18 March 2012

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver

Published: 1 February 2011 by HarperTeen

Pages: 441 (hardcover)

Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia

Source: Own library

Check It Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository


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.

My Thoughts

I'm going to start with a disclaimer - I didn't want to read Delirium.  Why?  A variety of reasons, but mostly because I'd heard there's a BIG cliffhanger at the end.  I hate cliffhangers with a passion.  And the idea of the story sounded so good, that I was scared I wouldn't enjoy it and I hate being disappointed!  But when I won a copy of the book it stared at me from the table beside my sofa for weeks, taunting me.  So with my cynical eye wide open, I started reading.....

I found the beginning of the book, in fact, the first half was OK - I liked Lena as a character but I wasn't enamoured with her - she seemed a little, well, blah.  There wasn't anything about her that really made me sit up and take notice.  The world building in the first half of the book was OK, not great and left me feeling a little like there was something fundamentally missing.  When Lena met Alex I had that 'oh, that's kinda sweet' feeling, and it wasn't until much later in the book that I really started to warm up to him as a character.

As the book progressed, the world building did get better and I felt that I knew more about the world, the conspiracies and secrets and the way that the government was manipulating the residents of Portland with veiled threats and bullying.  

The idea of the book, that of love being 'curable' is quite disturbing.  Imagine not loving your children, or your family and friends, even the person you share your life with - not having the urge to laugh, cry, sing or dance is a depressing idea!

The writing is great - that 'one more chapter' feeling was definitely there, but I think the time that it took me to read the book is a direct reflection of how the pacing worked for me - I read the first 200 pages over the space of 5 days, and the last 240 pages in an evening.

Yes, the cliffhanger is massive (my quote on Goodreads 'Dude.  You did NOT just do that. Seriously'.) and I immediately started reading Pandemonium (which is going to mess with my head so much.  I know there's a cliffhanger there too!) otherwise the physical safety of the book would have been in serious doubt.

In summary, Delirium is a great idea, good execution and the characters and dialogue are realistic and likeable, if not a little bit crush-able.  The pacing builds gradually, but 200 pages is a long lead in, so if you need action from page one and cliffhangers make you want to punch a wall, proceed with caution.

This all sounds a little negative, but that's not my intention at all.  I really enjoyed Delirium and I'd recommend it to most readers of dystopian YA.


  1. I really loved Delirium and Pandemonium as well! It is a sad and crazy idea. Never loving your husband or kids. Not even loving your pet. Lena talks about how the cops beat the neighbors dog and they didn't even care. I can't imagine not loving my pet. It is an interesting idea though. The way love is explained does make it sound like a disease. And if you think about it, not knowing what love is you might be afraid of it. Pandemonium was really good too although it does have a horrible cliffhanger.

    1. The bit with the dog was the saddest part of the whole book for me! I couldn't imagine not being able to love pets, or sunsets or mojitos.

      I tried to remember if I ever exhibited signs of deliria, but I think I'm too snarky!

  2. Replies
    1. I think you will enjoy them! Just don't read the end near an open window ;-)

  3. Loved Delerium and even more so as I read....and yes, yes on that cliff hanger of an ending. I was more that a little..what? what? as I was thinking maybe I was reading a defective ARC, lol.

    p.s. love your blog title and tag!

    1. LOL! I'd been warned, but I was still completely like :-O!

      Thanks ;)

  4. Glad to hear you liked this one after all Kat :) I'm guessing I should definetly give it a try.

    -Kimberly @ Turning The Pages

    1. You should! I think you would like it :)

  5. I'm so glad you ended up enjoying it! And I guess I should be glad I'll have the chance to read Pandemonium now when I pick up Delirium? ;) I didn't want to read it before either, but I honestly don't remember why. Now though I love the sound of it and can't wait to pick it up! Great review:)

    1. If I hadn't had Pandemonium sitting ready to read straight after Delirium I would have been pretty grumpy with Delirium!



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