Yeah, I’m kind of stumped on how to word this review. I’m usually a woman of many words, but I’m left with few. It’s a good book. Not amazing, but good. I really enjoyed Ms. Oliver’s writing style and found her prose pleasant to read. Hrmm…
Let’s start with the story. It’s a dystopian romance. DONE! No, really. That’s ALL there is to it. Ms. Oliver’s dystopian world revolves around romance, or rather, love. Love is a disease and the United States has found a cure and eradicated the epidemic. Once you’re eighteen, you’ll receive the cure and voila! You will now lead a life chosen for you by your government and will be happy doing so. Ms. Oliver poses this question - “Is a life without love really worth living?”
I think this series has a lot of potential and I will definitely be reading the second book. I just felt like this first book had a lot of explanation (especially at the beginning) and it dragged down the pacing quite a bit. I’ve been devouring books lately and this one took me days to finish because until the action really kicked up a notch in the last third of the book, I just wasn’t emotionally invested.
Let’s talk specifics.
- Our heroine, Lena, is mind-washed to the point of being obnoxious throughout a large portion of the novel. Eventually I just wanted to smack her over the head with a rolled up newspaper. However, I think that it was necessary to have Lena be this way. Ms. Oliver needed to make sure we all knew that people accepted this world. Since Lena accepted it, it made it easier for the reader to swallow at the beginning. I think Lena has potential to become a character I love. I just didn’t love her in this book. She is just starting to grow into the strong female heroine that I prefer just as the book ends.
- The premise is a bit hard to stomach. I want to know more about the United States and what drove it to this horrible, loveless abyss. I want to know the history of the cure and I want to know about the leaders that came into power and created this country full of lifeless drones. However, I do not want to discover this all from a long narration at the top of a book. Luckily, I love dystopian novels, but I have to admit, had I lacked patience, I may not have made it through the start of this story.
- Ms. Oliver’s writing is solid. Lena’s voice is clear and Ms. Oliver does a great job at writing the relationships between the characters. I adored the relationship between Lena and her best friend. It was honest and warm. The love between Hana and Lena is more real than the actual romance of the novel.
- The romance was enjoyable, but a little stilted. Heck, it’s hard to fall in love when you believe it’s a disease. I’d like to have gotten to know Alex a little more directly instead of hearing about his life secondhand through Lena’s memories of the stories he told her. Still a lovely romance though, especially considering the world they live in and how completely stubborn Lena is in her belief of the lies she’s been fed.
Wow and I said I wasn't going to talk a lot. So much for that!
Thanks to HarperCollins and NetGalley for providing me with a digital ARC. "Delirium" is scheduled to be published on February 1, 2011.