The Delirium Series by Lauren Oliver
The Delirium series by Lauren Oliver consists of three books, and four novellas. I read the first book, Delirium, in 2011 and only a short seven years later, I just finished Requiem! If you haven't heard of this series yet, it's a dystopian novel that takes place in a world that has outlawed love, aka the disease amor deliria nervosa. While I absolutely love the idea of love as a disease, along with the accompanying "side effects", you really have to suspend disbelief to inhabit the world of Delirium. Once done though, it's a wonderful story.
Symptoms of Amor Deliria Nervosa
-preoccupation; difficulty focusing
-perspiration, sweaty palms
-fits of dizziness and disorientation
-reduced mental awareness; racing thoughts; impaired reasoning skills
-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 thoughts and actions
PHASE THREE (CRITICAL):
-pain in the chest, throat or stomach
-complete breakdown of rational faculties; erratic behavior; violent thoughts and fantasies; hallucinations and delusions
PHASE FOUR (FATAL):
-emotional or physical paralysis (partial or total)
If you fear that you or someone you know may have contracted deliria, please call the emergency line toll-free at 1-800-PREVENT to discuss immediate intake and treatment.
The story centers on Lena, a normal girl living in Portland where she meets Alex and contracts the dread disease amor deliria nervosa. I thought the love story between Alex and Lena was very well done and sweet, building up instead of going straight for the instalove. There are two main love interests in the books, Alex and Julian, and lots of complex circumstances involving each of the relationships that I won't spoil for you. Oliver manages to give each of the romances its own tone and meaning while never really straying into love triangle territory.
“I love you. Remember. They cannot take it.”
The last book in the series, Requiem, is foremost in my mind and where most of my complaints about the series rest. In Requiem, I found the plot to be very slow for most of the book, with too much focus on angst, and some questionable decision making and blindness on Lena's part. However, I thought the ending was a perfect wrap on the series, and left me with this inspiring passage:
“Take down the walls.
That is, after all, the whole point.
You do not know what will happen if you take down the walls; you cannot see through to the other side, don't know whether it will bring freedom or ruin, resolution or chaos. It might be paradise or destruction.
Take down the walls.
Otherwise you must live closely, in fear, building barricades against the unknown, saying prayers against the darkness, speaking verse of terror and tightness.
Otherwise you may never know hell; but you will not find heaven, either. You will not know fresh air and flying.
All of you, wherever you are: in your spiny cities, or your one bump towns. Find it, the hard stuff, the links of metal and chink, the fragments of stone filling you stomach.
And pull, and pull, and pull.
I will make a pact with you: I will do it if you will do it, always and forever.
Take down the walls.”
I've also read and loved Before I Fall and Panic by Lauren Oliver, and I'd highly recommend them as well. They're very different from this series, but the great writing and characters shine through. I'd also give a lukewarm recommendation to the four novellas that accompany this series. They're enjoyable insights into Hana, Annabel, Alex, and Raven, but definitely skippable if you're not one for bite sized books.
4/5 big faces on covers
Dare to Love
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