Veronica Roth's Reviews > Delirium

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
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's review
Nov 08, 2010

Read on August 29, 2010

(Originally on the blog, here.)

This concept could easily have gone awry. Stories about love tend to go that way sometimes. They wander into the realm of cheese and never return, which I think is a shame, because there is a way to write about romantic love without breaking out the Velveeta. And Lauren Oliver does it.

A few reasons why I loved this book:

1. It was well-written. Lauren Oliver strings words together like a poet-- she makes beautiful things surprising, if that makes sense. Sometimes writers fall back on the expected, and it can still be beautiful, but that's not Delirium. Unexpected and stunning-- that's how I would describe the writing.

Read this quote: "Somewhere deeper in the city a motor is running, a distant, earthy growl, like an animal panting. In a few hours the bright blush of morning will push through all that darkness, and shapes will reassert themselves, and people will wake up and yawn and brew coffee and get ready for work, everything the same as usual. Life will go on. Something aches at the very core of me, something ancient and deep and stronger than words: the filament that joins each of us to the root of existence, that ancient thing unfurling and resisting and grappling, desperately for a foothold, a way to stay here, breathe, keep going."

2. The world felt real. With some dystopian books, I have trouble believing that the world could actually turn out that way, even given the right set of circumstances. But with Delirium, I got the sense that it took place in an actual neighborhood, one that I could go and see, but with this looming sense of awfulness that is the fact that no one loves each other, no one can love each other. It's just a few notches away from where we are-- add a few dashes of government control and a "cure" for love and a few more rules/procedures/rituals and you have the world of Delirium. It does not feel like somewhere else; it feels like here.

One thing that helped this were the quotes at the beginning of each chapter, taken from made-up historical/religious/etc. documents related to the "dystopian concept". They gave me the sense that this entire movement in history had occurred before the opening of the novel, and that if I kept reading I could connect the dots from where I stand today and where Lena stood in the narrative.

3. It wasn't just a love story. Oliver's focus is not just on how romantic relationships are impacted by the love cure; she also went into the realm of family and friendship, too. About how those relationships break without love, and about how friendships would change without love. What I love about this is the way it's done-- with subtlety, so that you almost don't notice how terrible things are until suddenly, you do, and you ache for what Lena has lost as a result of the world's dissolution. Something I'd like to see more of in YA books is an exploration of many different kinds of relationships, not just romantic ones, so this book did that for me.

4. The ending. I'm not going to tell you what happens. But...AHHHH.
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Quotes Veronica Liked

Lauren Oliver
“I love you. Remember. They cannot take it”
Lauren Oliver, Delirium

Reading Progress

08/29 page 264
01/30 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 57) (57 new)

vanessa bastardo AHHHH, too...

vanessa bastardo AHHHH, too...

Krissy Larosa I couldn't agree with you more about anything!!! This is so true.

Hannah DuPerron That ending... I KNOW RIGHT!?

Heloisa Freitas Those were the 3 things that made me fall in love with the book, too. and AHHHH indeed.

Emily Yeah, AHHH!!!!

*Lynn* I haven't finished the book, but I'm close. But after reading you review I just wanted to say I absolutely agree with everything you said. Great reivew. I can't wait to get to the end!

Erin This book was so amazing

Ryan Grooms The ending... The book was total jaw dropping. I figured it would be a good romantic but it took my breath away. I finished it, in roughly 10 hours. Picked it up and couldn't put it down. The ending, had me crying and screaming at the same time, not many books can do that. GREAT book!

Aurora Lucas <3

message 11: by Abby (new) - rated it 5 stars

Abby Hart I just hated that ending! It still makes me want to scream WHY!?

Holly Yes, I was so shocked at the END!!!! NEED TO READ SECONNNDDD BOOKK!!!

Janet Very well stated - I was entralled by her writing, as well...I have passed it on to several young people who also loved it, so can't wait for the 3rd one!

message 14: by Daniela (new) - added it

Daniela i am actually dying whist waiting for the 3rd book after reading pandemonium! The way the 2nd book finishes on that name is just brilliant and frustrating! completely agree with you review, veronica, but i still have to say that NOTHING (maybe Harry Potter...) can beat Divergent!!

Maria I totally agree with what you wrote. The ending specially WOW.. It brought tears to my eye :o( . I am just starting the second book now and I hope it can give me a bit of light after the sad ending of the first book...

message 16: by Robin (last edited Oct 20, 2012 01:32PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Robin Scott I have to comment regarding the earlier mention of Divergent. As readers, we know that our reactions to books are very personal and unique things. I personally could not get more than 25 pages into Divergent but read Delerium in a day of stolen reading time!

message 17: by Ira (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ira Singh AHHH exactly!! :')

Hannah I agree!! It's such a beautiful book!! I must say, I really loved Divergent as well, it is one of my all time favourites!!

Stephanie 1) Divergent is amazing...
2) Insurgent is MORE amazing...(But really... "Then the shouting begins." You can't end with "Then the shouting begins" and not have the third book out by like the next day because now all I can do is come up with one wild conspiracy after another trying to figure out what happens! One includes aliens, but I'm not putting any money on that one.)
3)Delirium is amazing...
4) Okay, so where to begin with Pandemonium... Fist off, I love the title. Pandemonium was first used in Paradise Lost to describe Satan's "Great Hall" of a sort and that perfectly fits the feel of the book. The writing of this is stunning as all of Oliver's books have been so far- no, really, her words are alive in a way that most authors can't grasp, almost like poetry- but I don't know how I felt about this novel's plot..

*** spoilers****

I didn't like the whole love triangle thing. It just was too predictable. I was hoping to read something fresh, like a girl who looses the man she loves and learns to love again... a friend from my high school had her boyfriend pass away the day before he was planning to proposed to her, and I was really anticipating to see how this kind of thing would play out in the book since most stories don't take that road. But then as I foresaw Alex came back. I think this is going to limit the depth of thought that the third book could have achieved, but maybe I am wrong, and it will be the most amazing thing ever (After Harry Potter, of course...) Welp, here's hoping (:

Saru (Queen of Bookland) I know that ending...

And on an unrelated note...

I LOVE YOUR BOOKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

message 21: by Book (new) - added it

Book Worm This has nothing to do with Delirium but...
I LOVE YOUR BOOKS SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!! OBSESSED WITH FOUR/TOBIAS!!!!!!! I have forced all my friends to read it, and they all loved Divergent too!!!! Your are an amazing author, and I want to thank you so much for writing such an amazing book like Divergent. I AM SO EXCITED FOR THE THIRD BOOK!!! I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE MOVIE!!!!! I FLIPPED OUT WHEN THEY CASTED FOUR!!!!!!!!! I just want to say thank you again for that and yah..... thanks.

message 22: by Ria (new)

Ria Agh! I agree with all of that... But the ending!! You better not kill of Four!! Out of all the books I've ever read Four is my 2nd fave character, followed by Tris!

message 23: by Sam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sam heard mixed reviews for this book, but since you like it i'll take your word for it :)

∞ღнαrιღ∞ YES this book was perfect!!!

Brittani I'm so glad you liked Delerium. All the negative reviews are disappointing.

Divergent is my favorite book ever. I read it four times within a month or two.

FallingAngels I'm glad you liked it!

message 27: by Kopal (new) - added it

Kopal House Of Hades, Delirium, and my copy of Allegiant will co-incidentally be delivered on my birthday. :P Goodbye studies, you'll not be missed.

message 28: by Nifa (new) - added it

Nifa didn't know if i should read this or not for a long wanna read because of your review..

Catherina I loved this so much it was so amazing . I expected it to be a sappy love story with the usual happy ending. The ending was really good and it took me by surprise but i love it.

message 30: by Smackey (new)

Smackey McKids Of course you could believe in such a incredulous dystopic future as it is a lot like Divergent's lol. Anyway, you're hot so who cares.

Emeralgreenlove I have not read the second book yet (just finished the first and started on the 2nd chapter of the Pandemonium) and can I just say, that I wish I had Oliver in front of her just so I could punch her.

Rachel I haven't read it yet, but I checked it out of the library about two days ago, most thought it was terrible, but it really intrigued me. What should I expect?

Emeralgreenlove Strong emotions, @Rachel. The characters are very lovable and realistic although a bit submissive at times. However, the book in itself is great :)

Rachel Emeralgreenlove wrote: "Strong emotions, @Rachel. The characters are very lovable and realistic although a bit submissive at times. However, the book in itself is great :)"
Thank you! I started it and so far its great!

message 35: by Khakwani (new) - added it

Khakwani looks like a must read

Susan cossio ikr the ending it gave me too many FEELS.

Thalia Perales The ending made my eyes fill with tear and I was just laughing because I felt stupid that I was crying. The ending was just so beautiful

Bethany Dowling Yeah, but you wrote Allegiant you would love the end, killing a main love interest and all :P

message 39: by Luke (new) - rated it 4 stars

Luke Your review mirrors my thoughts exactly!

Loredana Sporeanu The ending made me cry so hard. I just hope get better in the second book.

Bethany Dowling Loredana wrote: "The ending made me cry so hard. I just hope get better in the second book."
Thats the spirit!

Grace Agnew love this

Sarah Maddox It wasn't as bad as the end of Allegiant.

Karrilynn Spot on!

message 45: by Madison (new) - added it

Madison Smith I'm soon glad u liked this book I devoured it every word rolled off my tongue leaving a sweet after taste

also I love Divergent but read series in four days! Why is it over and why did she die? I understand your concept though

Sofie I really want to start reading this book, sounds soooo good.

Btw, your books r AWESOME!!

Kenzie Pukallus Finished it last night, and yeh AHHHH but with tears. I cried like crazy, but im still so confused, because there was a few chapters of the second book in the back, and i am totally lost. Anyone understand the ending in Delirium??

Keisi Mancellari Just you wait for requiem ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

message 49: by Anna (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna Rotaru yes the ending was the best part of this book

message 50: by Cady (new) - added it

Cady Stories about love tend to go that way sometimes. They wander into the realm of cheese and never return

I can't help but be reminded of Divergent.

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