In one word: Breathtaking. We bloggers seem to throw that word around a lot, but I mean it. My first thought after closing the book was "I wonder if that's how people felt the first time they read Romeo and Juliet.." (And I mean those who set out to read it by choice. Not those of us who had it shoved down our throats at age thirteen when we didn't have the slightest idea of what love was.)
I had high expectations for Delirium. How could I not? Before I Fall was fantastic. But Delirium took me to a level that I'm not even sure I can put into words. I could probably make a list a mile long, of all the times I stopped reading to think about something I had just read. Not because I didn't understand it, but because I did. It made me look at things in ways I never had.
Imagine a world without love. Not just a world without romantic love, but a world without love in general. Compassion, sympathy, these are things of the past. I think it's best said in Oliver's own words:
"Hate isn't the most dangerous thing. Indifference is." Pg 362
The story starts with an emotionless heap of an MC. At first I thought, if this will be her voice the entire time, I'm not going to be able to finish it. She didn't seem to feel anything, and all she seemed to do was regurgitate facts, to herself as well as those around her. But it didn't take long to realize that Lena was just a product of her environment. She was the result of a force fed dogma. (Sound familiar? I won't get into that.) Once she started seeing things, and feeling things, she became an individual. From the first sign of that, I was hooked.
The story hooked me. The characters hooked me. The writing hooked me. But it was so much more than that. This book managed to reach a part of me that hasn't been touched in a long time, if ever. It made me almost welcome those hearts and flowers from yesterday with open arms. (I said almost.) I've read romance novels, I've read the tragedies, I've read Sparks. I love (most) of them almost as much as the next girl. But nothing, nothing, made me feel the way this book did. I'm not sure I can explain it. I'm not sure I would explain it if I could. I think it's something you have to experience for yourself.