Delirium

Posted: December 14, 2012 in Words
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Delirium cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every now and then you read a book that changes you. It might not be a best-seller, or even remotely well-known. You might come across it purely by accident while you’re scanning the shelves of your local bookstore, find the blurb interesting, and take it home with next-to-no expectations. But somehow, for whatever reason, it mesmerizes you. It drags you into its fictional world, into the hearts and souls of its characters and it finds a way to keep you wanting, desperate to know what happens next. Recently I read a book like this. It was called Delirium.

Delirium, written by Lauren Oliver, is set in an immaculately constructed dystopian America. This is a world where love has been identified as a disease – amor deliria nervosa – for which they have managed to find a cure. The deliria, as they call it, was once viewed as a wonderful thing, something to be dreamed of longingly and celebrated, but that is partly why they believe it is so dangerous. It affects your mind and body, making you think irrationally, feel things you shouldn’t feel and do things you shouldn’t do. The cure, a procedure performed on or very soon after your 18th birthday, aims to leave you safe and happy forever. Naturally, things don’t always go as planned.

The story begins with the protagonist, Lena, exactly 95 days from her 18th birthday and, much to her delight and relief, her procedure. She believes everything she has ever been taught about the deliria and has come to fear it, as is expected of her. But, of course, it isn’t all as simple as journeying with her through those 95 days and then reaching the end of the story. I don’t want to give too much away, because it truly is a brilliant novel and I encourage you all to read it. I will say, though, that while there are a few obvious and anticipated plot twists, there are some other things I definitely didn’t see coming that made the story that much more exciting to read. The best part? After completing Delirium I discovered that it is actually the first book of a trilogy! I went out and bought the second book, Pandemonium, immediately and have already started reading it. The final book, Requiem, is due out early next year.

From a writers point of view, Oliver’s use of metaphor is fantastic. Some of my personal favourites include “…makes the city smell like a giant armpit” (p.160) and “I feel like I’m back in my dream, getting slurped into the dark, floundering like an insect stuck in a bowl of honey” (p. 247). Oliver describes things beautifully without ever feeling the need to over-describe them. Some of the other novels I have read lately have been dripping with unnecessary adjectives, so it is refreshing to dive into Oliver’s work. Her characters are created so that you can get into their heads and really understand them; every little detail has been accounted for. I can’t wait to finish Pandemonium, after which I will be counting down the days until Requiem is released.

Watch this space for a Pandemonium review coming soon. Make sure you read Delirium in the mean time so I don’t spoil too much for you!

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