Warning: This review is filled with lots of gushing and praise!
There have been so many raving reviews for Delirium in the blogosphere but I'm going to have to jump on the bandwagon and say that it left me speechless. A book that has the power to leave me feeling like that with my emotions churned up inside is something special because it's very rare that it happens. It's so difficult to put into words why it had the 'wow' factor. Whilst reading it, I wanted to race ahead to the end and turn the pages as quickly as I could to find our what happens but at the same time savour it because I didn't want it to end. I've read several other dystopian books but Delirium just had so much more of an impact on me.
Delirium's dystopian world appeared at first to not be so wildly different from our own but as different aspects are slowly revealed and a fulled picture of the society built up in my mind, I could see more and more of the differences. It is easy to see why Lena is looking forward to having the treatment because she wants to be able to be free of unbearable memories from her early childhood. She appears to be the perfect normal teenager awaiting the treatment that will change her life forever: she can quote the Book of Shhh, she knows the answers to her interview questions by heart; she's always home by curfew and she only listens to the music and reads the books set by the government. Yet Lena still bears the scars of losing her mother and the taunting of having a mother who committed suicide because she fell in love underneath. When she falls in love herself, she must decide whether to trust the Society or her heart. All her conflicting emotions and insecurities came across really well because the first person present tense way that the story is related in means Lena has a distinct voice.
Lena and Alex's relationship was wonderfully pure and the bond that they shared was evident. It was beautiful! I thought that Lena's feelings at experiencing her first love in a time where love of any kind is forbidden were captured very well because they were realistic. Alex is a mysterious character who is vibrant and full of life in his attitude and I enjoyed watching him slowly showing Lena what living life is really all about. He just seemed so perfect as he was romantic, kind, loyal, brace AND quoted poetry! Whilst I usually don't like this in characters, I loved it in this context. However I would have liked to have seen more development from his character because the development is focused on Lena all the time because she has a lot more flaws.
I also liked seeing Lena and Hanna's best friend relationship unfolding because they have known each other almost all their life and are obviously very important to each other. Although, they've come to a point in life where they're changing, growing up and going separate ways in life whilst there friendship is being tested by this strain.
My favourite thing about the book was Lauren Oliver's amazing writing and phenomenal word building that is full of colourful description and imagery that brings the dystopian world that Lena lives in to life. I found that instead of detracting from the story as I sometimes find in books, they enhanced it. I was inspired to sit down and write and that just about sums up my feelings about it. Lauren Oliver knows how to build up an extremely tense and suspenseful scene because the ending had my heart pumping and was desperately heart wrenching as the book is driven to a dramatic climax. The cliffhanger that it is left on is possibly the biggest I've ever read and had the intended effect because I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel Pandemonium.
Final words: Delirium is an incredible love story infused with enthralling and emotional writing that also explores the coming of age of a teenage girl in a society that is trying to eradicate love. This might be cliche but it's one of the best books I've read in a long while!