There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the ends of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it.
Then, at last, they found a cure.
Now, everything is different. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable and happy.
But then, with only ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable ...
Since her mother committed suicide rather than take the Cure, 17 year old Lena Haloway and her sister have lived with her aunt and uncle’s family. The Cure is a surgical procedure to eradicate amor deliria nervosa (aka love). Everyone has the Cure when they turn 18. Lena will be Cured in 95 days and she believes it will leave her with a calmer, clearer view on life. But on the day she’s assessed to determine her whole future life, Invalids (people who oppose the US government) pull a stunt that throws her into contact with Alex, a handsome boy who’s had the Cure but nevertheless seems drawn to Lena. Soon Lena finds herself doing the unthinkable and allowing herself to develop the bidden disease of love ...
The first in a YA dystopian trilogy, Lauren Oliver has produced a lyrical novel around the idea of a society that views love as something dangerous that has to be stopped. The idea is great and Oliver does well in showing how this society would operate (essentially a mix of religious fundamentalism and science gone mad). I particularly liked the snippets from The Book of Shh (a mandatory text that warns of the symptoms and effects of love) that head up many of the chapters.
The writing’s excellent, with Oliver using Lena’s first person voice to describe the world and establish Lena’s increasing sense of unease with the control exercised by the government over every-day life.
The book didn’t grab me as much as I was hoping because the story itself is predictable. The way Alex and Lena’s relationship develops holds no surprises (including Alex’s big secret), revelations about Lena’s family background are telegraphed in advance and even the ending is predictable given some of the literary allusions in the text. Lena keeps mentioning how short she is, which serves to infantilise her rather than emphasise how big the forces are against her and it also prevented me from buying into her as a good runner. Also, while the writing is beautiful, it does also slow the pace and a critical scene towards the end where Lena sees the prison where Sympathisers are kept stretches credibility too thinly.
It’s an interesting book and the cliff hanger ending intrigues me enough to want to read the sequel but for me it’s a bit too slow and predictable to be a great read.
The first in a YA dystopian science fiction trilogy, this book has a great premise and the writing is lyrical and packed with emotion. However the story itself is a bit too predictable for me and at times feels like a checklist of events that need to be ticked off. Also the pace itself sags at times and a key scene towards the end overstretched credibility. The cliffhanger ending is intriguing enough to tempt me to read on, but this isn’t a must-read book for me.
DELIRIUM was released in the UK on 3rd February. Thanks to Amazon Vine for the ARC of this book.
Cross-posted to bookish, books, cool_teen_reads, sf_with_bite and yalitlovers.