Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Synopsis: Love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Portland, Maine, Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. She watched love destroy her mother and isn’t about to make the same mistake. But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets enigmatic Alex, a boy from the “Wilds”. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

Cover: In keeping with the style of partial photos of young adult novels, this book has a portion of a face on the front cover. However, the rest of the model’s visage wraps around the spine to the back cover. It is actually very compelling and eye-catching, but I did question why she was surrounded by plants when living in a city with very few trees.

Setting: The trilogy takes place in an alternate United States, where cities are walled for the “protection” of the citizens from the untamed forests called “the Wilds”. The government denies that anyone still lives outside the walled towns, but there are rumors that invalids (the uncured) hide there. As Alex is able to sneak into the city, it can only be assumed that the fencing and walls may be more to keep people in than out.

Writing Style: I’ve read this book before, so it wasn’t quite as thrilling now. This time there were moments that felt like they dragged a little and you really just want to get to the good stuff. I cannot recall if I felt the same way in my first reading but, despite being well written, it wasn’t a huge hardship to put the book down when I needed to go do something else.

Point of View: This novel is told in first person by Lena, so readers are only ever aware of her perspective. This helps keep the reader as uninformed as the main character at any given time and experience everything as she does. I would have liked to have known more from Alex and Hana, but they do have their own novellas that occur between the books.

Character Development: The story is very well thought out, allowing the main character to discover secrets and grow from what she learns. Lena goes from someone who cannot wait until she is cured to realizing things aren’t always what they seem. She also found courage and strength through the very thing that is claimed to make her sick and weak.

Character: Hana is Lena’s best friend, but I cannot quite figure her out. She rebels in little ways, but seems to only be talking big while pushing boundaries the smallest bit. She acts like the cure might not be something wonderful while also having no intention of rebelling against the system. She’s a bit of the poor-little-rich-girl, so perhaps she just feels a lack of love without realizing that’s what she’s looking for. However, there is also some question I have about her towards the end of the novel, but I won’t reveal what it is for fear of spoilers.

Romance: The way Lena and Alex meet is both adorable and mysterious. You question Alex’s words as much as Lena does as they grow closer. Even when you learn the truth, Alex still carries a little bit of mystery about him and you’re never quite sure you know him.

Quote:  Love. It will kill you and save you, both.

Verdict: This is a good story, but possibly not one you would read over and over. I first read it six or seven years ago and remember really enjoying it. This time I merely have this generalized “it’s good” feeling regarding it. Despite this, I am really looking forward to finally reading the other two books in the trilogy and maybe some of the novellas.


Author: JaimeKristal

JaimeKristal is a freelance editor and writer. She started her book review blog "Tales of a Booklover" for the enjoyment of sharing her love of reading.

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