I’m going to preface this review with a little info. I’ve been a bit slack with reviewing lately due to a crazy personal life, I just got a new full-time job and I’m continuing working part-time on the weekends, plus I’m getting married in October so wedding planning has consumed my life! However, I’ve been listening to audiobooks on my 45+ minute drive to and from work. Hence my ability to get Delirium “read” in a decent time frame.
I’ve been super weary about reading Delirium. I’m not exactly sure why, maybe because there have been a lot of serious hit and misses with Dystopian novels or maybe it’s because there’s been a major hype around the series. I actually accidentally bought Pandemonium a few months back thinking it was the first book. I had a lot of Audible credits stacking up so I decided to splurge and buy a few audiobooks. I am really, really glad I decided to listen to Delirium on audiobook. It was so well done. I mean, really, really well done. After speaking with a friend and fellow blogger I found out that the woman who voices Lena is actually an actress so that explains her ability to perfectly capture the character. Before I get too in depth about the audio portion of the book I want to speak to the actual story first.
In a society where love has been forbidden, what do you live for? That was the question I asked myself when I began Delirium. The idea of a society without love is so foreign that I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the concept and wasn’t sure how Oliver was going to pull it off but she did, she knocked it out of the park.
Lena is a normal 17-year-old girl who runs cross-country, hangs out with her best friend Hana, and fantasizes about the day she will be officially cured of “Deliria Nervosa” more commonly known as Love. Lena is full of life and feelings, despite a lot of internal dialogue trying to convince herself otherwise, but once she is “cured” she will be devoid of all emotion. Lena looks forward to this with great anticipation since she has spent her life being ostracized because of her family’s indiscretions including being tainted by the deliria.
At one point I was worried I would find Lena’s internal conflict really annoying. It was pretty persistent but as the story progressed I realized that it gave the story a feeling of authenticity. What teenager (or adult for that matter) doesn’t submit to internal banter and berating when faced with difficult choices and ideas that conflict with lifelong beliefs? I found Lena’s inner monologue to really add depth to her as a character and really let me get to know her.
Lena also had some fairly solid relationships which was a nice thing to see. I’ve noticed that many YA characters don’t have a strong parental presence which was not the case for Lena. Lena grew up with her extended family, her Aunt Carol acting as a mother figure and her cousins offering a pseudo sibling network. She was also close with her sister Rachel before she was cured and Rachel is a key player in Lena’s thoughts and life. In addition to her family ties, Lena has a best friend, Hana who is a riot. Hana was undoubtedly an amazing character. She was funny, sarcastic, and the complete opposite of Lena. Where Lena was all caution and playing by the rules, Hana didn’t have too many issues bending the rules to fit her desires. The unlikely friendship between Hana and Lena and the bond they formed over the years felt real and not superficial. Although they have their quarrels, there’s definitely a level of love shared between the two that seems unshakable (at least until they get cured). The other vital character is Alex. He’s a guard for the government and has taken an interest in Lena. Lena is a bit confused by his persistent attempts at friendship but deems Alex safe since he’s cured. However, there’s an air of mystery surrounding Alex that Lena can’t quite figure out but intrigues her. I was not expecting Alex to be such a nice guy. I think my assumption that he would be more of a bad boy came from the casting of his character, which I know, don’t judge a book by its cover. Alas Alex is such a doll and has wormed his way into my heart as one of my favorite book boys. I mean, who doesn’t love a man who reads outlawed poetry?
As I said before the world building in Delirium was well done. The setting wasn’t all that different than our society in 21st century. They have computers and go to school, they just aren’t allowed to love. So I didn’t find anything to be confusing or overwhelming. There isn’t a lot of time spent on the world-building instead the focus is on the story behind the “deliria” which I thought was more important.
The only negative things I have to say about Delirium is that there were a few points where it was a little slow and the plot was predictable.
With well-paced action and a great deal of emotional depth, Delirium is a book I would definitely recommend. The characters are well-fleshed out and the world is easy to sink into. I can’t wait to see what is next for Lena in Pandemonium!
As for the audiobook itself, it was amazing . Sarah Drew is Lena. She captured all of Lena’s thoughts, fears, heartache, and happiness with such grace. Lauren Oliver writes a beautiful novel and Drew truly brings it her words to life. Even though I own Pandemonium in book format, I’m tempted to buy it in audiobook just hear Lena come to life again. Not only is Drew so good at capturing Lena, she’s also able to change her voice to fit each character and give them each their own distinctive tone. It’s really amazing. Her Alex voice captures his easy-going nature so well that I almost believe it’s another person. This is the best audiobook I’ve listened to thus far and would recommend it highly!