Monday, October 24, 2011

"Delirium" by Lauren Oliver Review and Cover Comparison

Delirium OR  Delirium: The Special Edition

The cover on the top is the UK paperback version. (I only know that because I was asked to post my review from Amazon on the UK site and I thought for a second I had the wrong book!) The other cover is from the US Special Edition version.
I prefer the US one myself. The girl on the UK one looks so young and innocent. Too young, really. Lena is supposed to be turning 17. Maybe it's just me, maybe I've watched too many CW network shows, but I picture teenagers more like what real people look like in their early to mid-twenties. Also, almost every fictional character I see in my head is extremely pretty. Again that may be the CW weighing in on my subconscious!
Back to the covers: I like the intensity of the other girl's stare, like love might drive her to do something cuh-RAY-zee (which is does.)
Thoughts? Discuss your preferences, preferably in Comment form so I don't feel like I'm talking to myself.
Plot Summary: Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2011: Lena Haloway is content in her safe, government-managed society. She feels (mostly) relaxed about the future in which her husband and career will be decided, and looks forward to turning 18, when she’ll be cured of deliria, a.k.a. love. She tries not to think about her mother’s suicide (her last words to Lena were a forbidden “I love you”) or the supposed “Invalid” community made up of the uncured just beyond her Portland, Maine, border. There’s no real point—she believes her government knows how to best protect its people, and should do so at any cost. But 95 days before her cure, Lena meets Alex, a confident and mysterious young man who makes her heart flutter and her skin turn red-hot. As their romance blossoms, Lena begins to doubt the intentions of those in power, and fears that her world will turn gray should she submit to the procedure. In this powerful and beautifully written novel, Lauren Oliver, the bestselling author of Before I Fall, throws readers into a tightly controlled society where options don’t exist, and shows not only the lengths one will go for a chance at freedom, but also the true meaning of sacrifice.

Also, here's the review of the book:
You've got to suspend your disbelief and go with it, people.
I liked it a lot quite a bit, almost in spite of myself. As others have said, the pacing is slow and there are similarities to Ally Condie's "Matched." At first, I kept comparing the two books as I read but when I started taking Delirium on its own terms I enjoyed it much more.
There's no denying the action doesn't start until later in the book, and the whole thing is a little too long. BUT...I really didn't care. Oliver's writing is poetry, and anytime I found myself wishing the pace would pick up, I would suddenly be bowled over by an exquisite image or sentence and forgive the book any of its faults. I think we all have things we will overlook if other elements of a book are good enough, and for me a slow plot can be dealt with if the writing is striking. Huge chunks of the narration read like blank verse poetry. If you find that sort of thing bothersome, this book probably isn't for you. If, like me, you're a reader who will get teary-eyed over a beautiful turn of phrase, I think you'll love this book.
As far as the plot goes, t I didn't really buy it. I can never imagine any society looking at its own vices and evil, then deciding, "You know what? Love caused all this! Let's perform brain surgery on all our citizens so they can't love anyone."
Dystopias work best when they take a present societal problem (like the proliferation of technology and lack of in-depth learning mentioned in "Matched") that you can actually imagine progressing and growing worse. I have no idea how any government would ever see fit to outlaw love, but as I said, I just read the book for the gorgeous prose and the romance. However, it's not just romantic love that Lauren Oliver contemplates, although that is certainly the main focus of the novel. The book is sort of a hymn to all types of love: romance, the love of dear friends, and familial love.
I ended the book and immediately starting searching online to see if there is a sequel. If there wasn't, I couldn't have lived with the ending. I was happy to see this is the first of a trilogy, and book two (Pandemonium) will be out in the spring of 2012.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you - I really liked DELIRIUM, even though I was sure I wouldn't. It's not the best-written dystopian in the world, but I still enjoyed it. Oh, and I'm with you on the UK cover - the model looks way, way too young. The US one is much better.


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