Stacey (prettybooks)'s Reviews > Delirium

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
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Jan 28, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: read-after-university, dystopian-or-post-apocalyptic, read-in-my-twenties, young-adult-fiction
Read from February 13 to 14, 2011 , read count: 2

December 2011 review:
I adored Delirium when I first read and reviewed it, which was back in February. I had limited experience with dystopia, only having read Matched, The Hunger Games, and Uglies, but Delirium made it one of favourite genres. I’ve come across many young dystopian novels since then, and having re-read Delirium, I can safely say that it is still one of my favourites and one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Although Delirium is a dystopian novel, it is first and foremost a love story; it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. At eighteen years old, citizens of the USA legally must undergo a procedure – a “cure” – that will result in the them being unable to love anyone ever again, whether it may be a partner, friend or family. When Alex enters her life, Lena must fight for the right to love whomever she wishes.

One of the things that I didn’t mention in my previous review, that really struck me about the novel, is the writing. Lauren Oliver has a talent for using the most beautiful, rich language and imagery to capture a moment perfectly. When I’m reading novels, I try to picture the scenes in my head and sometimes it becomes blurry. I try to focus on it but the author hasn’t provided enough detail for me to do so. Lauren Oliver is the complete opposite. She expertly describes every single scene so that the image in my head comes out crystal clear, from the description of the setting to Lena’s emotions:

“The water is an enormous mirror, tipped with and pink and gold from the sky. In that single, blazing moment as I came around the bend, the sun – curved over the dip of the horizon like a solid gold archway – lets out its final winking rays of light, shattering the darkness of the water, turning everything white for a fraction of a second, and then falls away, sinking, dragging the pink and the red and the purple out of the sky with it, all the colour bleeding away instantly and leaving only dark.

Alex was right. It was gorgeous – one of the best I’ve ever seen."

Another thing I did not pay enough attention to before (because I was eagerly rushing trough the story) is the small fragments of society – the quotation of official documents, rules and regulations, children’s songs, and poetry, which help the reader to mentally construct and imagine the world that Lauren Oliver has created. Even though the story mostly focuses on Lena and Alex’s relationship and the things they discover about each other, we’re constantly aware that they live in a restrictive and severely controlled society.

Delirium is a wonderfully emotional, heartbreaking love story set in a dystopian future. It’s both a gritty and mellow experience. If you’ve not yet jumped on to the dystopian bandwagon, I’d suggest that reading Delirium is a very good start indeed.

“Love, the deadliest of all deadly things: it kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.”


Original February 2011 review:
This book has 400 pages and I finished in less than 24 hours. That already should tell you how much I loved it.

I found Delirium to be a mixture of The Hunger Games and Matched . The premise of Delirium is that this particular dystopian society sees love (or amor deliria nervosa) as a disease that needs to be cured by an operation on the brain. Lena, our protagonist, is nearly 18 years old (the age requirement for having the operation) and is nervous yet excited about her upcoming “procedure” - until she meets Alex.

Delirium is similar to Matched in that citizens do not have a say in who they spend the rest of their life with. The government (“Officials” in Matched, “Regulators” in Delirium) choose who a person is “matched” with and there is no freedom of choice. However, this particular society goes even further and attempts to ensure that a person will never love again. This, according to the Regulators, will make the world a better place: everyone will be happier and safer because love is nothing but destructive. I personally found Delirium to be much more heartbreaking and emotional than Matched and the storyline took a lot less time to develop. The characters' rebellion and resistance to control (as with all dystopian novels!) begins a lot earlier in the novel and this is where the similarities to The Hunger Games begin. This is where we witness the brutality and cruelty of those in charge of these future societies.

However, all three novels are fantastic in their own way and Delirium offers yet another unique look at how a dystopian society could be. It made me want to read even more dystopian literature and I did not feel like I was reading recycled material. I definitely recommend this to people who are already fans of young-adult dystopian literature. And if you haven’t read it before? Do it. You’ll become addicted and emotionally involved in this wonderfully exciting but terrifying genre.

I cannot wait to read Pandemonium (the second novel in the series/trilogy). I’m just sad that I have to wait until 2012!

Thank you Hodder for sending me this book to review!

Dystopian or Not Dystopian? Dystopian

I also reviewed this book over on Pretty Books.
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Reading Progress

02/13/2011 page 138
11/29/2011 page 1
0.0% "I'm re-reading before starting Pandemonium. Ahh. SO excited. Fingers crossed that I like it as much as I did the first time I read it (back in February)." 2 comments
12/01/2011 page 227
58.0% "Ahh. I was worried that I wouldn't love it anymore but I do."
02/25/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-28 of 28) (28 new)

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Adriana Reminded me of Uglies because of the whole surgery thing to make people equal and having...what were thought to be savage people living out in the woods having different ideals than the government and majority of society.

Stacey (prettybooks) That's true! I read Uglies a long, long time ago and so I don't compare it to many current dystopias, but I do vaguely remember that.

Carisa Burns Yes it reminded me of the uglies too except The Uglies was far superior.

message 4: by Fane (new) - added it

Fane Davis i will surely love this book soon...

Jennifer Varnadore Your reviews are amazing if this novel. Severely fitting.

Morgan After reading your review I will most definitley have to read this book, even though I haven't read Dystopian before, you make it sound really good!

Stacey (prettybooks) That's brilliant! It's probably a good one to start with actually because it has a traditional dystopian storyline. It's a really exciting genre so I hope you are left wanting to read more of it. There's certainly a lot to choose from: :)

Morgan Thank you :) Do you know what other books Lauren Oliver has written? She sounds like a really good author and I need more books to read.

Carisa Burns Morgan. You can use Goodreads to do a search for any author and it will show you all books they have written, even the ones that are being written but not yet released. Hope that helps.

Morgan Thanks, I'm new to goodreads, I'll check it out :)

Tiffany I read in in less than 24 hours too!!!

message 12: by Aura (new) - rated it 2 stars

Aura Your review made me read the book and I must thank you for it!

Stacey (prettybooks) Hooray! I'm really glad you enjoyed it :)

Willa Welp I must agree. The last books I have read in order: Matched, Crossed, the Hunger Games series, Uglies series (and Divergent of course) and now I'm looking for the latest dystopian endeavors and I think it must be fate! Thank you!

'Sabell Great review! I agree. I've read all those dystopian novels, and I'm hoping somebody can reccomend something for me.(Loved Divergent, Loved this, Okay with the Hunger games, okay with matched, okay with chemical gardens) PLease help me! What else is out there? Thnks

message 16: by Stacey (last edited Jun 20, 2012 11:07PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

'Sabell THANK YOU!

Stacey (prettybooks) You're welcome! :)

Karen Graman It was amazing! Have you read The Winter's Saga by Karen Luellen? It is pretty amazing, too!

Jackie Dgk Omg i love this book series <3 read the whole book series in a week including the short delirium stories raven, annabelle, and hana

message 21: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel I'm confused... should i read delirium (#1) or annabel(#0.5) first?

Stacey (prettybooks) Delirium!

message 23: by Courtney (new) - added it

Courtney I recommend you read the divergent series and the maze runner series! :)

Stacey (prettybooks) Read both! :)

message 25: by Sandy (new) - added it

Sandy Rainwater Hey! I've been wanting to read these and after your review I'm pretty confident in it! I'm a huge girly girl, (but I also love some action and suspense mixed in) so anything with a love story I will probably read. I loved the love story in the hunger games, matched, and divergent series. How does this series compare to those books? Also, any recommendations on books are greatly appreciated! Thanks!

message 26: by Antonia (new) - added it

Antonia Pettis Just commenting to say I've ready he same trilogies and am about to read Deriluim. These reviews make me nervous though. Still haven't opened it yet.

Jessica I agree with you that Lauren Oliver's writing is very beautiful. It is actually what first drew me into the book and made it to where I could not set it down. Since reading Delirium, I have been very critical about every other books writing styles. Honestly, nothing is ever good enough anymore.

message 28: by Francesca (new) - added it

Francesca Diaz Great review!

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