Delirium: A Novel by Lauren Oliver


Imagine a world plagued by fear. A world similar to ours today, infected with a sickness that controls people’s lives. A disease called amor deliria nervosa–also known as love.

This is the world that Lauren Oliver creates in her novel, Delirium. 

Delirium is set in an alternate present where the government has declared love a dangerous disease. Marriages are assigned based on possible success, and parents watch over children as an act of duty, not care. 

On their eighteenth birthday, children are eligible for the Cure, a procedure that–supposedly–keeps them from being infected by amor deliria nervosa. The main character, Lena, can’t wait to get the Cure–that is until she meets a boy named Alex and falls in love.

This definitely wasn’t my favorite dystopian book ever, but it surprised me. The concept of the book was insightful, even if it was a little cliche. The argument of the government to steer clear of love was so convincing and ingrained in the minds of the characters, I almost found myself agreeing with it. 

There have been books where the government bans things like love, creativity, and individuality–but this is the first I have read where any of these things have been considered a disease.

Lena’s character development was great. Lauren Oliver definitely did her research, because Lena provides a great example of trauma and how it can deeply affect people’s choices and outlook on the world. Lena’s mother had killed herself because she had contracted amor deliria nervosa. Experiencing this awful event at a young age causes Lena to fear the disease even more. 

Another part of the book that I enjoyed was the use of figurative language in descriptions and emotional portions of the book. The writing overall was appealing and expressed the mood of the settings and situations quite well.

The ending of the story was really good. It’s a cliffhanger and leaves enough information for the reader to be concerned but not too much so that the reader can guess what will happen next. I know I’ll be reading the next book for sure!

Again, this isn’t my favorite dystopian novel, but for a good reason. There were several issues, but I was at least able to ignore them while I was reading.

It didn’t bother me as much as some, but there were very few central characters. There was Lena, Alex, and Lena’s best friend Hana. It would have been nice for there to be more characters for the reader to root for, and this lack of side characters made the world feel much smaller.

The worldbuilding seemed unfinished. There were plenty of small details but not a lot of overall information. We don’t know much about the world outside of Lena’s town, although that may be because Lena doesn’t either. We know very little about the history of the world, even though that seems like an important aspect in the lives of this story’s people. 

The biggest problem I had with the story was its occasionally careless writing. The writer was constantly coming up with details and then deciding they weren’t relevant for a period of time, even when they should have been. The author just didn’t put as much thought into some plot points as they should have.Despite the obvious issues, Delirium was a good book. I’m not sure I would recommend it to everyone, but if you’re a fan of dystopian fiction, it is worth a read!


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