Lena lives in a work where love is the sickness and medicine is the cure. She has been fed the lie all her life, love is an evil thing, a disease, something to fear, something to run from; what will happen when she meets a boy from the Wilds who shows her the truth, and loves her unconditionally?
My Review AKA, why it sometimes sucks to be a reviewer:
Since I began reviewing books I have felt a great shift in how I approach reading. Books use to be just fun, an escape, a private world for me and me alone. Now I have all of you to share it with, which is amazing; I don’t feel quite as alone, but I am also more clinical when I read. Between the responsibility of reviewing ARCs by a certain date, communicating with Authors, fellow bloggers, readers, and updating the pages, reading ‘just for fun,’ is a thing of the past. Reading suddenly has a purpose, and a time quota I must fill. I’m stretching past the twenty-or-so books I would consider into the fifty I want to make sure get a review so all of you know what to read. I’m not just reading to fill a void, it’s my job, and that can make things difficult when you come across a book like Delirium.
I wish I could have read this one just as a reader, someone who was just soaking it up, not looking for faults and noteworthy points to use in a review. I wish I hadn’t been looking for the faults while reading this, because I am looking back and I feel I lost an opportunity to feel something that is indescribable.
I have two internal blogger ‘alter-egos.’ One is Ms. Editor, who is perpetually sucking on the arm of her glasses and has a much more unfortunate nose than I.
The other is in a pink T-shirt, cut-offs, rainbow socks and pigtails. She alternates between reading on the couch, eating popcorn by the fist-full and spreading out on a blanket in a meadow I have not had the pleasure of discovering yet.
While I was reading Oliver’s sophomore book, Delirium, Ms. Editor took over my brain, jotting down mental memo’s for me to communicate to you. While all that was happening, Ms. Pigtails’n’Popcorn was whispering, ‘Pay attention, this book is a love story.’ I wish I had listened to her.
Now both alter ego’s would like to have a word with you.
Ms. Editor: You may address me as Madame President, or Your Highness, whichever you prefer. Right, well, this is a book set in a dystopian era-America, where Portland is the only city left standing. Apparently, some Mad Scientist decided to come along and “cure” everyone of the Deleria AKA Love. It is unclear the origins, or time of this medical take-over, but I have to assume the government co-operated with this man and suddenly the cure was mandatory by pain of death. All manor of common culture was taken hostage to be used as propaganda against the Deleria; Even the Holy Bible was rewritten, removing the figures of a savior, Jesus, who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of love, as was the mighty God who hated sin and loved the sinner. In their place came indifference and government garbage to keep the people convinced. Romeo and Juliet became known as the ‘Cautionary Tale’ and 'The Book of Shhh' is the new book of principals for a Cured society.
Now, what do I think of all that? Well, for one, I believe Oliver should have re-named her Society. Like Westerfeld's, Pretty City, or Collins, Panem, there is a greater impact made when the where isn't sitting in your backyard, but it could be, and how do we get there, and why, or what happened? The cliche 'so close, and yet so far' can be implemented to prove the effect is real. A reader of dystopian wants the distance, and they want to know how society got there. Getting there was another rough point, if someone announced tomorrow they developed the cure L'amoure I would laugh them off; I know many, many people who would laugh them off. They are the same people who would form a rebellion if the government started forcing us into the procedure. In my world, I don't see Lena's reality, not a glimmer or a trace, which is the point of dystopian, to warn. That is not to say, however, that this is an impossible future, because I think it's probable. I do think that if Oliver had illustrated what the world 'right before' looked like, what made so many willingly abandon love, then I would have been able to wrap my mind around the concepts. As it is, I know people sacrifice everything for love, I see it, I feel it, we live in a world happily enslaved to love, and sadly enslaved to it's evil counter, hate. I don't believe those two things would be wiped willingly from the face of the Earth.
P'N'P: Is she done yet? Good. Whew! You can call me Pippi, Penny, or Princess Pip, whichever. I agree with my evil counter, Editor, that the dystopian elements are not well-done, however, something greater was at work in this novel all along, something that easily eclipses all the bad stuff. Even in life, Love conquers all.
Back to me: Hope y'all don't think I'm nuts, but I agree with both sides of my coin on this one. As a dystopian novel, this book barely crawls, let alone stands on it's own two feet, however this love story, and the writing, oh my goodness, I must mention the gorgeous writing, sends this novel far past the moon and into a galaxy all it's own.
I'm proud to say, I've caught the Deliria, 'I Love You. Remember. They Cannot Take It.'
Notes on the Names: They all fit well together, but didn't add to the dystopian plot. I loved them though! They were the story. By that I mean, the characters made this book so wonderful. Lena is really picking up as a literary name, but Oliver's characters full name is Magdalena, which is completely original!
Thoughts on the Cover: Interesting concept, I'm intrigued by how the publishing house plans to proceed with the sequels, Pandemonium, due in 2012 (A YEAR?!) and Requiem, due in 2013 (TWO YEARS?!) I'll be nearly nineteen then, and would have already been 'Cured.' Hmm, I wonder if this will change how I read the book. Then again, maybe it's finding your 'One' that makes the greatest difference.
P.S. I know I didn't put too much personal emotion in the review, which is sort of my 'thing' but I really feel like I deprived myself of experiencing the soul of this book; when I get a hardback copy for my Mod Podge Bookshelf I plan to read it again. So, you may hear more later.
I will say this, having read the last two pages over and over again only an hour ago, I feel rubbed raw and exposed where Lena and Alex have hit a place in my heart I cannot put words to. The only word with enough gravity to hold my feelings is this- Love.
This song is for you, Lena and Alex; your love lives on! They cannot take it, or your music!