A review by Elizabeth Manthos
Imagine a world where Love was a disease. Now imagine that world to be fenced off cities in the United States. In Lauren Oliver’s Delirium, the first novel in the Delirium trilogy, that world is a reality.
Seventeen-year-old Lena Haloway has been brought up, in the fenced off city of Portland, Maine, to believe that Love is indeed a disease, Amor Deliria Nervosa. But the Government with its Handbook (The Safety, Health and Happiness Handbook), The Book of Shhh as Lena calls it, have found a cure for the disease, a cure for love.
With Lena’s cure looming, she has her evaluation, an evaluation that will place her with the most suitable partner. But with the stress of the evaluation, she makes a huge mistake just before a stampede of cows runs through the facility, ruining her evaluation. It’s then that Lena sees Alex Sheathes, a man she mistakes as an Invalid and in a world where Love is unthinkable, it happens. With ninety-five days until her cure, it happens, Lena falls in love.
In a dystopian society how is she meant to not only let her love blossom but hide it from her family, a family who is bent on keeping Lena safe, secure and happy, all without the Deliria.
Lauren Oliver has a way with words that just sucks you into Lena’s world, you sort of wish you were part of it and at the same time you wish you were safely tucked in your own world reading words on a page.
The character development in the novel is astounding, with characters actually growing and changing as the story progresses. I think the most remarkable character development is Lena herself and it’s not a complete 360 in ten seconds flat and she’s not a whiney female lead. With certain events and incidents in the novel, she grows from them, developing her understanding of the world and her mind as a character, not only finding herself, but secrets kept hidden.
Oliver’s writing style was descriptive and flowing; she definitely understands the audience she’s writing for. You get the feeling that the characters are friends of yours and you’re reading their story rather than reading the story of a stranger.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel; it kept me enthralled and the epic cliff-hanger made me dive directly into Pandemonium. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good young adult dystopian romance.