As you guys know, I am participating in the Dystopia Reading Challenge hosted by Blog of the Erised. My goal to at least get to the Rebel level. I have to say that I am moving along nicely too.
I have had Delirium on my to-be-read list for quite some time. I had read Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver, in 2010 as a ARC book and really enjoyed her writing style.This challenge gave me a good reason to finally get to it. I want to remind you guys that I may include spoilers and so if you are interested in my spoiler-free review then you may want to check out my Goodreads review.
The Basic Premise
Delirium takes place in Portland, but in this world the government has found that love is a problem and the cause for many ailments and leads to death. Yes, love is a major problem and they have developed a cure for it. Lena was raised in the world after the cure, and cannot wait to go through the procedure. She lost her mother to that awful emotion and she sees the cure as the beginning of her new life and in a way it will be the beginning of her life since after the surgery she will be matched with her husband and can attend college.
The world seems pretty organized and it seems that everything is running smoothly, but there is a contingent of people who do not think that the cure is a good thing. People who do not have the cure and live outside the city limits (in The Wild) are called invalids. The Invalids cannot marry, hold jobs, and are believed to live like savages and the government would like people to believe that they have been eradicated. Even though the government wants their citizens to believe all is well, there are hints of unrest and as the day of her surgery approaches Lena begins to see that the tidy and predictable world around her is filled with secrets… And maybe the things she liked about the world she lived in may not be what she likes after all.
What I Liked
I really liked Alex. I have not talked about Alex yet, but Lena meets Alex on a run after her pre-surgery evaluation. Actually, she sees him during her evaluation while a whole bunch of cows are stampeding the clinic that she is in. At that moment, she knew that he was different. She runs into him multiple times and soon she finds his allure to be more than that… it is love. Through Alex, Lena and the reader (meaning me) can see what this world is missing and the side effects that a world without love means.
I had a love/hate relationship with Hana. I really liked her relationship to Lena and what her character added to the story. She was more adventurous than Lena on the surface. Without Hana, Lena may not have met Alex. Without Hana, Lena would not have been placed in situations that challenged her view of the world that she thought she wanted. I was disappointed that Hanna did not seem to grow throughout the story, I was hoping that she would become more dynamic. In fact, when I started the book I had planned to read Hana, but as the story progressed I found that I really did not have an interest in learning more about her.
One of my favorite things about the book were the excerpts from “The Book of Shhh”, which was kind of the guidebook to the citizens about living without love, the rewritten bible, and the other songs and quotes from different literature from their society.
I especially thought that the Adam and Eve excerpt was pretty interesting. I found that they really helped me understand the propaganda that Lena and the other characters where surrounded by.
What I Did Not Like
I have to admit that I really struggled with the concept of love as a disease, especially a disease that ends in death. I also struggled with how the world got to where they were. This is a dystopian society, but the book did not go into great detail on how it became that way. It is one thing to find a cure for love, but there had to be a lot of changes to move from where we are to a society, where love and the actual word “love” is traitorous. How were they able to rewrite the bible without all the churches throwing fits? Seriously, there are a lot of preachers out there that would have had fits. I am hoping that later in the series that more about this society and world will be explained.
Although I loved Lena’s relationship with Alex, I hate to admit this, but I was not a big fan of her character. She was interesting, but I found her more interesting because of the company that she kept.
The Theme in One Word
This was one those books, when I finished it, that left me a bit perplexed about my feelings for it. I knew I liked it, but I think I thought I would love it and ended up a bit disappointed. It was almost like the feeling you get when a movie is hyped up as being the best movie you will ever see and then ends up being just OK.
Another issue I had was that when I looked at the second book in the series, I made the mistake of reading a review or two and the reviewers did not mention that their reviews had spoilers and totally gave away the big revelation that happens in book two. Now I am so torn on whether to read the next book, Pandemonium or skip it and just read Requiem. Please offer any advice on this matter… I really could use it.