Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Delirium (Delirium No.1) by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium (Delirium No.1)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Pages: 440
Published: February 1st, 2011 by HarperTeen
Read: December 29, 2010
Synopsis: 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 governments 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. (from

This is the first book I've read by Lauren Oliver and let me just say that my feelings for this book are kind of twisted.

Not twisted in a bad way, but twisted as in conflicted and somewhat opposing. Overall, I would say the book was really good. I've actually seen a movie with the same general principal as the book (Equilibrium starring Christian Bale *yummy*) and I've always thought it such an interesting concept. That of removing certain feelings from a person. Given, it would be done for no other reason than control, but still, it's done. And the left over mold of a person is sad and despicable. Maybe at one point I might not have said that, maybe I would have thought, thank heaven, take away the hurt and pain and give me numbness, because anyone who has had their heart broken knows the physical pain such an emotion causes. But, now that I have 2 children of my own, I could never imagine someone taking my love for them away. I would rather fling myself off the nearest cliff than that. Those with children, I hope you know what I'm talking about here. Because even though they have the power to break your heart down to the bitter core, they are a part of you and I just cannot fathom that being removed from me.

But, still, the concept leaves me in a thoughtful stupor. I mean, to think along this route and the consequences that become of such a procedure as cutting out Love.

Although, none of these reasons are behind my conflicting emotions toward this book. I think it is due to how the first half of the book is written. At first I was having a hard time getting into the book. I think I would mostly blame it on the main character, Lena. She seems so dull and following, just like a herd of sheep. She goes where she is told and says what she is told, for the most part anyway. And when she veers from the norm, it's weird to me because it doesn't seem within her character. Like she experiences a growth that I haven't seen instilled in her yet. It's just a bit odd.

Mostly though, I think it's because in so much of the book I couldn't relate to her. I think it was her obedience, above all, that annoyed the hell out of me. I've never been a conformist in most senses of the word, so it's always hard to see others do it when I can tell it doesn't make them happy. I know, teenagers should be obedient, but I don't know a ton that are. Lena seemed to be disgustingly so. It wasn't until anger came into play that she even could do something she wasn't supposed to.

But, and this is where the conflicting emotions come in, eventually she grows a bit and changes a bit and I could relate to her so much more. But at times, she still seems to hold back, to hold on to that obedience even though she doesn't want to. Like she wants the new world, but the old one too.

It was kind of frustrating.

However, Alex makes up for a lot of it. He was so wonderfully written and sweet. I loved him and the way he expresses himself. How he can see both sides of the picture and be so understanding even though he had to be frustrated as hell. My very, very favorite scene in this book is with him when he is reading poetry to Lena. Never before this book have I found that poetry was so beautiful, that it could make me float up with the stars. It was just glorious.

Overall though, I really did like the book. It was such a brilliant take on a dystopian world that I wouldn't be surprised to see one day. And even though it started off a bit slow, by halfway through the book I didn't want to put it down and by 3/4 through, Hubby was getting really ticked at my necessity to keep my kindle attached to my hands with imaginary super glue. So, even though I had a rough start where Lena is concerned, the rest was pretty brilliant. Therefore, if any of you are looking for some spectacular sunsets, some word salad, late night raids, horrific dog bites and a unique plot that will keep your mind running, you'll want to pick up this book.

Rating: 4/5 PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket
I keep willing the clock to go faster, but it seems to be resisting me deliberately. I see a customer picking her nose in the tiny aisle of (kind of) fresh produce; I look at the clock; look back at the customer; look back at the clock--and the second hand still hasn't moved. I have this terrible fear that time will stop completely, while this woman has her pinkie finger buried up her right nostril, right in front of the tray of wilted lettuce.

He doesn't answer me directly. He flips forward a few pages in the book, but he doesn't glance down at it. He keeps his eyes on me the whole time. "You want to hear a different one?" He doesn't wait for me to answer before beginning to recite, "'How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.'"

There's that word again: love. My heart stops when he says it, then stutters into a frantic rhythm.

"'I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach...'"

I know he's only speaking someone else's words, but they seem to come from him anyway. His eyes are dancing with light; in each of them I see a bright point of candlelight reflected.
He takes a step forward and kisses my forehead softly.

"'I love thee to the level of every day's most quiet need...'"

It feels as though the floor is swinging--like I'm falling. "Alex--." I start to say, but the word gets tangled in my throat.

He kisses each cheekbone--a delicious, skimming kiss, barely grazing my skin. "'I love thee freely...'"

"Alex," I say, a little louder. My heart is beating so fast I'm afraid it will burst from my ribs.

I received this book free of charge from HarperCollins and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.



  1. I really really really enjoyed this one, and I'm glad you did, too, for the most part! Great, insightful review, Jen! :)

  2. Lovey-love finding reviews that break from the norm. This is the first Delirium review I've read that isn't just gushing all over the place. I'm still super psyched to read it (loved Before I Fall!), but I was totally engrossed in your fresh perspective.

  3. NOOO! :( You have a Kindle? Boo, we can't be e-reading buddies. I have a Nook. :( Aw, that definitely kind of made me sad. :P

    Anyway. Lol. I've never read anything by Lauren Oliver, either, but all of my other blogging buddies swear up and down by her. I've really been meaning to read this, but I just haven't gotten around to it.

    About Lena, well, most dystopian's (that I've read so far, at least) have obedience instilled within people (from society, or the ruling force of that world) at an early age. It seems weird to us, who rebel/are non-conformists, but that's how their world is, and that's exactly what I have to remind myself every time I read a dystopian novel. It takes a lot to break from the ways you've grown up with, yknow? But you're right: inconsistencies within character growth at the beginning are weird to read about. :s

    I'm definitely going to pick up this book, BECAUSE of all of the things you listed. Horrific dog bites seems right up my alley right about now. :P

    Thank you for this review! I can't wait to read this book. ♥

  4. LOL wth. Sorry about the uber-long comment. I need to get better at sticking with my "three-sentence" rule :P

  5. I love that review even though i don't agree much with you about Lena- mostly because of Kristina (points up) said about obedience. (But just in case, if you didn't like Lena, you'd HATE Cassia from Matched- she is SO obedient , a lot more than Lena)
    I agree with you on everything else though. Alex was SO. DAMN. SWEET. and that poetry thing was SO. DAMN. SWEET.
    And that book had some seriously good quotes too, like
    Love, the deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it, and when you do not.
    *shudders* eerie

    have a great week!

  6. @ Melissa - Thanks girl!

    @Katie - It really is a pretty good book. I really love the dystopian genre.

    @Kristina - You do have a point. I don't think I would have seriously noticed it if it wouldn't have been for Hana. But, it's funny, because in the end, we all know about Hana...

    Oh, and don't worry about your long comments, I've always had problems with talking a lot. I've always enjoyed someone who could keep up. And not a ton can *wink wink* Oh, and one of my really good friends has a Nook and we still share books. They both read PDF's so when we get books, we try to get ones along those lines. I haven't had mine for too long, but it's still nice cause she lives in WI, LOL! Oh, what we do for books!

    @Stray - I really don't hate Lena, just had some issues with her. And as I was saying (points above) I don't think I would have noticed Lena obedience so much if it wouldn't have been for Hana, but we all know what Hana's choice was in the end. But, I've just bought Matched as a Christmas Gift (I got lots of gift certificates for Christmas) so I'm hoping it's good. I'll keep you posted on what I think.


I always love comments, and I read every single one!

Also, this is now designated an award free zone. Although I love awards and I love everyone for thinking of me, I just don't have the time to honor them like they need to be honored. Thank you though for your consideration!

XOXO Jen the Bibliophile

If you liked this, you might like these:

Related Posts with Thumbnails