Thursday, February 17, 2011

Delirium - Lauren Oliver


Last fall, I was nudged gently by Rhapsody Jill to read "Before I Fall" by Lauren Oliver. What are friends for, but to give us recommendations that blow our minds and change the way we think about our lives? When the opportunity presented itself to receive an ARC of Oliver's new release "Delirium", and first of a trilogy (of course), I didn't even care what it was about. Just bring it on. I'm buying what she's selling.

Synopsis: Some kinds of love can be a good thing...love for your pet kitty, or your grandmother. But passion? People can act pretty irrational, even stark raving mad, under the grip of that kind of love. It can cause people to kill, cheat, steal, or even cause wars. That is the conclusion of a future US of A, and therefore, once a person reaches the age of 18, they will be "cured" of this disease forever - emotional neutering, if you will. They will be evaluated, and offered a choice of a handful of mates, they will have kids and live their lives as a calm, rational, unemotional law-abiding citizen.

17 year-old Lena loves her life, her best friend Hana, and running. She is still haunted, however, by the suicide of her mother when she was young. Her mother couldn't be cured, and it drove her mad. Lena is afraid she may have some of that gene in her, so the quicker she gets this over with, the better.

Until she meets Alex. He has the scar of the cured, but has a joie de vivre that suggests otherwise. And...he thinks Lena is beautiful. Through Alex, Lena learns of an underground movement against the authorities, of a world she's been sheltered from her entire life, and she learns about crazy, intoxicating, delirious love. She only has weeks until her cure though, and she is scheduled to marry some skinny dude with allergies. How will she be able to live without Alex in her life? How will she be able to live without love?

My thoughts: From the outset, I thought the premise of a world without love was a tad bit silly. No, really. The government lobotomizes people and sucks the emotion out of them to control them? Please! But an intellectual I am not, and I decided I could get behind this idea without further analysis. Once I dropped the tendency to mentally pick, I was swept away. All that teenage angst and euphoria just washed right over my 44 year-old self. Hey, I've been there. I remember.

The connection between Lena and Alex is almost immediate. It may seem a little too hasty, but again, been there done that. These are teenagers we're talking about here. And their relationship sizzles. Not in a sexual way (for those of you wondering whether your daughter should read the book), but in an almost spiritual way. Sparks almost fly off those pages.

The world-building definitely brought an appropriate amount of gravitas into the mix. Despite the wackiness of the government messing with affairs of the heart, these guys mean business. If anyone attempts to cross fences into The Wilds and are caught, they are executed without trial. If "regulators" unearth sympathizers, or even catch someone out after curfew, they might bash their heads in with a billy club, turn their bloodthirsty dogs on them, or dump them in the prison called The Crypts where you are left to rot. It seemed alot like Nazi Germany, personally, and was scarey.

There are moments of beauty in the pages, and there are scenes that made my heart pound. The ending is sudden, violent, and leaves many unanswered questions. I told you I didn't really care what the book was about upon receiving it, so I had no idea originally that this was a trilogy. As a result, the ending about made my head explode. HOW DARE THEY LEAVE ME LIKE THIS??? After my frantic, slobbering e-mail to Jill, she soothed my nerves by telling me there was more to come. Thank God.

The book wasn't exactly a mind-blower like Before I Fall. The plot wasn't as tight, and there were a lot of theoretical snags with which you could get hung up on. But I'm frankly tickled this story isn't over.

Want the opinion of Jill (Rhapsody in Books) on "Delirium"? Hop on over here, for the second part of our one-two punch.

4 out of 5 stars




22 comments:

Nymeth said...

What are friends for indeed? And Jill's recommendations are some of the best. Clearly I need to read Lauren Oliver.

farmlanebooks said...

Before I Fall is still near the top of my list. I will get to it soon :-)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I *love* your synopsis! How do you do that so well? And without even singing? :--)

Anna said...

Okay, you've convinced me that I really need to check out this author. I'll pack my own one-two punch by putting myself on hold for both at the same time. ;)

Zibilee said...

I need to read this one and Before I Fall really soon. Oliver sounds like she really knows how to create a plot that will leave you craving more, and I have been hearing such wonderful things about this book all over the place. Great review! Now I am off to check out the other half!

Avid Reader said...

I've been meaning to read both Before I Fall and this one. I'm seeing them everywhere! I think Before I Fall might have won the spot as my first Kindle book. It sounds like just the addictive read I need to get hooked on my e-reader. Great review!

Carrie K. said...

I'm heading to Spokane for a weekend with the hubby, and Delirium is on my shopping list when we stop at Barnes & Noble. :)

Meg said...

I already wanted to read this one -- but now? Now, I'm desperate to get my little hands on it. Thanks for a great review!

Alyce said...

I loved Before I Fall so much that I didn't care what her next book was, I knew I'd be reading it (haven't yet, but plan on it as soon as I can). The fact that it is a dystopian story is just icing on the cake. Glad you liked this one!

bermudaonion said...

I think I can suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy this one. Great review!

The Bumbles said...

Hmmm - sounds a lot like Huxley's Brave New World - government knowing what is best for the masses by neutralizing emotion. Thank goodness there are always determined rebels.

Darlene said...

I still need to read Before I Fall. I do want to read this one too though. It sounds so good and I always love to get myself into yet another series. Great review- glad you liked it!

Meghan said...

I thought this book was pretty awesome myself - but I keep reading people saying Before I Fall was actually even better! I've bought it now, but I'm almost afraid to read it with all the hype floating around.

Anyway, I had those little nitpicky things too, but mostly after I'd finished. While I was reading, I just wanted to keep reading!

heidenkind said...

I don't care what they say I won't stay in world without loooove!

Julie P. said...

Wow -- these books sound so good! I'm going to have to read these. I think I'm missing out!

Melody said...

I've read so many rave reviews on this! I need to get it!

Trisha said...

Recommendations - the bane and joy of my existence. :) I really need to read Before I Fall...someday

caite said...

ok, you two are ganging up again, with your Oliver books...I remember how that went the first time and you ain't going to sucker me in again. ;-)

Sarah said...

Came over here from Jill's blog to see your review of the book. I actually liked it better than Before I Fall, and I think Oliver's writing is just beautiful and breathtaking! I agree that the idea of removing love is a bit silly, but it's also so tragic, isn't it?

Ti said...

I think if an author knows that a book is book #1 in a trilogy, it should be noted somewhere. I remember loaning The Passage to a friend and he was like, "Wha??" at the anticlimactic ending until I informed him that it was part of a trilogy.

I've not read an Oliver book yet but everyone is telling me to read Before, first.

Jenners said...

I've been very curious to see what the thoughts are on this one. I'm considering waiting until they are out before getting invested in it. Now I have to go read Jill's take.

Alice Teh said...

Before I could read Before I Fall, I'm being given another suggestion of Lauren Oliver's good books. Hmmm... Sandy, I think I'm in trouble.