Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Delirium: The Improved Review

Imagine a world where there is no love. Love is a disease. Love causes too many problems in society—jealously, anger, destruction. One must be cured of this “deadly disease.” The government dictates and controls everyone. Once a young adult turns eighteen years old, you are mandated to be fixed to erase the feelings of love within you. At this point, you do not have a choice in your life once you undergo the surgery. After your evaluation, you are matched with a mate and given an appropriate career that will suite you best. Your entire life is planned out for you. You do not have a voice in your future. New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver paints a unique, dystopian tale of a young girl, rebelling against the norms of society, for true love with an outsider from the Wild.

“They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever. And I’ve always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years suffocated by a lie.”

Lauren Oliver, born and raised in New York, grew up with two literature professors as parents. Persuaded to be creative early on in the arts, she began to develop her love for writing to expand on her love of reading. After creating sequels for the books she loved, she started to write her own stories. She began working at Razorbill, a Young Adult division of Penguin books, where she began to write her own story. Soon after, she decided to quit Razorbill to become a full-time writer.

Going into Delirium, I had such high expectations because I previously read and loved Oliver's debut book Before I Fall, also a New York Times bestseller. Delirium, however, exceeded my high expectations with an intriguing, unique dystopian story with both lovable characters and a gripping storyline. The concept was crazy for me to read about at first, since I could not possibly imagine our society without love within it; this made the book both interesting and highly enjoyable to read. The dystopian genre is one of my favorites to read; after reading Delirium, it became one of my favorites of the genre.

The beginning begins a little slow, which makes it a little hard to get into the story and relate to the characters at first. However if given the chance, the plot quickens by the middle and will leave you longing to know what will happen next. I was entirely engrossed, after the slightly slow beginning. I physically could not put the book down at one point and continued reading, until I reached the heart-pumping, unexpected ending. If you find yourself a little confused and bored at the beginning like I was, my advice to you is definitely continue reading. because it will quicken and get much better—to the point that you definitely will not regret finishing. Oliver does a great job of developing the backstory of Delirium, by beginning each chapter with little snippets from their law, history, and handbooks as well as quotes and poems of the society’s culture. The first chapter begins with one from their law book, “The most dangerous sicknesses are those that make us believe we are well. – Proverb 42, The Book of Shhh.”

Set in a futuristic Portland, Maine, Lena Holloway considers herself to be an average girl, no one special. About to turn 18 and graduate high school, she cannot wait to undergo the surgery to remove her of the disease of love, amor deliria nervosa, which the government believes to be the source of all the society’s past problems. Her mother’s death occurred because of the failure of love. Wanting to be like her cured older sister, she just wants to get the surgery as soon as possible, so she can be “normal” like the rest of society and to rid herself of the grief and pain she has felt her whole life. Her schooling and The Book of Shhh have taught her of the symptoms of catching the deliria of love. She does not know any better but to accept the preaching from the government. Anyone not cured of the disease is considered to be a rebel. The Invalids live in the Wild, a restricted area lying outside of Lena’s perfectly controlled world. Traveling to the outside is strictly prohibited; a guarded, electric fence prevents this from happening—but not always…

“Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That's what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side.”

Lena has never conversed with a boy, let alone touch one. Her society does not allow the two genders to interact or be in the presence of one another, until they are cured. However when Lena meets an older boy from the Wild, she begins to question everything she once thought she wanted: a set future with a suitable husband and a stable career that was handpicked for her by the government. Lena’s best friend always rebels by sneaking out to listen to prohibited music and hang out with boys. Lena disapproves… until she meets Alex. She starts doing the unimaginable, begins to fall in love with the boy from the Wild.

Starting to break the rules for once, she starts secretly meeting Alex at night. She begins to fall deep for the boy pretending to be cured. Alex tells Lena of his past and of the possible future for her if she decides to escape and refuse the cure. She begins to imagine her life in a new light. Having practically nothing to lose, she makes the brave decision to leave her society, she has always known, for the Wild with an Invalid. Coming up with a plan, they decide they will escape to live in the Wild together. Lena has never felt so sure about anything in her life before and cannot stop the spread of love that has infected her heart and soul. Their plan, however, does not go as intended. Caught and forced to stay in her house a week before her operation, Lena starts to lose all hope, until Alex comes to rescue her. They make their escape for the Wild, but it does not go as planned…

“I run for I don't know how long. Hours, maybe, or days. Alex told me to run. So I run. You have to understand. I am no one special. I am just a single girl. I am five feet two inches tall and I am in-between in every way. But I have a secret… I love you. Remember. They cannot take it.”

The combination of romance, action, drama, and mystery in the plot made Delirium very easy to fall in love with, which also made the ending very powerful and sad. If you get as attached to the characters as I did, you will have tears in your eyes when you finish. The cliffhanging ending will make you want to immediately read the second book of Oliver’s trilogy, Pandemonium. Overall, Delirium was everything I was expecting and more. From the unexpected twists to the amazing characters and great story, you will not be disappointed. The intended audience is for young adults but can be enjoyed by all ages. I absolutely recommend picking up a copy immediately if you love dystopian stories or just, in general, love a great read.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I had to write a book review for my Literary Publishing class, so I decided to post this even though I previously reviewed Delirium. This review is obviously much better and longer than my typical reviews, but I thought mind as well post it here too! I will hopefully post some reviews this winter break, so be on the lookout for those :)