And I've always believed them.
Now everything has changed.
Now, I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.
Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.
Delirium is the final push I needed to face the fact that post-Hunger Games dystopia just isn’t for me. Set in a world where love is a disease, this book was written more as a romance with a dystopian backdrop. There are a lot of inconsistencies on top of an initial premise that is hard to swallow, and I found myself rolling my eyes at least twice in every chapter.
Lena is eagerly awaiting the “cure” that will remove her ability to love – a procedure that, conveniently, can’t be performed on anyone under 18 without risking severe, often fatal complications. I say conveniently because that gives our protagonist just enough time to fall in love anyway and decide she wants to be all rebellious and forego the mandatory cure in favor of a life of hiding and hand-holding. Right there is the bulk of my problem with Delirium; it feels like an excuse to tell a forbidden love-story, with the dystopian backdrop as nothing more than a cop-out setting.
I’m of the belief that dystopian stories should be chilling with their social and political commentary. The most effective of these takes ideals that are already in place, distorts and bastardizes them, and shows us a future ripe with terrifying possibility. Hunger Games did this perfectly, which is why I still count it as one of my all-time favorites. Unwind by Neal Shusterman gave us a slightly less plausible future, but put so much coldly twisted logic behind it that it became believable, and Lois Lowry’s The Giver had a little bit of fun twisting what’s actually possible to show us an oppressed world with a strong underlying moral.
Delirium, on the other hand, is almost completely implausible, full of holes, and loses the little bit of relevant commentary it contains behind a rushed story of forbidden love. Ignoring the ridiculous premise of love being viewed as a disease, Delirium tries to say children can be born and raised healthily to parents incapable of love or attachment. Um, no. First of all, without a biological attachment to our children, humanity would die out within a few generations. Without parents to care what happens to them, there would be dead babies everywhere, and Delirium’s short explanation on why that doesn’t happen does nothing to make it more credible. The absence of love in a psyche still capable of hatred and anger would breed sociopaths, not a stable government claiming they’ve found the secret to true happiness. I could list other examples, but this review is getting too rant-y as it is so I’ll leave it at that.
In an effort to soften the negativity, I'll add that Lauren’s writing is superb; it flows without overwhelming, painting a vivid picture with just her words. The book has that undeniable compulsive readability, and there are a few genuinely fun chapters. Despite all of the problems I had with it and a lack of desire to read the sequel, it did keep me entertained.
I don’t regret picking this one up, but I think Delirium is an example of a book published to cater to two current popular trends; dystopia and romance. It’ll probably be the last book that has both as dominant themes that I’ll be reading for a while, because I just can’t get into this new book craze and I’m sick of being the odd-man-out, dumping on the book all of my friends loved.
I personally can’t recommend this book, but if you’re a fan of the current crop of dystopia, you’ll probably enjoy Delirium.
Delirium - 2.5 out of 5 stars