Jacki's Reviews > Delirium

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
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's review
Apr 28, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: teen-fiction, science-fiction

Summary: Lena lives in a future United States in which it's been decided that love is a fatal disease. Everyone has an operation at age 18 that renders them incapable of love, and then they are paired up with a spouse and told how many children they should have. Lena can't wait for her operation, but her friend Hana is having second thoughts and mixing with a dangerous crowd. Lena is terrified for Hana, until she meets handsome Alex and begins to question everything she's ever thought was right and safe.

Verdict: Cardboard + treacle = book. Move over, vampires/werewolves/fairies, a new shallow romance subgenre has come to town!

Positive: Well, for people who thought Uglies was too bitter and not enough sweet, or that Hunger Games was too bloody and unsettling without enough tongue action, this could be a great change of pace. It's not just dystopia, it's dystopian romance, with all the emphasis on the romance.

Negative: Hugely disappointing! The premise makes no sense. Numbing everyone's emotions like in The Giver? That would create a more peaceful society. Luring everyone into a lobotomy with the promise of physical perfection like in Uglies? That would also do it. But taking away one positive emotion and leaving all the others like anger and hate? That's something a Bond villain would threaten to do unless the UN paid him off. Dystopian novels work best when the dystopian characteristics are things that could logically result from current society.

Speaking of society, this book suffers from a serious world-building deficit. Apparently American society hasn't changed, except no one drives very much because oil is so scarce. So...how is the country still running? How are these deliveries of livestock that are mentioned early on accomplished? You can't move a stock truck without oil and gas! There's none of that funky technology usually associated with this genre. The backstory is paper-thin.

The love story isn't exactly detailed and believable, either. Lena meets Alex, decides he's cute and nice, and then suddenly she's willing to risk her life to be with him. I guess that's understandable, since she's been segregated from boys her entire life. Obviously her hormones are going to latch onto the first attractive male she ever meets. Ever. She's an uber-virgin! But her character and his are so shallow, there's no chemistry.

Also, the book needed to lose 150-200 pages. I got really tired of the long distance runs with the best friend and the endless reflecting and angsting. I didn't feel that the plot picked up until page 300. The fact that I kept going is a huge testament to how much I don't want to do my research paper.

Better dystopian reads: Uglies, Ship Breaker, The Hunger Games, The House of the Scorpion, Among the Hidden, The Giver, Biting the Sun... There are a lot of options, folks. A lot of options.

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Reading Progress

April 28, 2011 – Started Reading
April 28, 2011 – Shelved
April 28, 2011 –
page 10
April 29, 2011 –
page 60
April 29, 2011 –
page 85
April 30, 2011 –
page 154
34.92% "I wish the action would get a move-on. The book is pretty far-fetched."
April 30, 2011 –
page 176
April 30, 2011 –
page 226
April 30, 2011 –
page 283
May 1, 2011 –
page 295
66.89% "I hate this book and I want it to die."
May 1, 2011 – Shelved as: teen-fiction
May 1, 2011 – Finished Reading
March 25, 2012 – Shelved as: science-fiction

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Julia (new)

Julia I have heard many things about this book. Intriguing?

Jacki It sucks. It just sucks! I'm so mad at this book for sucking so much! The premise is ridiculous, there is no world-building beyond "so no one drives much because we are out of oil and no one feels love" and no character development, the romance is flat because both the leads are cardboard, and worst of all, it's going to be a trilogy, so Lauren Oliver has jumped on the dystopia bandwagon where she doesn't belong for THREE YEARS. I can't believe this made the Best Fic for YAs list, because it SUCKS. It's just a bad rip-off of The Giver or Uglies, and it's very similar to Matched, which just came out and was bad enough on its own.

And now I would like to point out that you handed me the soap box. All I did was get up on it. :)

message 3: by Julia (new)

Julia Wow. Just...wow.

Jacki But, there are a lot of people whose reviews I've seen that are all, "Oh it's so beautiful like Romeo and Juliet blah blah freakin' blah," so maybe I'm just bitchy? But seriously, it's awful. The writing is even terrible.

Jacki Ugh. It got worse before it got better. And by "got better," I mean "ended."

message 6: by Scott (new)

Scott LOL! I think you should call your future Shelfawareness column "Take No Prisoners Reviews".

Jacki Oh, no, they all have to have a positive tone. They won't be like my Goodreads reviews at all. If they ever send me some freaking galleys! They were supposed to have gone out last Monday and the Friday before that, and we were told to expect them in 5 days. But it was media mail, so I figure 5 days may be wishful thinking.

message 8: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Jacki wrote: "Oh, no, they all have to have a positive tone. They won't be like my Goodreads reviews at all. If they ever send me some freaking galleys! They were supposed to have gone out last Monday and the Fr..."

How many are they sending? Can you tell us anything about what you are reading or would you have to kill us if you did?

Jacki I don't know how many. They don't have a notification system yet that tells people specifically what to watch for, although the next batch is supposed to. I can tell you what I've got. I just have to, you know, get them. :/

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