Book Review: “Delirium”

“Delirium (Delirium #1)” by Lauren Oliver

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia

Source: Bought

Other books in Delirium Series

Summary from Goodreads:

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love — the deliria — blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.


The book world has been buzzing about this book for quite a while. I was pretty leery about reading it. I really don’t like romances but since this was also a dystopian book I thought it would mellow things about a bit. So I decided to buy it when it was cheap on Amazon. I had fairly high hopes for the book because so many people seemed to love it.

The world building was a bit shaky for my taste. As a reader, I don’t mind venturing into the totally bizarre in a book if an author makes the bizarre believable. The book describes a bit about amor deliria nervosa (aka love) and the symptoms. Maybe I’m just cynical but I don’t really understand how they are able to classify love as a disease (when we know it’s an emotion) without labeling other emotions as diseases. Maybe because emotions go away when they have the surgery? I don’t know. That never made sense to me. I also wondered how far they went with the precautions. Was Portland the only safe place? Just the US? The whole world? How exactly did we get to this point? I might just be overly critical but there were quite a few things that went unanswered.

I guess more than anything I was just disappointed in the book. That’s not to say it was bad though because it wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. I just had much, much higher hopes for it. I guess The Chaos Walking trilogy ‘ruined’ me in that way. Delirium had the potential to be really good if it pushed a bit more but in the end it just kind of played it safe. Because it played it safe, it really wasn’t that memorable.

Oliver’s style is beautiful and I highly enjoyed reading it. It was very easy reading. I really loved the way she started all the chapters with excerpts from The Book of Shhh and other safe books within their universe. That was a really creative idea. It would be really cool if she released a novella or short story of The Book of Shhh in the future. I’d read it. Unfortunately those snippets of info aren’t enough for me. She really needed to explain more about the world for me to enjoy it.

The bottom line? An enjoyable enough book but not the best dystopian book I’ve read.


11 thoughts on “Book Review: “Delirium”

  1. Wow, this is the first negative review of Delirium I’ve read. I think I also had several thoughts similar to yours – I was left wanting with some of the world building. I knew it was supposed to be a “dystopian” society, but it felt too real, as if it could be present day or maybe only 20 years in the future. Sad you were disappointed in it… although I threw it across the room when I finished so I’m not really one to talk 🙂

    • Exactly, it felt too real. I think if it wasn’t marketed/labeled a dystopian I might have liked it more. For me, if something is dystopian, I need lots of sci-fi in it! Maybe I’ll like the next book more? I’d probably grab it from the library when I have a chance.

  2. I am on a bit of a dystopia kick lately, but Chaos Walking was SO good I fear everything else will pale in comparison. I need to let that one get out of my system before trying another, I think.

  3. I like your thoughts. I’m going to read it this year, and it’s nice to see a review from the other side of the spectrum, as most reviews of the book are super positive.

  4. Oh, your perspective is so interesting… I loved this book soooo much, mainly because I used to live in Portland, Maine, and I could envision EVERYTHING in the book, right down to the streets, the parks, the statues, the time it takes to travel from one neighborhood to another. Plus, I loved the cover, and that always sways me a lot, too.

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