Author: Lauren Oliver
Category: Young Adult Dystopian Fiction
The most dangerous sicknesses are those that make us believe we are well – The Book of Shhh
“That’s when you really lose people you know. When the pain passes”- Alex
“I didn’t know what anything meant before you…. not really…” – Lena
“I love you. Remember. They can not take it”- Lena’s mother
LOVE is a disease.
That’s what this dystopian society believes. Better known as Amor Deliria Nervosa, it needs to be eliminated. So upon reaching the age of 18, it is mandatory for teenagers to undergo a treatment called The Cure, which is supposed to permanently remove that emotion from their system.
Lena is counting the days till her own cure. She and her best friend Hana are up for evaluation which would determine their future spouses after the treatment. But Hana is acting weird. Lena discovers that Hana has been listening to illegal music and wants to attend unauthorized parties. Against her better judgment, she follows Hana, and there she meets Alex.
She first saw Alex at her failed evaluation thinking that he was an Invalid. These are people who have not had the cure, resist the government and live in the Wilds (outside the borders of the approved communities). They are thought to have been destroyed years before with the bombing. But some have survived and infiltrated the community. Alex is one of them. Lena stays away from him until a surprise raid is conducted by the police in their area. Lena rushed to a party she knew Hana attended and in the process was almost caught herself. But Alex saved her.
As they got closer, she finds out through Alex that her mother is possibly alive. Lena’s mother supposedly commited suicide years before after refusing a 4th treatment of the cure. She is one of those rare individuals whose Amor Deliria Nervosa never went away. As far as Lena knew, her mother jumped off a cliff. Now she believes otherwise and wants to leave for the Wilds. But plans go awry at the last minute. Lena was caught and her treatment schedule was pushed up. She tries to escape with Alex but a happy ending is not to be.
I’m not a huge fan of dystopian novels but since I loved The Hunger Games trilogy and seeing this is a Lauren Oliver book, I just assumed I would happily breeze through this one. I was wrong.
To be honest, it took me ¾ into the book before connecting with Lena. And picking up the book itself to continue reading was an effort. Her character just comes off as too weak. She had too many i-will-i-won’t-i-can-I-can’t moments. Hana came off as a better and stronger character. I guess with Lena’s personal history it would be harder to believe if she were gung-ho but her indecisions just dragged on too long. Alex, as expected, was the best character. He was strong, confident and self sacrificing. No woman would fail to fall in love with him.
The writing itself was fluid and the descriptions made their world easy to imagine. I just failed to sympathize with Lena until the last quarter. The book’s ending is a good cliffhanger. So good in fact that I will be picking up Pandemonium, this trilogy’s 2nd book, after writing this review. Even with the slow flow of the story, the ending is so interesting that I still recommend Delirium. It is worth a read.
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