Delirium is Book One in yet another YA dystopian trilogy and I’ve got to say: this one didn’t do it for me. Written by Lauren Oliver, Delirium is about a future society that ‘cures’ its citizens of being able to love (named in this society as amor deliria nervosa) at the age of 18. The story focuses on the protagonist, a law abiding citizen named Lena Haloway. Typically, this type of story would have my name written all over it. While the overall idea was new and refreshing, and the pace was quick enough to keep me engaged, overall I found the book a bit of a yawn.
NPR wrote, “Oliver writes beautifully, with well-measured mastery,” and I do agree that Oliver keeps the story flowing and there was enough intrigue for me to read it in one sitting. But does the book make me immediately want to jump into book two? Not so much. Here’s why:
For one thing, I felt like every time there was a compelling scene, Oliver managed to take me out of it with a ‘flashback’ or memory the main character had. I’d be racing through a paragraph, eager to see what would happen, it would get interrupted with a page or two of Lena’s memories. I understand that some of these memories are important to the storyline; however I don’t feel that they were always appropriately placed.
I also found that Lena’s best friend, Hana Tate, was more interesting than Lena for the first half of the novel. It’s natural when an author writes a protagonist with major growth in mind, but it was hard for me to find Lena likable until her love interest, Alex, was introduced. Alex, on the other hand, had me at ‘hello’.
Lastly, I thought that some of the excerpts from the society’s instruction manual were too generic and simply written. I thought that the excerpts should have sounded more legal and authoritative; but maybe that’s being too nitpicky.
All in all, I wouldn’t tell someone not to read this book, but I would definitely recommend a handful of trilogies to dive into before this one.