Misty's Reviews > Delirium

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
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Jan 27, 15

it was ok
bookshelves: excited-for, juvenile-ya, arc-or-galley, signed, series, thanks-ksenia, disappointing-or-excited-for-nothin, read-in-2010, rant
Read from December 03 to 08, 2010

2.5 - 3

"I hate skin; I hate bones and bodies.  I want to curl up inside of him and be carried there forever."


Earlier this year, I fell in love with Lauren Oliver's debut, Before I Fall.  So understandably, I was very excited to hear about her next book, Delirium.  A dystopian world where love is a disease, written by the clearly very talented Oliver?  Yeah, I can get behind that.  I settled in to wait the long, cruel months until the February release date, when I got a surprise package in the mail from the Polish Outlander -- her ARC of Delirium!  Imagine my delight.  I held off reading it for a few days, just to give myself some distance from Matched, which has a very similar concept, and which I'd just finished.  But I didn't want to wait too long, so, similarities be damned, I went ahead and read it.

I'm going to try to not keep comparing this to Matched, which isn't fair -- Matched had its own review, after all -- but I do have to say that, though each is its own thing, the similarities are pretty strong, and my reaction to each was the same -- I wanted so much more than I got.

Lest you think this review is wholly negative, let me start with the things I did like.  I love the concept, and think it has the potential to be really powerful and fascinating.  There is a flow to it most of the time that kept me reading even when I was frustrated by other things.  And there are these moments that shine through, these beautiful little word gems that Oliver creates, that reminds me of why I loved Before I Fall, and why I was so excited to read this.
But.

But I was so very, very excited for this that I think I was even more let down by it than Matched, which was also something I was eager for.  Before I Fall was fresh and compelling, and I felt like so much of Oliver, so much heart and so much work, went into it.  I didn't feel the same about Delirium.  I'm not going to accuse Oliver of selling out or hopping on a trend, but I do wonder how much passion was behind this story.  It seemed sort of sloppy (and yes, I know, I read an ARC, and that may account for some of it).  But there were so many inconsistencies and questions I had that I couldn't ever commit.  I could only go along so far until logic would intrude.  I would be forced to ask myself things like, If Lena was just bitten (badly) in the leg by a dog, why does Alex kissing her seem to erase not only any pain, but even any mention of the bite, until it's like an afterthought?  How does her family not notice that either a) she's wearing pants in the middle of sweltering August, and limping, or b) she's not wearing pants and the scar is showing and she's limping?  Because it has to be one of those 2 things.  And though the "cure" may not make them care for her safety so much, it doesn't take away their suspicious natures.  [Also, setting aside the fact that she walked home, how did they just walk home?  Just like that.  With raiding parties everywhere, and her bitten terribly, they just strolled on home, illegally, down the street?  How do they get away with all the shit they get away with, in this repressive society?  Hmm...] Things like this were peppered throughout the story, and they just made it nearly impossible to buy in to what was going on.

Smaller things, too, like words and phrases and things we have now that I don't see any use for, or don't believably buy would be in the world Oliver created.  And, of course, the much bigger things, like how did all this -- the discovery of the "deliria", the cure, the restrictions, the beliefs, all of it -- come to be?  I know it may not be what Lauren intended, but with such a seemingly science-influenced dystopia, I need some good scientific reasoning, some "evidence" -- real or gov't created -- that backs everything up, some explanation or plausible scenario that lets this total overhaul of human beliefs and passions come to be in a matter of 60 years or so.  That's a very, VERY brief period of time for such a huge and total change to take place, so I need reality to intrude a little.  I need either some hints of a really big conspiracy, or something so huge and devastating that people as a whole almost go into a state of shock or numbness that allows this to happen.  Because, as a general rule, people don't willingly submit to mass lobotomies or the eradication of their feelings for the people they love -- or hate -- without some serious something acting as a catalyst.  Petty strife and crimes of passion may make you think of Eternal Sunshining your mind spotless, but in an abstract, angry, wouldn't-it-be-lovely kind of way, and not a bring-on-the-procedure kind of way.  Some science, some history, some dogma, some thing beyond the sometimes eerie, sometimes meh snippets of "texts" that start every chapter, would have gone a long way toward helping me willingly suspend my disbelief.

But even if I could have set the worldbuilding and believability aside -- no easy task in a concept novel like this -- for it to be saved, the characters and plot would have had to really shine.
But I felt like everything was a little wooden, a little cardboard, a little less than believable and real.  The love interest, Alex, was okay enough, but why should Lena care about him, and why should I?  I understand why he cares about Lena, but that's not something we really find out until Lena is already head over heels infected/in love, and I don't understand how she got there.  As a reader, in order to take that leap with a character, we need to know why, we need to feel it.  All I got was that he was a boy who payed attention to her, he winked, he smiled, he seemed a bit smarmy and she's hooked.  Now, yes, I get that's enough for a teenage infatuation, and it may be heightened by the taboo nature of it.  I even get that his more easy manner reminded Lena of her mother, who was incurable.

But for Lena, who has always been terrified of the deliria, which tore her world apart, and who has always looked forward to her procedure, and been so afraid of stepping out of the box, who is afraid to say, to even hear, the word love -- for her to completely flip and become reckless and passionate and all the other stuff that comes with being the things she's always feared...hmm.  The only way this really works for me, the only thing that would make me buy it and appreciate it, was if it took the slant that the deliria was real and she'd become infected.  Otherwise, I have no choice but to think this is a cheesy, run of the mill YA romance where one look from a guy makes a girl throw her entire being out the window and become a swooning, fluttery mess with no relation to the person she once was, and who would die for the roguish boy she knows nothing about.  Which is, apparently, what every teenage girl is secretly waiting to do.
Maybe the deliria is real.

Reviewed December 19th, 2010
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Reading Progress

02/14 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 54) (54 new)


message 1: by Becky (new)

Becky Oh no! No good? I had high hopes for this one.


Misty Me too. I think some people will like it, but I had some real issues.


message 3: by Heather (new) - added it

Heather I think a three star is pretty favorable for this review! I don't think I'll be picking it up any time soon...maybe in a few years when the whole series is over and done with. Excellent review as always, Misty.


message 4: by Elisa (new)

Elisa Ah, man...no one seems to be reviewing this one positively. You think you'll move along with the series?


message 5: by Misty (last edited Mar 31, 2011 05:47PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Misty I almost knocked it back to a 2, but I didn't necessarily dislike it that much, I was just sort of unimpressed. It wasn't bad per se, it just could have been so much more. It was meh, and 3 is right in the middle, so a perfect meh.
[Edit: I did knock it back to a 2...]


Misty And thanks. :D


Misty Thanks! And you're welcome. :P


Meagan I loved your review, and a agree with a lot of it..


Misty Thanks! :)


message 10: by Taxandria (new)

Taxandria Awesome review.


Misty Thanks, Momo! :)


Schay Fuck yes. Completely agree with what you said about the numerous inconsistencies. That 60 year thing especially bothered me >_<


Misty Yes! What WAS that? How in hell are we supposed to believe anything when that's how we start off?


Schay Lol, I don't think Ms Oliver paid attention in her sociology classes xD
So tell me...is it worth reading the rest of it? I'm up to the part where Alex saw Lena with Brian, and she chased after him...


Misty I think it stayed pretty consistently meh throughout the whole thing, so if you don't like it now, it's probably going to remain that way.
And the ending is...frustrating for those who care, and predictable for those who don't. (That is to say, there isn't much of one. Something big and dramatic happens and it's over, no resolution, total cliff-hanger, if you care enough about the characters to feel anticipation)


message 16: by Schay (last edited Jun 11, 2011 09:05AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Schay Aaahh, totally understand what you mean :D I figured out that things could go two ways, but I think it would've been more interesting if Lena had been 'cured'.
Despite this, I just know I'm going to read the next book :|


Misty Haha. I *might* depending on feedback from people I trust. Because the thing is, I really really liked Before I Fall. I was looking forward to Delirium.
We'll see...


Misty You are completely entitled to disagree. That's the beauty of reading. And yes, I am a fairly critical person, especially when I am looking forward to something and it lets me down. I loved Before I Fall and I love dystopias, so this did let me down, unfortunately.
As for things I liked, allow me to quote myself:
"Lest you think this review is wholly negative, let me start with the things I did like. I love the concept, and think it has the potential to be really powerful and fascinating. There is a flow to it most of the time that kept me reading even when I was frustrated by other things. And there are these moments that shine through, these beautiful little word gems that Oliver creates, that reminds me of why I loved Before I Fall, and why I was so excited to read this."


Kat Kennedy I completely disagree...you are so critical....did you enjoy any part of this book??

This is a fair, balanced, well-reasoned review.

Perhaps if you can not contain yourself, you should stick to only reading 5 star reviews that will leave you in a pleasant comfort zone.


Misty Kat wrote: "This is a fair, balanced, well-reasoned review."

*blushes*

;)


message 21: by Eve (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eve Davids Annelise wrote: "I completely disagree...you are so critical....did you enjoy any part of this book??"

This makes no sense. Sorry.


message 22: by Eve (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eve Davids Great review. I love Oliver,but I also have my gripes with her.


message 23: by Cory (new)

Cory TheDuchess wrote: "Annelise wrote: "I completely disagree...you are so critical....did you enjoy any part of this book??"

This makes no sense. Sorry."


I'm lost as well.

Anyway, nice review. I don't plan on finishing this book unless I'm terribly bored. I expected much, much more from Oliver.


Misty Thanks!


Misty O_O


Misty I go away for 1/2 an hour...
Can't leave you people to yourselves.
*walks away muttering*


;)


Kat Kennedy [image error]


Misty Kat, you are MY FAVORITE PERSON EVER.


Misty (aside from Fry, of course. ;p)


Kat Kennedy Well, I never would reasonably expect to beat out Fry, naturally!


Misty Hahaha


Misty Um...thanks for the warning?
;)


Misty Annelise, are you on drugs?

(And neither. Honey Nut Cheerios, obvs.)


Kat Kennedy The only meme I could possibly use right now would be insanity wolf and I'm afraid that it would be a little too subtle and perfect for this situation... That's quite scary really, when you think about it.


Misty Ha!


Shannon I was also kind of disappointed with this. I didn't really care for Alex and I got frustrated with Lena sometimes. But the word gems, as you call them, were breathtaking.


Misty She's a talented wordsmith, there's no denying that. And I think maybe one day, I'll circle back around to this series and give it another try. But I was let down, for sure.


Christelle A really great review. Raises some really great questions!
However, I have personally read Before I fall almost a year ago so I have completely forgotten the way Lauren Oliver wrote. So, when I read Delirium and the whole series I was very pleased, maybe it's because I did not set any expectations like you.


Misty I really wonder what I would have thought of it if I'd read it before Before I Fall - and before Matched, which I read at the same time, and which is VERY similar. I'm glad I didn't, though, because then if I still hadn't liked it, I may have chosen not to read BIF, which would have been a shame.


Chloe It was great! Read it! U may like it. It's just her opinion not yours! So I say give it a chance!


Misty Chloe wrote: "It was great! Read it! U may like it. It's just her opinion not yours! So I say give it a chance!"

...Who are you talking to?
And I would never advocate not reading a book someone's interested in, though I may recommend ones I think are better.
So... Thanks for the input?


message 42: by Andi (new)

Andi It was nice to read your review. I felt the story was a bit so-so myself and I'm happy to see someone else saw the fact that the story wasn't backed up with a good backstory and the main character flip their personality in a complete 360.


Misty I think there are a number of us out there that were less than impressed with this one.


message 44: by Andi (new)

Andi Misty wrote: "I think there are a number of us out there that were less than impressed with this one."

True, but I'll probably read the next one. A friend of mine felt the same way with the first book but she really enjoyed the sequel. Worth giving a try at least.


Misty I think I'll give it a try eventually, just because I know her writing can be fabulous, even if it wasn't here. But it's not high on my priorities...


Jessica Before I Fall was so fantastic. I've read all her other books. . . Before I Fall was sooooo fantastic . . .


Misty Eesh. Doesn't improve, eh?


Misty Did you read her middle grade one too, Jessica? I can't think of the name of it offhand, but I have that one, and was hoping it would be worth the read...


Jessica I read Liesel and Po (which I did love), and just read The Spindlers. Spindlers was okay. I think my 8yo will like it.


Misty I forgot about The Spindlers - I have that one, too! Glad to hear Liesel & Po is good, at least. One of these days, I'll get around to them...


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