Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium by Lauren Oliver(Cover picture courtesy of Lauren Oliver’s website.)

They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever.  And I’ve always believed them.  Until now.

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.

And now since opera usually says things best, here are some lines from Verdi’s La Traviata:

Love is a heartbeat throughout the universe,
mysterious, altering,
the torment and delight of my heart.

It sounds better in the original Italian, but you get the point.  Love is important; it’s in our everyday lives and it is one of two main forces that motivate people’s actions.  (The other is greed.)  But what happens if you remove one of those forces from the entire adult population of a country?  You get Delirium, that’s what.

The main character, Lena (short for Magdalena) lives in a world where love is called amor deliria nervosa and is the only recognized mental illness anymore.  That’s why when people turn 18 they must get an operation to ‘cure’ them.  After that, they are safe from love and all the nasty consequences that usually come around because of it.  But they never get to feel the ecstasy it brings either.

You can probably guess where this is going, right?  You’d be right if you said that Lena will fall in love with a mysterious boy who is originally from the rebel movement but snuck his way into the city.  Yes, I totally saw that coming as I was reading Delirium, but there are a few plot twists and Lauren Oliver at least tells the story well.

She does rely on the forbidden love factor a little too much if you’re reading this as an adult, but teens will love it.  Lena is going through her first love, which is both awkward and amazing at the same time.  For a teen that just experienced love for the first time or has yet to experience love, this is the perfect description of what it is like.  So although I rolled my eyes at some parts of Delirium, on the whole it’s a well written story.  It’s well written enough that I’ll be reading the sequel, Pandemonium, at any rate.

And for those of you that forget what love is like to the young, go see what Mozart says about it in his classic opera Le Nozze di Figaro:

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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  1. Thomas

    Nice review! I gave it 4/5 stars too. The premise is one that you need to accept with open arms to really get into the story – I feel like adults, as you mentioned, would feel that the forbidden love thing is taken a little too far. I liked it though, as well as its sequel. I hope you enjoy Pandemonium!

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