Series: Delirium #1
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publication Year: 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing.They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
Delirium is a first book in the Delirium trilogy. It follows Magdalena Holoway, an average teenager who lives in a place where love is ruled as a disease. They figure that love is the root of humanity’s problems. So it needs to be eradicated. Scientists have found a way to ‘cure’ people from amor deliria nervosa, or the love disease, by doing a certain procedure. The procedure must be done to people over eighteen years old, so it won’t give side effects, which is why it is mandatory for all citizens to have the procedure done once they hit eighteen. Lena, is on the verge of getting her procedure. She’s been waiting for it, until she met a boy named Alex and falls in love with him.
At first I thought the premise was absurd. How do you ‘remove’ human’s ability to love? Isn’t it a part of human nature? I also thought it’s kind of silly to declare love as a disease. So what, since it’s a disease people could transmit it? But then again, there are phrases like lovesick or crazy in love. As if love is associated with madness. On top of that, it’s known that people could kill because of love. Love can be the most amazing thing and dangerous at the same time. That’s why I was then open to Delirium’s dystopian concept.
Usually (but not always), in books with dystopian setting, the protagonist is the one who has different views of the society but it’s repressed. Only when he/she has a trigger, then he/she decides to resist the government. Like Katniss when she’s chosen to participate in the hunger games or Tris when she realized that she’s different and had her family killed. Meanwhile Lena, is an average girl. She agrees with what the government says, even can’t wait to have the procedure. She just wants to live her life like everyone else. She starts questioning the government only after she met Alex. Her belief in the government helped me understand the whole love as a disease thing. See, when I began reading the book I already start with anti-delirium-government mindset because that’s what makes sense to me. But since our narrator starts as a pro-delirium-government, she makes me see the delirium world from the pro government view. As a result, delirium dystopian world became more believable to me. I just think that’s cool.
Honestly, I was going to give this book a three out of five. That’s before I got to the last few chapters. Man, was it intense. Basically, Delirium is a love story set in a dystopian world. It centers on love. So the book is mainly about Lena falls in love with Alex. Their romance builds up slowly, which makes the pacing of the book, well, slow. Nothing really happens except for them falling in love. So the fully action packed event in the ending caught me by surprise. I wished the book doesn’t end that way, but it does anyway and I want to read the next book so bad.
Other thing that I want to point out about Delirium, it often references some texts which supposedly exist in the Delirium world. These texts serve as a caution and often describe the symptoms and the danger of love. I find these texts, eye opening. They are intended to show readers the negative effect love has on people who contracted it, but instead they show me how amazing love truly is. Like how love makes people think irrationally, yet Lena feels that she can see and think more clearly; or how it makes Lena feels beautiful and invincible. It sounds cliché, but given the situation in this book, it’s acceptable. Even I appreciate these details. That’s why I love the idea of love. I recommend this book and definitely will read the second book.
The Book of Shhh says that deliria alters your perception, disables your ability to reason clearly, impairs you from making sound judgments. But it does not tell you this: that love will turn the whole world into something greater than itself.
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