Saturday, 14 May 2011


Delirium is set in a dystopian world where love has been cured in everyone over the age of eighteen. In essence, it's a story about first love and love that endures against all odds.

Whilst I enjoyed Lauren Oliver's writing style, I felt the book lacking somewhat in my expectations. It focusses a lot on the central love story rather than the world in which love has been declared a dangerous disease. I would have preferred more back-story, learning how scientists came to that conclusion, about the development of the cure and the “cleansing” of the invalids. These areas are all mentioned but skimmed over.

I mean what would drive the creation of a nation of sociopaths? Because the cure doesn't just remove romantic love, it removes the ability to love a child, to be compassionate and feel empathy towards others. The cured will stand by whilst a family pet gets beaten and left to die without showing a single emotion.

The whole arranged marriage thing disturbed me a bit and for the sole reason that they were expected to have sex even though their ability to feel desire, as well as love, had been taken from them. That just seems so wrong to me. If parents are unable to love their children, what is the point of them being raised in a traditional family? IVF treatment would make much more sense to me in order to keep the human race going.

This story is set firmly in America with no mention of the outside world. I like to think that it's a crazy American idea and the rest of the world is happily going about their lives, falling in and out of love. I can just imagine when the procedure first came about, the UN meeting up to say, let them get on with it, no point starting a war. This isn't being anti-America, it's just that the procedure sounds like it requires expensive medical supervision; something that is not possible in a large proportion of the world. Developing countries can barely afford to vaccinate against malaria and tuberculosis after all. The US already have strict border controls, but elsewhere it is much easier to move around and spread the love.

There is so much mileage in the concept behind Delirium that it really feels wasted on a simple girl meets boy story.

The cover blurb seems like a spoiler to me and it is in an unmissable font size (on the UK hardback at least). Lena comes to that conclusion about 200 pages in. In my personal opinion, if it doesn't happen within the first 100 pages, it has no right being on the cover (exceptions for real-life events of course).


  1. That's the problem I had with it too. It was too focused on the actual story between boy and girl. I wanted to know more about the underground movement. I also didn't really believe the love story between the two of them. It happened a little too fast for me. I read it too soon after reading Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. It's not about removing love but it's similar in dystopian style. It gets it right in all the places Delerium got it wrong (for me anyway).

    I never thought of the outside angle mind you. I imagine the rest of the world would leave them to it.

  2. I totally agree with your review. I wanted to know more about the background, about how it came about, etc. I love dystopian fiction but this one kind of fell flat for me.

  3. Great review. I am reading Delirium right now and I am about 75% through. I do enjoy it but I am having a hard time taking the whole concept of love as a disease very serious. I agree that more back story would have made this so much better.


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