Tatiana's Reviews > Delirium

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
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Dec 08, 10

bookshelves: 2010, why-the-hype, dystopias-post-apocalyptic, ya, ala-ya-2012, romancelandia
Recommended for: YA romance fans
Read from December 05 to 08, 2010

It is clear, the new genre of dystopian romance is here to stay. Apparently, paranormal romance formula I-can't-be-with-you-cause-I-might-kill-you is getting old, so now we will be bombarded with trilogies showcasing new formula I-can't-be-with-you-cause-this-bad-dystopian-world-is-tearing-us-apart. Ugh! And why did Lauren Oliver decide to dabble in this genre instead of sticking to what she knows best? I am trying to be nice here, but Oliver has no talent for speculative fiction. I worry about this career choice of hers, because as of now she, as an author, is lost to me for at least 3 years. I am not interested in more Delirium books.

I love dystopias, I love how authors take current social and political trends and extrapolate them into future showing to us what can happen if these trends persist. The versions of future envisioned by Margaret Atwood built upon consequences of excessive genetic engineering or Paolo Bacigalupi's - upon global warming and exhaustion of natural resources - are plausible and horrifying. Lauren Oliver's dystopia is based on a premise that love is considered to be a serious, life-threatening sickness, and thus outlawed. Outlawing love, apparently, solves all world problems.

Now, I can buy a world where strong emotions are suppressed (see The Giver). People in such world would be subdued and docile, and thus lack drive for power and violence. But love? Really? The characters in this book cured of love, still get aggravated, annoyed, worried. They just don't love their spouses and kids. And retain almost all other emotions.

And the "horrible" consequences such premise brings about - neighborhood patrols, segregated (by sex) schools, arranged marriages, the horror! If, according to the author, this society is so constrictive, why is it so easy for teens to avoid curfews, to have parties with alcohol, to meet up in abandoned houses for some schmexy times, to fake being "cured" of love, to breach supposedly guarded borders? What is written to be scary and menacing in the Delirium's society just isn't. As a dystopia, this novel fails completely. The only aspect of the setting that is interesting is that how author twists Christian mythos to adapt to the love-is-a-dangerous-sickness premise.

The focus of the story, and an excuse to write this dystopia, is, of course, a romance. I wish I could say I enjoyed at least this aspect of Delirium, but I didn't really. It is mildly more exciting than the one in Matched, slightly steamier, and at least doesn't have a love triangle (yet). But there is still a self-insert main character (shy, ordinary, plain) and the main male emo squeeze, quoting poetry, who falls for her anyway. I am exhausted by this arrangement.

Authors, why don't you write books about something a little more important than a month-old teen romance? Especially if you choose to create a dystopian novel, which, by definition, encompasses the entire world and supposedly endangers and oppresses all humanity.
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Reading Progress

12/05/2010 page 26
6.0%
12/07/2010 page 132
30.0% "As a dystopia it is failing miserably thus far." 8 comments
12/07/2010 page 241
55.0% "Well, I am ready for this to be over already" 1 comment
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 97) (97 new)


Gabry Hope that you like it after reading Matched!


Tatiana Hope so too:)


message 3: by Megan (new)

Megan OH i can't wait to read your review. I liked her other book and I've been excited about this one. Hope it's good!


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Wait--is this the same premise as Matched? I just realized how much I've been confusing the two.


Tatiana They are different. Matched is a poor "The Giver" rip-off, in this one lurve is outlawed. Basically, the two are similar in that they are dystopian romances.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Hmmm interesting. Thanks for straightening me out.

I will continue to steer clear of both.


Tatiana And you will be smart to do so. I have no idea why I keep doing it to myself. I like to pretend I am doing a public service:)


Jillian -always aspiring- I could see why people would be interested in this one, beyond the dystopian and forbidden love lures, because Lauren Oliver's debut novel was so well-received.


message 9: by Crowinator (new) - added it

Crowinator Oh bummer. I loved her other book, and I have a copy of "Delirium" on the way from LibraryThing Early Reviewers. But I've been so sick of bad dystopias lately; this sounds like it will be another "Wither" for me.


Tatiana I'll be looking out for your review. I am getting sick of d=bad dystopias as much as I am sick of paranormal.


message 11: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Well, I don't think *all* books need to be important or deal with important issues--sometimes a fluff book is just what one needs--but I agree with you that a dystopia probably *should* be serious. There should be some kind of issue that it's a cautionary tale about.


message 12: by Penny (new) - added it

Penny I'm disappointed. Sounds like Lauren Oliver totally sold out. I'm wondering if she did so willingly or if her publisher strongly recommended she do so. Also, from your review I gather this will become a trilogy, is that correct?

I'm tired of the majority of YA fiction. Especially the YA fiction published these days.


message 13: by Cory (new)

Cory I was so exited about this after reading her debut. Yet another writer tricked into selling their soul.


message 14: by Eve (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eve Davids Sad, I really like Oliver. Had high hopes for this one.


Tatiana Penny, Cory, that's what I though - she sold out trying to cash in on a popular trend rather than writing from her heart.

And yes, I am fairly certain it will be a trilogy. The ending is very abrupt as well.


message 16: by Tatiana (last edited Dec 08, 2010 11:09AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tatiana Kelly wrote: "Well, I don't think *all* books need to be important or deal with important issues--sometimes a fluff book is just what one needs--but I agree with you that a dystopia probably *should* be serious...."

Kelly, I agree that not all books have to be important, I just expected more from this particular author. Her debut proved that she could do much better.


message 17: by Kelly (new)

Kelly *nods* I really loved her debut. It was hugely long yet I read most of it in one sitting. While staying up about 4 hours past my bedtime to do it. *g*


message 18: by Tatiana (last edited Dec 08, 2010 11:19AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tatiana Yeah, Ashley. Leave our dystopias alone if you have nothing important to say! :)


message 19: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Re: trilogy: Yup, if you go to her author profile, it shows 2 more upcoming Delirium books.


message 20: by Megan (last edited Dec 08, 2010 12:09PM) (new)

Megan I have always abhorred romances, but lately I find myself liking them when they are told within the confines of a good story with a non-romance driven plot(again ~ Darkfever! :))

Lately it seems that a lot of would be romance writers are disguising themselves as YA or genre writers. Too bad. I mean, the [insert unusual genre here] just becomes a convienient crutch for telling the very, very old tale of falling for someone you shouldn't/couldn't/wouldn't (or would you????) Too bad.

Great review, though. I loved Before I Fall and was looking forward to this one, even though the premise does sound silly. Good to know I can push this to the back of the TBR list.


message 21: by Phoebe (new) - added it

Phoebe And the "horrible" consequences such premise brings about - neighborhood patrols, segregated (by sex) schools, arranged marriages, the horror! If, according to the author, this society is so constrictive, why is it so easy for teens to avoid curfews, to have parties with alcohol, to meet up in abandoned houses for some schmexy times, to fake being "cured" of love, to breach supposedly guarded borders?

You know, I hadn't even thought about that aspect of the world building, but you're absolutely right.

Interesting to read all these YA dystopians that treat arranged marriages like the plague. I can't help but wonder who they're arguing against.


message 22: by Rosanne (last edited Dec 08, 2010 04:35PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Rosanne Certainly seems to be the new trend in YA.


message 23: by Cory (new)

Cory Ashley wrote: "The sad thing is, "neighborhood patrols, segregated (by sex) schools, arranged marriages" are pretty normal in many places in the developed world. Sure, I wouldn't like to be in an arranged marriag..."

Exactly. This stuff is pretty normal in Middle-Eastern countries. And in Germany during 1940-44 you could find everything you mentioned going on. For a dystopia to really shock me it has to introduce something even crazier than history.


Tatiana Phoebe, it's like you said in your review, the world is supposed to be horrifying, but it's absolutely not.

As for arranged marriages, probably half of the world is still doing it.


message 25: by Flannery (new) - added it

Flannery *deletes book from TBR list*

What a disappointment! I hope she has other standalones on the way and doesn't just stick to this series. I have a question, though--Does Oliver actually explain in any sort of coherent way what made government outlaw love? I'm always interested in the politics of dystopias and it sounds like she totally glossed over any backstory...


message 26: by Tatiana (last edited Dec 09, 2010 04:39AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tatiana There is not much of an answer, not a big event or a "love epidemic" that had caused it. Just that the love was a sickness and people were agitated and depressed because of it and the government decided to stop the unnecessary heartache by starting to perform these brain operations. It wasn't very convincing.


Wicked Incognito Now Sigh. Too bad. I was looking forward to another Lauren Oliver book. I'm sick to death of dystopian worlds. If I read another futuristic story, I want it to be optimistic. I can't stand another--the world is going to hell in a handbasket and this is what could happen! Especially since most of these dystopian worlds are too unbelievable to swallow (except for a few like M.T. Anderson's Feed or the Bacigalupi book you mentioned).


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

at least try Wither, guys, even though crowinator hated it....


Tatiana I will, just need to recover after reading these crap dystopias.


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Read something wonderful like north of beautiful in the interim.


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Or the new Gary Schmidt!!!


Tatiana "North of Beautiful" is waiting for me at the library. I'll pick it up tomorrow.


message 33: by Penny (last edited Dec 09, 2010 11:14AM) (new) - added it

Penny April wrote: "Sigh. Too bad. I was looking forward to another Lauren Oliver book. I'm sick to death of dystopian worlds. If I read another futuristic story, I want it to be optimistic. I can't stand another..."

I've yet to find a story of a futuristic world that is optimistic. I think they all are "this world is going to hell in a handbasket". I mean, am I wrong? Anyone?

Okay, I (sort of) take that back. I just read The Adoration of Jenna Fox and that society wasn't all hell-in-a-handbasket-y. It was just a little off, for lack of a better word. And it raised a lot of interesting questions, though it wasn't half as intriguing as Unwind, which was a lot more of a downer but also gave me a lot to think about.

I'm almost done with Ship Breaker and I'm halfway through Windup Girl, both written by Paolo Bacigalupi. Both seem to be written in the same world (futuristic society in which fossil fuels are practically nonexistent, disease has ravaged the land, genetic engineering is fairly normal, complete lack of a middle-class), and both of them are probably the most depressing books I've read all year.

I'm taking a break from both of them because of it. This isn't typical for me. I like dystopias because they raise interesting questions/concepts, and typically they are so far fetched I don't tend to get depressed.

When it comes to Bacigalupi's books... Let's just say his books are hitting a little too close to home for me. Though they are quite good, and I highly recommend them, despite the fact I'm needing to take a break (sometimes it's just so difficult to take a good long look in the mirror, ya know?).


Tatiana I don't think I've ever read an optimistic dystopia.

As for Bacigalupi, I heard his adult stuff is even more depressing than YA.


message 35: by Halen (new) - rated it 1 star

Halen "Sounds like Lauren Oliver totally sold out" She already was a sell-out. She runs a book-packaging company. She sold Before I Fall without even having written it, because she was already in with the publishing crowd. They probably heard about Matched selling big, and basically fabricated this book to compete. Just like her packaging company did with Fallen to compete with Hush, Hush. These manufactured series are basically everything I despise about YA now-- and Oliver is a good example of this.


message 36: by Penny (last edited Dec 09, 2010 07:24PM) (new) - added it

Penny Halen wrote: ""Sounds like Lauren Oliver totally sold out" She already was a sell-out. She runs a book-packaging company. She sold Before I Fall without even having written it, because she was already in with th..."

How do you know all of this? Not saying you're making it up, but, still, how do you know? I'm not shocked that she sold Before I Fall before she finished writing it, because that happens from time to time, even with a debut novel. But how do you know about Fallen--a book I abhor, btw. That's Lauren Oliver's packaging company? Like, she actually owns the packaging company that printed that abomination? She green-lighted that piece of trash? If this is the truth, I've just lost all respect for Lauren Oliver--I kid you not.

@ Tatiana:
Windup Girl is much darker and depressing then Bacigalupi's YA series. Though, yes, I'll admit that it is quite interesting. Just not the sort of thing one wants to be reading at The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, ya know?


message 37: by Cory (last edited Dec 10, 2010 07:33AM) (new)

Cory @Halen, that makes her a total sell out. Anyone who though Fallen is a good book has zero-respectablilty points in my book.


message 38: by Eve (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eve Davids Penny and all, I dont think it's Oliver's company. I think Halen is referring to Random House. The point is its almost the same editors or a cliq of them that end up buying the garbage YA we have today. Yes, Hush H, did come out first, and Random wanted a big Angel novel too, so they quickly rushed Fallen out. The stories are all over the author's blogs and so on.
Oliver did sell both Delirium and Before I fall based on proposals. But she was an editor, so this isnt to surprising. Lauren Kate was an editor assistant or something as well, yes I know Facepalms are in order.

To be honest, I am not mad at Oliver. "Do you boo! Get that paper Lauren!" She is really down to earth and talked about celebrating with a $700 bottle of champagne when she sold her book.
Delirium wont meet other people's criteria, but if other authors are throwing this crap out and getting seven figures for it, then if Oliver wants to join the crowd, then kudos to her. At the end of the day people are buying this crap, that's why publishers are buying this crap, that's why agents are taking people with this crap, and that's why author's are writing this crap. It's a vicious circle.


message 39: by Eve (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eve Davids Cory, what's really bad with being a sell out? I am asking because I am interested in your specific opinion towards this, not really regarding the conversation babes, let me know when you have a minute!

I have read Delirium. It isnt oh shit, The Giver freakout good. But it isnt so bad either. Oliver was 25 when she wrote it and that was her second book, so I dont know why I didnt go into this book ready to be blown away. I think I knew that it was going to take a very gifted writer to make the premise *love being outlawed* freak people out, to start with.


message 40: by Megan (new)

Megan TheDuchess wrote: "...At the end of the day people are buying this crap, that's why publishers are buying this crap, that's why agents are taking people with this crap, and that's why author's are writing this crap. It's a vicious circle. "


Excellent point, Duchess


message 41: by Cory (new)

Cory There isn't necessarily anything bad about being a sell-out. I use the term to refer to someone who betrays their fandom by writing something, staring in something, or producing something really crappy to make a quick buck. Oliver might not be a sell-out, I don't know how much she had to do with Fallen, and I haven't read Delirium, but I reading all the reviews on this I have the feeling that I'm going to be disappointed.

As for sell-outs, I don't have a specific list, but Dave Chapelle is one who is not a sell-out, simply because he didn't except a whole lot of money to do something that would have turned his fanbase against him. As I said before, there isn't anything wrong with them, I just don't like authors, actors, or musicians, that do crappy work for lots of money then expect their fans to still respect them. I can't definately say Oliver is one until I read Delirium, but if she edited Fallen(I can't even get past page two of the sequel) then she is at least half of one.


message 42: by Eve (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eve Davids Thanks Megan!

@ Cory Okay, Actually Oliver had nothing to do with Fallen whatsoever. Thanks for explaining Cory.


message 43: by Cory (new)

Cory TheDuchess wrote: Okay, Actually Oliver had nothing to do with Fallen whatsoever. Thanks for explaining Cory."

Thank god for that. Now I can go back to eagerly anticipating the day I get a copy of Delirium.


message 44: by Tatiana (last edited Dec 10, 2010 12:07PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tatiana At the end of the day, I personally will always respect an author who writes from her/his heart much more than the one who just churns out whatever is popular to make money.

If Oliver chose to jump on this dystopian romance bandwagon, that's fine, only I am not interested in reading something that was created to fill some niche in the YA market.


message 45: by Halen (new) - rated it 1 star

Halen Sorry guys, I made a mistake. I was thinking of Ted Malawer and Tinderbox Books (Fallen's book packaging company), not Stephen Barbara and Paper Lantern Lit (Lauren Oliver's book packaging company). Paper Lantern Lit did not inflict Fallen upon us.

However, according to Lauren Oliver, this is how it works: "LO: It all starts with an idea (what we call a “spark”). From there, we spend months growing and expanding the idea, and developing a full and functional outline for an entire book. We pass it back and forth. We write and rewrite it. Finally, we show it to our agent, Stephen Barbara, at Foundry Media. If he believes it is viable/saleable, we go ahead and begin the process of looking for the perfect writer to bring that story to life. That can take months in some cases... But we love meeting with editors and hearing about their needs and wants because it might, in the future, inform some of our projects or influence the direction of some of our books."

They probably met with editors, heard "Matched" had just sold big, and manufactured this rival book to compete with it. "Before I Fall" sold without having been written yet, too. Here's their website if you're curious: http://paperlanternlit.com/


Tatiana Isn't it sad, that a whole team worked on Fallen and that's what came out of that effort?


message 47: by Hanen (new)

Hanen Thank you for the review, I'm removing it from my to-read list... just finished "Uglies" tetralogy and this book doesn't seem as awsome as "Uglies" was... not to mention that "Delirium" is reminding me of that movie "Equilibrium" where people are controlled with a pill that inhibit emotions especially love..


message 48: by H.I. (new)

H.I. Al-Muhairi Dystopian books are like an enjoyable kind of warning. I think what made the dystopian genre so popular is the idea of another future. Because it can be possible. It can happen. That's why we identify with our characters.

Now that you mention it, Delirium being classified as dytopian is totally off-track.

I love romance, no kidding. I like it real and reasonable. I don't want to be tricked into believing something isn't what it is. I always keep looking for real substance in books, and that's why I can't keep reading vampire/werewolf and similar crapbooks.

I can tell a romance isn't real (as in, no true feelings) if I ask myself at the end of the book if they're going to last. Kind of idealistic but that's how I am.

(Sorry for the long speech, but just wanted to put my opinion there ;P )

I'm taking the book off my list too.

I have a question that would bug me for eternity: why can't real books be as popular as pointless books?


miryame such a beatifull book too bad you did not enjoy it.


message 50: by Carolyn (last edited Feb 10, 2011 09:15AM) (new)

Carolyn Thanks for such a thoughtful review. I'm definitely not going to be wasting my time on this one. I've read quite a few dystopian books and the things you mention in your review would just drive me crazy. I want to read a book where I can sink into its world - being yanked out of it every few minutes by some implausable scenario or unreasoning assertion would be beyond annoying. That is the biggest problem I had with "The Maze" (which seemed like a bit of a follower behind The Hunger Games's popularity.)

A thought that occurred to me while reading your review - perhaps the author addressed this in the book? - but if there is no longer any love, then why still have marriage and family units? It would be much more plausible to have the state raise children on a community basis in cooperative creches, rather than in small households....

Dystopian books I recommend (though not all are YA) are Daughters of the North, Unwind, The Visitor, Far North, and I believe that everyone should read The Handmaid's Tale at least once in their lives, if not multiple times. = )


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