oliviasbooks's Reviews > Delirium

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
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's review
Jul 12, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: young-adult-fiction, scifi-dystopian-apocalyptic, love-story-romance, unfinished, swapped-or-given-away, unfinished-2011, high-expectations, scb-challenge-2011
Recommended for: readers who love every YA dystopia without reserve

Okay. A review - or better a hopefully short explanation - after reading 104 pages, which in the case of "Delirium" means, I am still in the middle of the introductory chapters before the "real story" starts.

I do not know what I had expected storywise, when I pre-ordered the book. There were two factors, that made me do it, though: I had been very impressed by the author's courageous debut Before I Fall and the emotions reading it exposed me to. And - like almost every YA book lover out here - I am on the lookout for great dystopian fiction. Since I have consumed several representatives of that species which simply weren't worth the time I concluded that one by an author whose earlier work I admired should be a safe choice.

Yes, although I did not have fixed expectations concerning the story or the setting, I did have certain anticipations concerning the havoc Ms Oliver would wreak in my mind. After turning a quarter of the pages I am still waiting for my heart to contract, for my mind to reel, for my conscience to have difficulties in taking sides. Instead, I am getting a little bored, since I cannot detect something really new, and the only effort my mind is making (I feel brain-amputated, too, because I cannot love a book I am supposed to love) is to evaluate, whether the teenage heroine Magdalena’s calmness and adaptiveness and believe in the system are realistic or not. (A few weeks ago I watched a documentary about the importance of an infant’s first year for its intellectual and emotional development. Research shows that the exaggerated, fond conversation parents have with their babies – all that positive grimacing and cooing and constant contact-keeping - is so very crucial. Babies who were cared for by parents suffering severe depressions who kept blank faces and did not interact much with their infants, quickly stopped searching for emotional responses in their parents’ faces and were diagnosed as having notable developmental delays later.) Magdalena is one of the rare kids who was cuddled, comforted and loved in secret by her mom. Therefore, in my opinion, she should have more urges to have emotional outbursts than to painfully follow the rules. But I am not sure. Maybe her story is realistic the way it is depicted.

What is is not:

Riveting or shocking or frightening like, for instance, the film Equilibrium, which really shows a controlled and altered society, the consequences of the cropped ability to feel. I think even without the visuals Equilibrium as a book would have sent me into a turmoil a hundred times stronger than Delirium.

It is also not as well explained, as skillfully multi-layered, and as intricately shown from an inside-angle as The Giver by Lois Lowry, although the latter has a lot less pages to make the situation stomach-wrenchingly uncomfortable and eerie to the reader.

And last it is not as exciting as the Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld, which offers a setting that does not differ so much from „Delirium“: Authorities dealt with the human faults that led to a global catastrophe by turning everybody over 15 into pretty, rather dumb and peaceful people, who mind their jobs, meet their kids now and then and are content with partying and working. Like Lena Tally looks forward to her transformation - in her case from ugly to pretty - , to her move into the pretties’ dormitory ... until her best friend starts to install doubts into her mind. And ... whoosh ... the reader is drawn into a breathless thrill-ride that lasts three volumes and makes countless unexpected turns.
I flipped through the remaining three quarters of „Delirium“ and – as well as I can judge by catching a phrase here and there – the road to the cliffy ending seems to be pretty straight and allows time for picking pretty flowers on the way.

So. That was the explanation for my taking the next exit and grabbing the next book on my pile.
I think, I’ll go for a historical romance – highly unusual for me.

I advise the still undecided to read either The Giver, the Uglies or both and to watch Equilibrium.

Street Corner Bookers’ Pile Reduction Challenge, #11 (challenger: Kristy)
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Reading Progress

July 12, 2010 – Shelved
July 12, 2010 – Shelved as: young-adult-fiction
July 12, 2010 – Shelved as: scifi-dystopian-apocalyptic
July 12, 2010 – Shelved as: love-story-romance
March 7, 2011 –
page 104
26.46% "Is it me or is it the book. The story is exactly I had expected to be, but I am getting a litte bored, tend to count the pages left and glimpse towards the nbext book in line. And I contemplate wether it wouldn't it be more fun re-reading Ugly (Westerfeld), whichdepicts the same struggle - only the method of "operation" is different."
March 7, 2011 – Shelved as: swapped-or-given-away
March 7, 2011 – Shelved as: unfinished-2011
August 18, 2011 – Shelved as: high-expectations
October 2, 2011 – Shelved as: scb-challenge-2011
February 3, 2017 – Shelved as: unfinished

Comments (showing 1-23 of 23) (23 new)

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Corinne I'm looking forward to your review ;)

message 2: by Nomes (new) - added it

Nomes Oooh ~ I'm scared to read this for some reason... Hope you're enjoying it!

oliviasbooks Hardcover in a very good condition and avsailable for swapping within Germany!!!

message 4: by Nomes (new) - added it

Nomes what an intelligent and thoughtful review.

Having recently read an adult dystopia it has made me think the YA ones i have read really pale in comparison and seem quite foolish/childish/under-developed or there simply for making a background for some sort of forbidden love story.

If my library gets this one I *may* check it out.

I think YA dystopia is fast becoming the new YA paranormal and, unfortunately for me, a genre I may start to avoid. Also ~ I find I cannot really trust all the rave reviews that float around the blogosphere in a mass hysteria. Thank God for intelligent goodreads friends :)

oliviasbooks Thank you, Nomes. I value your reviews a lot, too.

message 6: by Nic (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nic Sorry you didn't like it Olivia. But great review. I actually did like this even though it took some warming up to. I also think it is a lot better than XVI, Matched and Wither which I have read recently.

Nomes, I think you are right about the new trend being dystopia. But I am pretty sure it won't last for long. I think mythology is going to be the next big thing! Also you mentioned you have read some adult dystopia. What do you recommend?

Corinne Calling dibs if it's still available and you're not too enoyed about me (because I call it a lot ;) )

oliviasbooks No, Corinne, I am not annoyed. Certainly not. But maybe I'll try to sell the book on Amazon's. If nobody buys it or offers an equally new hardcover to me, I'll keep it for you.

~Tina~ Wow, great review, I've been undecided about this book, so I'm glad I'm getting it through my lib instead of buying it:)

oliviasbooks Nic wrote: "Sorry you didn't like it Olivia. But great review. I actually did like this even though it took some warming up to. I also think it is a lot better than XVI, [book:Matched|7735333..."

*Grin*. Well, 2 stars is not the bottom of the rating bag ...

message 11: by Alexa (new)

Alexa Very great review, Olivia! I want to read this, but after some of the reviews I've read, I'm just not sure when I will get around to it. :p

message 12: by papalbina (new) - added it

papalbina still available for swapping?

message 13: by oliviasbooks (last edited Mar 07, 2011 07:45AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

oliviasbooks Yes, if you have got something interesting to swap ... ;-).
(see http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/...

message 14: by papalbina (new) - added it

papalbina anything you would like to read?? :P

message 16: by papalbina (new) - added it

papalbina yeah, well, me too xDD take a look at my shelves - i have a "for-tradeoff" one but it's not very up-to-date... i think i have more than 23 books available for swapping O.o i have to review my real shelves at home :P

oliviasbooks Oki. Maybe you can notify me, should you find/can part with s.th. from my two wishlists? Your trade-off-shelf doesn't match with my 'desires' ... :-O

oliviasbooks Snatched.

Selina Agreed; I had trouble reading the first half of the book. And couldn't get past how like Uglies this book was. I even posted some (13) of the similarities between them in my review. And because the similarity I was expecting so much more to happen... which it didn't really (at least, not to the extent I was anticipating). :(

message 20: by Anna (new) - rated it 1 star

Anna You should have read to page 150. That's where I am right now and it's picking up. On the other hand, its a little depressing that the book is written from Lena's POV instead of Hana's.

Catherine I have to agree with you that this book took a loooong time to provide any sort of hook, but there was enough pay off for me in the end to be pleased that I stuck with it. This is the first of Oliver's books that I have read, so I will be interested to read some more of her work outside of the dystopian universe. Thanks for your review :)

message 22: by oliviasbooks (last edited Apr 09, 2012 05:40AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

oliviasbooks Thank you, Catherine! I actually recommend Before I Fall. Very daring, but also very rewarding to create a rather unlikable heroine.

Catherine Thanks Olivia, I will definitely check it out!

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