Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Delirium

Delirium, by Lauren Oliver.

I comfort myself by thinking that in less than two months this will seem like nothing to me. All of it will fall away and I'll rise up new and free, like a bird winging up into air.

That's what Hana doesn't understand, has never understood. For some of us it's about more than the
deliria. Some of us, the lucky ones, will get the chance to be reborn: newer, fresher, better. Healed and whole and perfect again, like a misshapen slab of iron that comes out of the fire glowing, glittering, razor sharp.

That's all I want - all I have ever wanted. That is the promise of the cure.


This is one of the best dystopian novels I have read in quite a while, and the good news is that it's actually going to be a trilogy, with the second installment coming out in March 2012.

At first glance, Lena's life seems pretty normal. She lives in Portland, Maine, with her aunt and uncle and cousins, and she is eager to graduate high school and go on to college, provided she passes her "entry" exams of sorts. But she's also counting down to something else: the day she receives the cure, and no longer has to worry about being infected with amor deliria nervosa, or love. Once you get the cure, you are not as emotional, and you don't have to worry about little things. You get matched with someone who you will spend the rest of your life with - after the cure started, the divorce rates became very, very low - and you will have children with that person, the amount of which will be determined by the government.

Her friend Hana, however, sees the world a bit differently, and the night that Lena meets her at a illegal party changes everything for Lena.

Lena's mother had committed suicide, and she had been given the cure three times but had never been fully cured. Lena's worst fear is that she will end up like her, but at the same time, a part of her knows that her mother loved her very much, and that type of love is rare for an older person, once who is supposed to have been cured.

This book was fantastic and in a weird way, very realistic. It takes place in the future, as most dystopian novels do, but it doesn't say when, although a brief timeline of sorts is given: about 60 years ago, the United States put up borders, to keep its residents "safe"; Lena is just now realizing that although it may do that, it's also keeping them fenced in. The Invalids live in the Wilds, though some people tell her that they are just a rumor, and the Wilds are beyond Portland's borders. When Alex, a supposedly cured boy she meets, takes her there one time, she sees just how different (and better) the Wilds are then the "civilized" areas of Portland, and she begins to see that the government may have been lying to them all this time about the cure.

The "cure" makes people not feel emotions (sadness, or love - amor deliria nervosa); the only thing I can really compare it to is a lobotomy, though most of the people who have it are mentally fine afterwards (a small number die or become mentally unstable, though). Her aunt Carol behaves like a good parent should but never shows any love towards Lena, because she is cured - she makes sure she has a roof over her head and hot meals on the table but that's about it.

The novel ended rather suddenly so I was hoping there would be more to come. I will definitely be checking out the next book in the trilogy in March of next year.

4.5 stars out of 5.

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