March 19, 2013

Book Review: Delirium


Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium
Book: 1
Publication Date: February 1st, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 0061726834
ISBN13: 9780061726835
Rating: 

They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever. 

And I've always believed them.

Until now.

Now everything has changed.

Now, I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

Lena looks forward to receiving the government-mandated cure that prevents the delirium of love and leads to a safe, predictable, and happy life, until ninety-five days before her eighteenth birthday and her treatment, when she falls in love.


This is a detailed review so read at your own risk. 

This has been getting a lot of buzz lately since it's going to be adapted into a TV Series. So I find it necessary to read so I'll be able to understand or relate to the show once the series is shown. Plus, this has been stacked on my TBR list and since I hated cliffhangers, I decided to wait for the release of the last book, which is Requiem, before starting this one. 

Expectations. I have very high expectations for this book since some bloggers level it to Hunger Games. I, for one, is a major fanatic of that book and that also fueled my desire to read Delirium. Unfortunately, on the first half of this book, it was a little bit dragging and sometimes I can't stop my eyelids from drooping because it made me sleepy. Although, the pace will catch up at the second half of the book. 

The Concept. Well, this is another dystopian novel but this book has a very unique approach to it because it turned love into very disgusting disease. This will be the element that will bind the story together and would probably be the cause of a lot of conflicts in this series. 

The Dystopian World of Portland 

It has been sixty four years since the President and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty three since the scientists perfected a cure. 

Love a.k.a Amor deliria nervosa , the deadliest of all deadly things. It produces shifts in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which result in fantasies and delusions that, once revealed, lead in turn to psychic devastation. What makes this dystopian world interesting is that they consider love as a disease. They believe that love have caused fracture, chaos, and instability to the people infected by it and because of this the case of marriage dissolution increased, incidence of drug-use and alcohol-related deaths also skyrocketed. So the scientists came with a cure that will prevent them to feel it. To undergo the procedure, you have to be at least eighteen or sometimes a little older. Otherwise, the procedure won't work correctly: people end up with brain damage, partial paralysis, blindness, or worse. 

THE SYMPTOMS 

PHASE ONE 
-preoccupation; difficulty focusing 
-dry mouth 
-perspiration, sweaty palms 
-fits of dizziness and disorientation 
-reduced mental awareness; racing thoughts; 
-impaired reasoning skills 

PHASE TWO 
-periods of euphoria; hysterical laughter and heightened energy 
-periods of despair; lethargy 
-changes in appetite; rapid weight loss or weight gain 
-fixation; loss of other interests 
-compromised reasoning skills; distortion of reality 
-disruption of sleep patterns; insomnia or constant fatigue 
-obsessive thought and actions 
-paranoia, insecurity 

PHASE THREE (CRITICAL) 
-difficulty breathing 
-pain in the chest, throat, or stomach 
-difficulty swallowing; refusal to eat 
-complete breakdown of rational faculties; 
-erratic behavior; violent thoughts and fantasies; hallucinations and delusions 

PHASE FOUR (FATAL) 
-emotional / physical paralysis (partial or total) 
-death 

HOW PEOPLE LIVE IN THIS WORLD 

People are allowed to study. In their senior year, they will have various board exams - math, science, oral and written proficiency, sociology and psychology and a specialty elective. Then scores will be release. The academic assessors will analyze the strengths and weakness of a person, and then assign him to a school and a major. The last step is the evaluation so will get paired. They'll be put in the scrutiny of the evaluators and answer all their questions. After which, evaluators will send a list of four or five approved matches. One of them will become their spouse once they graduate from college assuming that they passed their board exams. People who don't pass get paired and marry right out of highschool. The evaluators will do their best to match them with people who received a similar score in the evaluations. As much as possible they try to avoid any huge disparities in intelligence, temperament, social background, and age. 

THE CITIZENS 

The Cured. These are the people who have already undergone through the procedure. They are not capable of loving though there some who seem resistant to the cure. 

The Sympathizers. These are the cured people who are still somehow affected with the disease. They can still feel things they're not supposed to feel. They are almost always executed. If not, they're locked away in the Crypts to serve three life sentences, back-to-back. 

The Resistors. These are the people who resist undergoing the procedure. Most of them are captured and locked away at the Crypts. Others who got lucky run into the wilds. 

The Invalids. These are the people who live in the Wilds and they also haven't undergone the procedure. They don't see love as a disease, or they don't believe in the cure. They think it's a kind of cruelty. 

The Regulators. They are employed by the government. They patrol streets every night, looking for uncureds breaking curfew, checking the streets and (if curtains are open) houses for unapproved activity, like two uncureds touching each other, or walking together after dark - or even two cureds engaging in activity that might signal the re-emergence of the deliria after the procedure. They repost directly to the government and work closely with the scientists at the labs. 

The Uncureds. These are the people who haven't undergone the procedure yet. These are the minors, since you should be at least eighteen to undergo one. 

THE LANDMARKS. 

The Wilds. This is the unregulated land that exists between recognized cities and towns. This is where the Invalids live and have been believed as a myth among the people living within the borders. They believe that a place like this doesn't exist. 

Portland. This is the setting of the story. The border is surrounded by electric wires so people fear crossing this line. All the cureds live here. Motto: Safety, Sanctity, Community. 

The Crypts. This is Portland's combo prison-and-mental-ward. This is where the sympathizers and resisters go. There are six wards in this building, Ward Six is the worst and is considered as the Dead Ward. This is where the political prisoners go. They are kept in solitary confinement no one ever gets released. 

THE BOOK OF SHHH, The Safety, Health, and Happiness Handbook. This is like the Bible of the people in Portland. Everything that can be learned about their world can be found here. Defacing or destroying the book is sacrilege. 

THE CHARACTERS. 

Magdalena Ella "Lena" Haloway. I'm not ugly, but I'm not pretty, either. Everything is in-between. I have eyes that aren't green or brow, but a muddle. I'm not thin, but I'm not fat, either. The only thing you could definitely say about me is this: I'm short. Yeah she's kind of short, only stands 5'2. She's a cross-country runner. She was brought up to believe in all the stuff the government has told its people. She follows all the rules and she can't really wait to have her procedure. But all of this change when he meets Alex. She became the number one rule breaker and weeks before her operation, she decided that she wants to resists it if she could not feel what she's feeling when she's with Alex once she's cured. She wants to be an obedient one but there's a part of that wants to be freed. Once she gave in, her feelings can't be stopped. I love how she stood up for herself. She's a strong individual. 

Alex Warren /Sheathes. His hair is golden brown, like leaves in autumn just as they 're turning, and he has bright amber eyes. I admit I still can't connect that much to him. Though sometimes, I feel giddy, I have to read the other books to have a full view of him. Alex is an Invalid who posted as Cured and you'll see how his relationship with Lena will play in this series. I love that he can stand up and fight for his girl. He's a man who isn't afraid to go against odds as longs as it's going to protect the one he loves. 

Hana. She's a really tall and beautiful. She's rich and she's Lana's bestfriend. She loves to break rules and always encourages Lana to go out of her comfortable zone. And in the end, Lana beat her. I guess she envies Lana for being brave and following what her heart desires. I hope to see more of Hana in the next books. 

Regarding Lana's and Alex's love story, I feel like it was a bit rushed. I was hoping for more flirting and love-hate meetings first. :) 

As a reader, I can see how much effort was put in creating a dystopian world where people consider love a disease. The setting was meticulously detailed leaving me engrossed in my imagination. The places felt real and the excerpts at the beginning of the chapters were believable. I wonder where the author got all her ideas. Sometimes, I feel like pulling out my laptop and googling all these details just to appease my mind that what I'm reading is fictional and that it would yield to zero results. I admire an author who puts great effort to describe all the necessary details that are needed for the readers to appreciate their creation and authors like Lauren Oliver are rare. She will come a long way. It seems like the book was well-thought off. Meaning, the idea was going on in her head long before she put it into writing. I'm glad she did. I hope that the next books will be more exciting and I expect an action packed Pandemonium. Good job Lauren!

Every choice is limited. That's life. 
You can't be really happy unless you're unhappy sometimes.

Everyone you trust, everyone you think you can count on, will eventually disappoint you. When left to their own devices, people lie and keep secrets and change and disappear, some behind a different face or personality, some behind a dense early morning fog, beyond a cliff. 
That's when you really lose people, you know. When the pain passes. 
Time jumps. It leap. It pours away like water through fingers. 
Nothing has ever been so painful or delicious as being so close to him and being unable to do anything about it: like eating ice cream so fast on a hot day you get a splitting headache. 
Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That's what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side. 
One of the strangest things about life is that it will chug on, blind and oblivious, even as your private world - your little carved-out sphere - is twisting and morphing, even breaking apart. 
Life, the relentless mechanism of existing - isn't about you. It doesn't include you at all. It will thrust onward even after you've jumped the edge. Even after you're dead.

He is my world and my world is him and without him there is no world. 
I guess that's just part of loving people: You have to give things up. Sometimes you even have to give them up. 
I know that life isn't life if you just float through it. I know that the whole point - the only point - is to find the things that matter, and hold on to them, and fight for them, and refuse to let them go. 
You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them. You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist. And there are many of us out there, more than you think. People who refuse to stop believing. People who refuse to come to earth. People who love in a world without walls, people who love into hate, into refusal, against hope, and without fear. I love you. Remember. They cannot take it. 


Lauren Oliver comes from a family of writers and so has always (mistakenly) believed that spending hours in front of the computer every day, mulling over the difference between “chortling” and “chuckling,” is normal. She has always been an avid reader. 

She attended the University of Chicago, where she continued to be as impractical as possible by majoring in philosophy and literature. After college, she attended the MFA program at NYU and worked briefly as the world’s worst editorial assistant, and only marginally better assistant editor, at a major publishing house in New York. Her major career contributions during this time were flouting the corporate dress code at every possible turn and repeatedly breaking the printer. Before I Fall is her first published novel. 

She is deeply grateful for the chance to continue writing, as she has never been particularly good at anything else.

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