Friday, 16 December 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Release Date: February 1st, 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 448
Buy The Book: Amazon

"Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It’s hard to be patient. It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t."

After reading Before I Fall I decided to seek out some more of Lauren Oliver's work. I was a little bit undecided whether I liked her previous book but I felt like her dreamy prose had promise and so I decided to see what else she'd written.

Delirium is one of the most beautiful books I've read for years. Not since I read A Certain Slant Of Light by Laura Whitcomb have I felt so completely moved by a book. The basic concept is original and intelligent, with a convincing backstory that makes for uncomfortable reading (especially with excerpts from the Book Of Shhh). A life without love is bad enough but a life without the capacity to even feel emotion... unimaginable. Those who have been 'cured' of love lose enjoyment in their hobbies, food tastes bland, friendships dissolve; it is difficult reading at times.

Lena, the lead, is convincingly straight-laced at the beginning of the novel. Abiding strictly by the rules is all she's done for her whole life, believing the stories force-fed to her by her adopted family and the government which has taken over. Her awakening to the truth of what's going on in this dystopian world does not just happen overnight; the realisation takes time. Lena struggles convincingly with the truth and struggles with trying to resist what has been drilled into her for her entire life. She is wonderfully brave and honest, with a good heart. You can't help but like Lena. Seeing her and her beliefs fall apart and build herself back into the person she is at the end of the book is thrilling and satisfying. You like to think that, should you be in her place, you'd be as brave as her.

But this is just the start. I had no idea when I picked up Delirium that it was the first of three novels, and so when the ending came I was in SHOCK (I convinced myself my book must have some chapters missing because it could just NOT END THERE). Having thought it was a standalone novel I was devastated with the ending, but now that I know it's just the beginning of the trilogy I see that it's a fantastic cliffhanger. 

Delirium feels like a more adult novel than Before I Fall. Concepts are echoed in both books, with themes of loss and identity represented strongly, but Delirium feels like a much more polished work. Lauren Oliver's prose is lyrical, fluid and beautifully written; the last few pages especially stick in my mind. This dystopian world is intriguing and I am truly excited to see what happens next. Check back for my review of Pandemonium, the next installment in the Delirium Trilogy, in February 2012.

1 comment:

Jadey21 said...

you've sold this to me Lauren, when can I borrow? :) x