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
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.