I very rarely type up reviews. But I've already stayed up much past my bedtime finishing this book, and it gave me an adrenaline high that good booksI very rarely type up reviews. But I've already stayed up much past my bedtime finishing this book, and it gave me an adrenaline high that good books are supposed to give you at the end, so I thought I'd stay up a little more and share while it's still fresh in my mind.
First, let me rant for a moment about the genre of young adult books I like to call Dystopian Romance. I hate it. I love the idea of a dystopian novel, and I read every one I can get my hands on, and I'm usually disappointed. See, all these books (umm, a few include Hunger Games, Matched, The Knife of Never Letting Go, Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Uglies, Unwind, etc.) all have the wonderful premise of a dystopian future, be it the kind that is a Sterile-Safe-Orderly-Society or the Screwed-Up-Dangerous-Chaotic-Planet, but either way, they are all wide-open opportunities to build an interesting story line in a fascinating environment. But here is the big issue I have with most of those books: they have photos of hot tough chicks on the cover, which usually means there is love triangle, which further unfolds to reveal either a Hot Tough Chick or Innocent Naive Sweetheart who has a child hood male friend who is Safe and Handsome and Good. And then there comes a Mysteriously Moody Really Hot Stranger who is Slightly Dangerous and Very Fascinating. And the entire limitless opportunity for a great book dissolves into a big disappointing love triangle of sappy, confusing emotions, lengthy descriptions of male characters' eyelashes/hairstyles, heart-wrenching comparing/contrasting between Childhood Friend and Hot Stranger, stolen moments and betrayals that cause annoyingly long descriptions of the girl's guilt, and generally boring and contrived crap.
So, now that I have got that little rant out of the way, let me talk about this book. Delirium seemed promising, afterall, when they break down the 'symptoms' of love into things like 'poor decision making, increased heart rate, extreme moods,' etc, it's kind of neat to think of it as a disease, something that needs to be eradicated from society. The first book sucked. It was slow, contrived, boring, predictable, and so forth. Lena was washed up and boring and sappy. And I was so disappointed because it was such a good premise and the picture of Lauren Oliver on the cover was so cool. She just looks cool, and I was looking forward to reading the book. But I only gave it one star, and I was quite disappointed. However, the ending of the book piqued my curiosity. You mean the Mysterious and Hot Stranger with the Hair Like Burning Autumn Leaves actually died? That's unheard of. But they were in love! He opened the doors to a life of freedom and opened Lena's eyes to the plodding life of being Cured and opened Lena's heart to love and hacked through her immune system to infect her with the Deliria! And then he DIED?! Totally not expecting that. And so I grudgingly picked up the next book in the series. Another Tough Chick cover. I almost didn't read it.
But I cracked the cover this afternoon and read it straight through. It was brilliant. First, it covered every thing attractive about a dystopian society: an awesome plot of being on the run in the Wilds, an awesome plot about being undercover in safe civilization, an awesome plot about being kidnapped by an opposing rebellion, an awesome set of characters (names like Raven and Bram and Julian make me groan, but they were awesome) There were good examples of the deep grief is naturally present in dystopian societies. And the deformed mole people in NY were awesome. There was no sappy, aggravating love triangle. And Julian? He was the best! The contact and conversation and relationship that developed between Lena and Julian was so real, so sweet and original. The scene where she saw him showering under the drain was so touching that I read it out loud to my sister. There was none of that moody sappy crap, and I felt like the 'romance' aspect of the book strengthened the storyline and made it so much more interesting (which is what properly written romance should do) instead of ruining it.
And I've read books that switch perspectives every other chapter, but they're usually between different characters. I get bored with one character or scene and want to skip ahead to the next chapter. But the shift between different times in Lena's life was very nicely laid out, and as I was going along, I got completely absorbed in both stories and was equally excited to read both parts. There is so much more room in the plot like this for twists and revelations that just isn't there when you're switching between two different people who know important bits and pieces about the each other's stories. And sure enough, when I neared the end, it was BAM a twist and BAM another twist and BAM holy cow how will they get out of that one?! The only disappointment was the very last page. I guess the story was too good to be true...but I'm still waiting anxiously for the next book.
But it was a great story. Thank you, Lauren, for the best book I have read in awhile. Please write quickly.