Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Cornucopia of Dystopia: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Lena has had more than enough pain in her young life. After her father was arrested and her mother committed suicide -- all for love -- Lena became an outsider in her society, where love is a disease and only the cured are safe. Though love is in her genes, Lena prays the cure will secure her the simple, pain-free future she's always wanted. Unfortunately, fate has different plans. Just months before Lena loses the ability to love forever, she meets the mysterious and unusual Alex -- and falls head over heels.

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.

Rating: 

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.


8 comments:

SusanKMann said...

This is on my tbr file sounds great, excellent review x

Stephanie (Books Are A Girl's Best Friend) said...

Fantastic review, Casey! I agree with your thoughts. My favourite part of Delirium was Lauren Oliver's wonderful writing, it made me want to sit down and get writing.

Lauren M said...

I completely agree on the ending--my jaw practically hit the floor! I can't wait for the sequel!

Blueicegal ♥ said...

So glad you liked it Casey. The ending was just gah! Awesome book.

Ella Press said...

Great review! I love that you loved it! You're featured in the FB page for Deliriously Falling: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Deliriously-Falling-The-Official-Lauren-Oliver-Fanpage/178755915504635?sk=wall

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Delirium!
xo,
Ella

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

You know the more reviews I see of this book, the more I want it. :) Thank you for the great review!

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I am so excited to read this one - I start Before I Fall tonight!

Larissa {Larissa's Bookish Life} said...

awesome review!! I so want this book! =D

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