Delirium is the first book of a trilogy by Lauren Oliver.

Delirium Book Cover

Writing style: 4.5/5

Oliver has a way with words, manipulating them into melodies, rather than just simple sentence. It feels like there is a rhythm to what she puts on the page and she is deliberate with every description, piece of dialogue, even the run on sentences she favors. It’s all meant to bring this first person POV to life, help you better imagine and feel the world she’s creating. I especially love how she describes the setting of Portland, Maine – I read somewhere that Oliver spent some time in the city just to make sure she got the details right.

One thing I noticed is that her metaphors hardly ever use the similes “as” or “like” (at least the way she writes makes these not stand out as much). This gives her prose that poetic feel; however, it could get drawn out and melodramatic sometimes, especially when she would do standalone paragraphs at the beginning or end of chapters to set the mood or do character development.

Creativity of story: 4/5

I don’t want to put too many spoilers in this review, but Oliver’s world is basically a love story set in a world without love.

The world of Delirium centers around the notion that love is a disease. I think it’s a great idea to turn an emotion, something so erratic and wild, into a plague that needs to be eradicated, managed, handled. The way the government in this story does this is pretty interesting and realistic, and I enjoyed learning more about the world than I did the love story between Lena and Alex. Why? It didn’t really feel electric or real. It was juvenile, but then again, that’s because the story calls for it – Lena has shunned the idea of love almost her entire life. Watching their love story unfold just wasn’t the most exciting part about this book for me.

Overall thoughts: Worth Reading

It’s got classic elements – the innocent blossoming of first love – and these wild, uncharted territories – love is a disease, it is illegal, and it will kill you. As I mentioned, the love story here is sub-par compared to the world building, and the development of Lena’s character. Her background, the way her thinking evolves over the course of the book, and the secrets about her life are really intriguing. Even her relationships with everyone but Alex are very interesting to watch. I just started the second book in the series, Pandemonium, and so far it seems like Lena has gotten even better as a character.

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