by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #1
Published by: HarperCollins
Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe.
I wonder whether the procedure will hurt.
I want to get it over with.
It's hard to be patient.
It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet.
Still, I worry.
They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness.
The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver is a young adult dystopian where people live in fear of, and receive the cure to protect them from Amor Deliria Nervosa which roughly translates to mean “love”. Oliver delivers a beautifully written tale of love, fear, and the consequences of a world without love.
The United States has closed its borders, no one goes in and no one gets out. The citizens have all been relocated to sanctioned areas. We know that all of this occurred after the blitz. (We aren’t sure what or why it happened) At the age of eighteen, citizens are inoculated against the disease known as Amor Deliria Nervosa. (Love). This disease is believed to be the root of all that went wrong with society. Young man and woman are tested prior to the vaccination. These tests determine their schooling, careers, and give them four perspective mates to choose from. All of this enforces the government’s motto of “Safety, Health and Community.”
When we are introduced to the protagonist, Magdalena “Lena” Haloway, she is counting down the days till her procedure. She is living in a sanctioned area in Portland, Maine. She lives with her aunt, uncle and nieces. Her mother suffered from the disease and died, nearly ten years ago. She attends an all girl’s school, as children are segregated until after they are given the cure. Side effects prevent anyone from being cured until they are eighteen. Lena lives in fear of becoming like her mother and is afraid of contracting the deadly disease.
The tale that unfolds as Lena counts down the days is absolutely captivating. Some may argue that the plot moves too slowly, until Alex comes into the picture, but I felt the world-building was necessary to make the tale believable. I loved watching the growth of Lena. She starts out as a sheep and ends up fighting against the system. It was delightful to watch. The romance between Lena and Alex progressed slowly and was believable. The second half of the book moves at a delicious pace as Lena begins to question everything she has been taught and uncovers lies, takes chances and falls in love. The ending ripped me apart, as it ends in an unbelievable, heart-stopping cliffhanger.
I highly recommend Delirium to fans of dystopias and romance. Oliver’s writing style is beautiful. The basic concept of love being a disease is so mind-boggling. While those suffering from a broken heart may find credibility in it; one also has to grasp the implications of a world without love. For example the love a mother feels for a child. How can you know true happiness if you’ve never experienced sadness? I am truly looking forward to book two in this series entitled, Pandemonium. It will be available February 28, 2012. In addition, a novella entitled Hana, tells the story of Lena and Hana’s last summer before they are vaccinated from Hana’s perspective. This will be released as an eBook on February 28th as well. Delirium is currently available in paper, audio and eBook formats.
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