mind. The relationship that blossoms between Lena and Alex is truly the highlight of the novel, capturing the sweetness and novelty of first love while blending it with a strange air of illicitness. The chemistry between them jumps off the page and makes the reader believe in their bond. Lena's butterflies and confused emotions are utterly realistic, crystallizing the universal experience of young love, when every feeling is overwhelming and foreign. Thankfully, Oliver does not spoil its simple purity in this loveless society by introducing a love triangle into the mix.
Lena's world is brought to life with beautiful imagery, though at times the descriptive metaphors seem a little heavy-handed and distract from the narrative. As the novel progresses, the horrors of a "cured" society become increasingly apparent, though they are initially hidden beneath the ordered surface. Oliver brilliantly constructs her story to draw readers into Lena's mind: the deliria at first seems bizarrely believable, but readers will slowly discover the devastating cost of the cure alongside Lena -- making her journey all the more visceral and thought-provoking. The emotions of this novel become increasingly gut-wrenching as the story propels towards its heart-stopping conclusion -- providing one of the most adrenaline-fueled endings I have ever read.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this novel from NetGalley. This did not affect my review in any way.
Click here to purchase Delirium by Lauren Oliver.