PLOT: 4.5/5

“It’s so strange how life works: You want something and you wait and wait and feel like it’s taking forever to come. Then it happens and it’s over and all you want to do is curl back up in that moment before things changed.”

–        Delirium, Lauren Oliver

My musings

I am a mood reader and often pick up books on a whim. For no particular reason, I have been subconsciously staying away from book series for some time. It took me a long time to realize this change of preference. But once I did, I made a conscious decision to go for a series. That is how I ended up with Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I can now say that I made a good decision and a great choice because the book turned out to be a fantastic read. In this post, I share my thoughts on the book and my experience of reading it.

What to expect?

Expect a young adult fiction novel. Expect a book whose story takes you to a dystopian world. Expect a book that also has a few elements of science fiction. Expect a book that has romance at its very core. Finally, expect an entertaining read. 

Who can read?

Delirium is written in simple and comprehensible language. And can be easily picked up by a beginner-level reader.

Let’s talk about the storyline

There was once a time when love was considered to be a good thing. It was welcomed and celebrated. But that was until the scientists found its cure. 

Earlier people never understood the dangers of love. The disasters that it brings and the way it controls your entire being. This love – a deliria – offers no respite, no hope for those who are inflicted. But things have changed now. Scientists have finally found the cure for love. All the residents of the United States are encouraged, or more so compelled to take the cure when they turn eighteen. 

Lena Holloway is an innocent docile teen who believes in the cure and in the order of things. Her faith in the ‘The Book of Shhh’ serves as a testimony to her commitment to the idea of a deliria-free world. 

She believes, no, she knows – that a life without love is a life without pain. And she is looking forward to her upcoming treatment. The promise of a life that is measured, predictable, and safe holds strong. 

But with only ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable. She contracts the deliria. She falls in love. 

How good are the characters?

The characters of the book are perhaps its weakest link. They all have depth. They all have dreams and aspirations but they go a little overboard with everything. Lena, the book’s central character is too whiny and naïve. She is always too scared or too dependent. Being caught in her own issues is understandable, but lacing the entire narrative with rants is a different story altogether. 

Lena’s love interest, Alex is also a mediocre character at best. He is sometimes too good to be true and sometimes too fleeting. I have tried to think very hard on this but I have almost given up now. I know that there is something crucial missing in Alex’s character but I can’t narrow it down. I can’t find out what he lacks. Other characters like Carol and Rachel are okay-ish. But I would have loved to see more of Hana and Grace.

What about the writing style?

The writing follows a steady pace, though the end and the beginning are the book’s best parts. The author introduces us to a morbid world where love is shunned and order is revered. She weaves this world with care and thought. The entire political system, administration, rules, and codes of conduct have been given much thought. There is something called the ‘The Book of Shhh’ which serves as a rule book for all citizens. Children’s rhymes and other supporting elements are included to bring out the stark contrast in the pre-and post-world orders.

There are some inconsistencies in the functioning of the world but overall, the writing is neat and the reader’s interest is maintained throughout the book. There wasn’t a single time when I didn’t want to get to the next page.

What did I like?

I like how Delirium is much more than a dystopian fiction novel. It is a young adult romance that is also about friendships and family. I love Hana and Lena’s friendship and the way the two seem to revel in each other’s company. 

What did I not like?

When it came to the strictness of the administration in terms of the level of security, the monitoring of its citizens, and keeping an eye on the overall law and order, there are some inconsistencies in the book. Sometimes the security is so tight that the mandatory curfew is enforced even before the agreed deadline. At others, they don’t even get caught after running miles through conspicuous territories.  

What could have been better?

I needed a little more chemistry from Alex and Lena. There is too much of purity and innocence. There is just too much goodness. Even though it is expected of Lena to behave in a certain way, it comes out as a little made-up and artificial. Like the words and actions aren’t her own. Like she has been forced to act a certain way even in Alex’s presence. 

Is the climax good enough?

The climax in Delirium changes a lot of things and I must say it is all for the good. It gives the reader just what she wants – a hook. A hook to hang on to Alex and Lena’s love story. What it also gives is a long list of questions that the reader can’t wait to be answered. Needless to state, I am invested and eager. I just can’t wait to dig into Pandemonium, the next book in the series. 

It all boils down to the entertainment 

The book offers a good dose of entertainment. With an interesting concept, a steady pace, and an okay-ish romance – it turns out to be a good entertainer.

In the end

In the end, Delirium is a book that introduces us to a cruel world. A world that shuns all kinds of love and has even invented a cure for it. The book puts together a delectable mix of romance, young adult drama, and dystopia.

The final verdict

Go for it!

Pick the book if

Skip the book if

  • You read a lot of dystopian fiction.
  • Your keen eye can easily spot the inconsistencies in a dystopian world.

Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Delirium using the link below.