Delirium – Review

delerium book cover

Title – Delirium

Author – Lauren Oliver

Publisher – Hodder

Pages- 441 (Paperback)

Published – February 7th 2012

Series – Delirium (1/3, Completed)

14 July 2017

“Mama, Mama, help me get home
I’m out in the woods, I am out on my own.
I found me a werewolf, a nasty old mutt
It showed me its teeth and went straight for my gut.

Mama, Mama, help me get home
I’m out in the woods, I am out on my own.
I was stopped by a vampire, a rotting old wreck
It showed me its teeth and went straight for my neck.

Mama, Mama, put me to bed
I won’t make it home, I’m already half-dead.
I met an Invalid, and fell for his art
He showed me his smile, and went straight for my heart.

-From “A Child’s Walk Home,” Nursery Rhymes and Folk Tales”

The premise of Delirium is that love is a disease, so when people turn eighteen, they must be immunised against it.

One of the main themes in the book is the role of the government. In this society, government surveillance is rampant; people are constantly monitored and watched. Phone lines are not private, there is always a chance that someone is listening and there are regular ‘raids’ where armed police search people’s homes, supposedly to see if they are hiding fugitive ‘invalids’. All music and books that mention love are considered contraband too, this leaves very few volumes for people to enjoy, not that adults would enjoy music or literature anyway in their subdued states.

Lena and Hana rebel against these methods of oppression by speaking over the phone in codes and downloading illegal music online. Throughout the novel, it always seems to be Hana who is teaching Lena about these things, even inviting her to a party where banned music is played and girls and boys mingle.

All of these methods seem to be so that U.S. citizens have a lack of freedom and expression, they become a uniform mass of sheep with a lack of culture and passion, they won’t rebel against their government because they simply don’t have the ability to care.

The operation that citizens have to rid them of love is also explored in depth in the novel. A three pronged instrument is inserted into the patient’s head in order to sever the part of the brain that allows them to feel love. After the operation, people show off their scars with pride, women often wear their hair up or cut it short in order to have the scar visible at all times.

The operation doesn’t just ruin romantic love though, it also means that people cannot love their families or children, often leading people to murder their offspring and pets. I wish that this was explored more by Oliver, so that we could see what the operation makes people do to each other in more detail, this is kept rather vague.

Now onto the characters. Lena is our main character, and her main arc is to discover her independence and how she feels about love, not just the lies that she is told by her society. Lena is seventeen at the opening of the novel, she is excited for her upcoming surgery. “I can’t wait.” Lena currently experiences love, passion and empathy and is often appalled by adults’ actions due to their zombie-like lack of emotions.

She becomes quickly infatuated by Alex, mostly because the love is forbidden, but I think that the real love story here is between Lena and her best friend Hana. Her only reason for fearing the operation at the opening of the book is because she will inevitably lose Hana, as they become emotionless adults. This theme of friendship is explored well by Oliver and the audience really feels the love these two girls have towards one another.

All in all, Delirium is a great read that will leave you with some food for thought. The characters are intriguing, the premise engaging and the execution mostly good. There are minor issues with some heavy handed messages and pacing problems early on, but considering that this is only the author’s second work, it is still pretty good.


Please like it if you like it and don’t forget to leave a comment!

Buy on Amazon:
Delirium (Delirium Trilogy Book 1)

PS. Again, so sorry for the late upload, I’m still getting the hang of this! Xx


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