Genres: Young adult, science fiction, dystopia.
I adored Delirium when I first read and reviewed it, which was back in February. I had limited experience with dystopia, only having read Matched, The Hunger Games, and Uglies, but Delirium made it one of favourite genres. I’ve come across many young dystopian novels since then, and having re-read Delirium, I can safely say that it is still one of my favourites and one of the best books I’ve read this year.
Although Delirium is a dystopian novel, it is first and foremost a love story; it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. At eighteen years old, citizens of the USA legally must undergo a procedure – a “cure” – that will result in the them being unable to love anyone ever again, whether it may be a partner, friend or family. When Alex enters her life, Lena must fight for the right to love whomever she wishes.
One of the things that I didn’t mention in my previous review, that really struck me about the novel, is the writing. Lauren Oliver has a talent for using the most beautiful, rich language and imagery to capture a moment perfectly. When I’m reading novels, I try to picture the scenes in my head and sometimes it becomes blurry. I try to focus on it but the author hasn’t provided enough detail for me to do so. Lauren Oliver is the complete opposite. She expertly describes every single scene so that the image in my head comes out crystal clear, from the description of the setting to Lena’s emotions:
“The water is an enormous mirror, tipped with and pink and gold from the sky. In that single, blazing moment as I came around the bend, the sun – curved over the dip of the horizon like a solid gold archway – lets out its final winking rays of light, shattering the darkness of the water, turning everything white for a fraction of a second, and then falls away, sinking, dragging the pink and the red and the purple out of the sky with it. All the colour bleeding away instantly and leaving only dark.
Alex was right. It was gorgeous – one of the best I’ve ever seen.”
Another thing I did not pay enough attention to before (because I was eagerly rushing trough the story) is the small fragments of society – the quotation of official documents, rules and regulations, children’s songs, and poetry, which help the reader to mentally construct and imagine the world that Lauren Oliver has created. Even though the story mostly focuses on Lena and Alex’s relationship and the things they discover about each other, we’re constantly aware that they live in a restrictive and severely controlled society.
Delirium is a wonderfully emotional, heartbreaking love story set in a dystopian future. It’s both a gritty and mellow experience. If you’ve not yet jumped on to the dystopian bandwagon, I’d suggest that reading Delirium is a very good start indeed.
“Love, the deadliest of all deadly things: it kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.”