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. (summary from Goodreads)
Delirium will worm in it's way inside of you and never leave!
Lena lives in a world where love is considered a disease. Known as amor deliria nervosa, a cure has been discovered, and so every citizen, at the age of eighteen, undergoes a procedure that ensures the deliria never infects them. Their government demands it. Lena cannot wait to be cured, and counts down the days until she turns eighteen. After witnessing the effects of the disease on her mother, Lena knows her life will be better without love. But her best friend, Hana, isn't so sure and begins to attend forbidden parties where the risk of deliria runs high. Following Hana to one such party in order to warn her of government patrols, Lena meets Alex. Alex has secrets of his own and as he and Lena get to know each other, Lena does what she never imagined she could...she falls in love.
I couldn't tell you why I've put off reading Delirium for so long. I honestly don't know myself. Maybe it's because I had a feeling this book would leave me gasping and in need of Pandemonium asap? Reading it now means lessening the agonising wait for more at least...at the time of writing this it's only mere weeks from being released. But just so you know - I'm aching it for it still! Delirium packs quite the punch, drawing you in bit by bit until you just can't stop reading. Oliver's writing is flawless, her story and characters getting under your skin before leaving you whimpering...and desperate for Pandemonium!
The whole set out of Delirium is brilliant, masterfully depicting this dystopian world where love is believed to be a curable disease. Each chapter begins with an extract from a number of different government sanctioned texts detailing the amor deliria nervosa that provided an insight into how the world we presently know became the world Lena knows without going into an exhaustive backstory. Oliver's world really comes to life in the way. In some ways, it also adds to the emotion it the narrative, as each extract forces readers to ponder such beliefs. I must say, I experienced a lot of anger reading Delirium - I just could not wrap my mind around such a world, that brutally takes away love. The way Oliver portrays the effects of love though, I guess I can see why her characters think the way they do. But then I can't help but believe real, true love is something more than that anyways. And so it goes, my reeling between understanding and frustration - with this alone Oliver ensures my 100% connection with Lena, Alex, Hana, and their story. I loved every bit of it.
Delirium starts off somewhat slow - which isn't a bad thing, I'm just not sure I can better explain it. At first Lena is so sure her government is right and can't wait until she turns 18 in order to go under the procedure that will cure her of love forever, and as the story is entirely from her point of view, this brainwashing, as it were, is actually a tad frustrating, as I couldn't help but want to shake and scream at her! But it's all part of Oliver's fantastic world building, and it works. Before long there's no complaining about a slow pace, because as Lena delves into the secret movement, gets to know Alex, falls in love, and learns certain truths about her government and her mother, the plot moves at heartpounding speed, hurtling toward the cliffhanger from hell before you're ready. Seriously! That ending! I can't even go there. Delirium is pitch perfect in terms of it's pace and development, building the pressure at just the right moments to keep you teetering on the edge of the cliff until Oliver is ready to shove you over...and so again. My God, that ending!!!
I really enjoyed the relationship between Lena and Alex. As they fall in love, I swear, you'll begin to believe the extracts at the beginning of each chapter...the longing, it makes you ache! I adore being able to lose myself in the emotion of a book, and Delirium has that exact effect. The first kiss between Alex and Lena is just stunning. It also really makes me want to fall in love, which I find somewhat hilarious, considering. There's more to Delirium in terms of love and relationships than just that of Lena and Alex's romance however. I really enjoyed how Oliver delves into the fact that 'curing love' takes away more than romance...it destroys everything, including the relationship between siblings, parents and children, best friends. As soon as these characters undergo the procedure they lose hope, dreams, imagination...and any truly meaningful relationship. Contrasted as they are with Lena falling in love, it's no wonder reading Delirium only makes me believe further in love.
Delirium is a hard hitting story that won't leave you anytime soon...much like amor deliria nervosa, it'll take you over and keep you wanting more. You won't regret it.
Published date: 1 February 2011
Format: Kindle edition
Series: Delirium, book 1
Challenges: 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge; 2012 Dystopian Reading Challenge;
Just a side note - has anyone read the short story, Hana? Without giving anything away, what did you think of the ending? I'm gobsmacked, to be honest. So glad I have Pandemonium to read right. now. Just...wow!