on 8 February 2012
Delirium is a book about a dystopia in the not-too-far-away future. It's based around the whole idea that love is a disease that will ultimately kill you. To save you from `amor deliria nervosa', as it is known, on your 18th birthday, you are `cured', in what is effectively a lobotomy. Our heroine, Lena, is excited, counting down the days until her cure, since her mother died because of the disease, and her sister had been infected by it as well. But everything is not perfect, in this society; there are the Wilds, where the Invalids, the uncured live. There are people who get around the censors, who hold parties where uncured boys and girls illegally mix, the sympathisers, and the Invalids who live in society. Then one day, Lena meets Alex, and her whole life is turned upside-down.
The characters are strong, no-one feels, how do I put this, plastic, fake, like they were rushed up when they were needed, just because. Everyone fit, even the minor characters had a back story. The three characters, especially Hana and Lena, are extremely well developed. Their personalities are really strong, that you feel you understand them, even when it gets flipped upside-down, you feel you know them, and above all you know why. Not many books I've read have done this so well.
If you're looking for a fast action-filled book, this is not your kind of book. It's the first of three books, so works more on character development than all out action, which I'm grateful for; I don't think it would work as a stand-alone book. I myself am a young teenager, but this doesn't make my review any less worthy, in fact, I'm the target audience, so if anything, my review should count just as much as anyone else's. I've learnt patience, and am an avid reader, although I read mainly fiction. I think for many people my age, especially those that aren't as confident with reading, or aren't fast or just don't have enough patience, the book will be cast aside and probably not touched again, because of the pace it moves at. If you are considering buying this as a present, I would think it over very carefully, make sure that they love reading and preferably have patience, otherwise, I'd look else where. This book isn't for them.
It's not slow-moving, and it's not fast-paced either, it's a rubber duck, floating in a river. But don't think it's boring, there's no way it can be in my mind, sure there are bits that are slightly predictable, but there are parts that you won't guess. I'm not a crier, but it did bring tears to my eyes at parts, it's a love story, in a time where love is banned. Family love, laughing too loud, dancing, crying, listening to music too loudly, saying certain words, are condemned. They can get you killed, or worse. The end is heart-wrenching, leaving you begging for more, to find out what happens next, to know that everything will be all right. But in this story, you can't know that, it's impossible to know.
The writing, to me, is amost perfect. I would say pefect, but then again, nothing is ever perfect, but it's good enough to me. To me, comparing it to the Hunger Games (the first book), it manages to pull on your heart strings more successfully. For me, in the Hunger Games some deaths weren't as tragic as it could be, since you didn't get to know the characters as well, but here, even when it wasn't a death, it still hurt.
The curious thing here, is that, unlike most dystopia's that you read in fiction, where the controlling power controls the physical aspects of your life, while this is present to an extent, this is more about controlling your mind. At the start of every chapter is an excerpt from a book that is published in that world, which is propaganda, basically brainwashing you into thinking that the cure is almighty, that it fixes everything, that your life will be perfect, when in fact, you slowly come to realise, that the cure is worse, it is a fate worse than death. Lena slowly comes to realise this, and finally tries to make her mistake.
For those who love books about dystopia, I recommend this book very highly. It's great for me. People who know more than me about syntax and punctuation, and all of those kind of things, obviously will find more things to criticise, but at the moment, my only criticism, is that the second book can't come fast enough.