“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.”
-Delirium by Lauren Oliver
All the pre, during and post Valentine’s Day drama makes me think where love is not a good thing and the first series that I can think of is Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I don’t remember how I found this book but I read a sample of it at Amazon while thinking about buying it and the opening lines (as quoted above) made me decide that I had to read it. A book about a world where love if a disease can be only a romance novel (because that is how things go) and it is a romance novel. But it is beautifully written and there are lot of lines, especially the last lines in each book, that make you re-read and re-read them just so you can sink in the message.
Note: This review contains some spoilers.
Book One: Delirium
Plot: As soon as citizens turn eighteen they have to undergo a treatment to cure deilira amor nervosa, that is, love. Lena had been waiting for a long time to turn eighteen so that she can undergo a treatment. She had seen people fall in love before they turn eighteen and how they fought against a treatment which will take away most of their feelings. But for Lena, the treatment is something to look forward to. Her mother had undergone three treatments but they failed to work on her. Lena’s only chance of stopping herself from feeling like an outcast is to undergo the treatment. But ninety five days before her treatment, she falls in love.
Comments: The beginning hooked me. There is just something that made me want to read a little more. I knew that Lena will fall in love but the question was: how? She was so afraid of falling in love that it makes it interesting to read about how that happens. Most of the details of her and Alex’s, the boy she fell in love with, love story are not given in this book. They are given in form of flashbacks in the second book.
Book Two: Pandemonium
Plot: Lena had almost escaped with Alex when they were caught and Alex had given his life to save her. Lena makes her way to the Invalids and finds a new life. She tries to forget her old life, her old friends and help in the resistance. She is trying to forget things the way Raven taught her.
Comments: Normally in a trilogy I feel that second book is the worst one. We know the characters well enough that learning more about them is not as interesting. Even the action part seems to lack in comparison with the first book. Fortunately, this is not a book where such things happen. The chapters are titled “now” and “then” . “Now” chapters deal with Lena’s life with Invalids while “then” chapters show how Lena and Alex fell in love and fill in the blanks of first book. It gives a feeling that I can only describe as “shattered glass.” Lena is shattered after Alex death’s but she tries to piece together her life while helping in the resistance.
Book Three: Requiem
Plot: Requiem is told from the point of views of Lena and Hana, Lena’s friend. Hana, the one who has initially reluctant to undergo treatment in Delirium, has undergone treatment and is soon to be married but she starts learning disturbing things about her would-be husband. Lena, the one who wanted to undergo treatment but instead fell in love and left for Wilds, is now a active member of the resistance. She discovered that Alex is still alive, at the end of Pandemonium, but he thinks that she has now moved on to Julian. Lena has to rescue Julian from a death sentence while her friends fled to the Wilds which is no longer safe.
Comments: I found the Alex-Lena-Julian drama a bit too much at times but otherwise this book was exciting. There are some surprising discoveries to be made which tie up some the loose ends but this ending is drastic. The book suddenly ended and left me going over the last paragraph again and again trying to understand what would have happened next. The book ends with a message to tear down the walls.
The series also includes the short stories Hana, Annabel and Raven.
This series was quite good for a dystopian romance. I think I would like to say “You infected me with deliria amor nervosa” instead of “I love you” if I ever fell in love after reading this series. There is an emphasis on romance, because how can a book set in such a world not be, but feelings of being who you are run through it. There is a message of not being hampered down by anything and be who you wish to be.