I’ve had some complaints from people (I feel kind of complimented that enough people read the blog to actually complain…) that I post spoilers when I do my Book of the Week reviews. I do the best that I can to not post spoilers but for the most part, there are going to be spoilers. I try to warn beforehand but I don’t always. I am sorry if I have ruined books for some people, but I do post that. If it becomes a problem, I can start posting a blanket warning in front of each Book of the Week post. Anyway, enjoy!
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In just two days, I will be heading down the freeway to the Mission Viejo library to meet Lauren Oliver, the author of the fantastic novel, Before I Fall, and her dystopian best seller, The Delirium trilogy.
I’ve been to this library twice for author events, to meet Meg Cabot (for the fourth time…I kind of stalk her…) and to meet Cassandra Clare (who, incidentally, I will be meeting in the same spot later this month!). They seriously rock, I have to give mad props to Allison Tran, the teen librarian, and A Whale of a Tale bookstore, for setting up such epic events.
Moving on though, Lauren is hitting the road to promote the last book in her Delirium trilogy, Requiem, which just came out this past Tuesday, the 5th. Of course, I picked it up that day and finished it by that night, somehow managing to do that in between my four hour physics class and my nanny job.
And I thought, in honor of the fact that I will be meeting her for the first time on Sunday, this week’s Book of the Week should be dedicated to her.
On another side note, her hit trilogy will be hitting TV screens most likely this fall, as it has been optioned by Fox and casting has already begun. Emma Roberts, of Nancy Drew and Unfabulous fame, has been cast as Lena Haloway. Gregg Sulkin has been cast as Julian Fineman, and Daren Kagasoff, also known as Ricky from The Secret Life of an American Teenager, will be playing Alex (not sure how I feel about that). Lastly, it was just announced Jeanine Mason will be playing Hana Tate.
So here you go:
young adult, romance, dystopian
Part of a Series?:
Yes, the third book and conclusion to the Delirium series
You May Like it If You LIked:
Matched series, Divergent series, the Hunger games series
In the Delirium series, we meet Lena, an almost eighteen year old girl who lives in a society much like ours except one really major difference: love is a disease (amor deliria nervosa) and everyone must get cured at their eighteenth birthday. Then they will be sent off to college, and paired with someone who matches them logically, and will be married. Romantic, right? Lena is ready to be cured, can’t wait to be cured,especially since her mother died, killed herself when she was overcome by the disease. That is, until she meets Alex and contracts the disease. With this, Lena starts to question whether love really is a disease. The trilogy follows Lena as she discovers truth and lies about the society she lives in, and the truth of her mother’s death, and it doesn’t take long before she is involved in a rebellion (because what’s a dystopian novel without a little rebellion?). Requiem is the final chapter of this trilogy and is the story of the resistance. The first two books have led up to this point.
There is good in this novel. I swear that there is.
First off, Lauren Oliver is a good writer. The girl has talent and the story was there. I really liked her story. At first, I felt that instant similarity between Delirium and Matched by Ally Condie. I do, however, think the books go into different directions. I think Oliver had a really strong story; it just wasn’t executed well. Dystopian novels are nothing new, especially nowadays but Lauren Oliver had a slightly more unique idea and I do admire her for that. In the Matched trilogy, you are allowed to love. Sure, they pick who you love, but you’re allowed to love. Love exists in all these other dystopian novels, even if its not in the most romantic sense. In these books, love is a disease and you’re cured into indifference, living your life with someone on the basis that you are creating a new generation and thats it. I do think she had a very good starting point but I don’t think it was executed as well as it could have been.
I also really liked that even though it starts off about love, it doesn’t end that way. It could have gotten super cheesy, super fast (although, it does get cheesy). The rebellion isn’t really about love, but about the idea of choice. They want the freedom of choice, even if it is the wrong choice. They aren’t preaching love, but they are preaching free thought. Even though the idea of free thought in a dystopian novel isn’t exactly new but it was unique in this story. I wasn’t expecting the rebellion to have free choice, even the wrong choices, as their belief. I would have expected it to be love.
I even liked the alternating points of view, mostly because the other point of view we get in the story is the point of view of Hana, Lena’s best friend from when she was part of the society, the valids and not the Invalids. Hana is on the exactly opposite side of where Lena is; she is still in society and she’s been cured of the disease. You see things from her point of view, and how she feels sort of blissfully empty and painless without all those confusing feelings you feel when you’re only a teenager. I still think that I would be on the side that Lena is on, because no matter how much love HURTS at times, its worth. And it is nice to have your own choices, to mess up and all that. But I liked being able to see Hana’s side; it gave some humanity to the other. I feel like we never really get the other side when reading a dystopian novel. In the Delirium trilogy, Hana gives us some humanity because even though she is cured and she can’t really fully love anymore, and she doesn’t feel like she used to but she still cares. She feels the cruelty from her future husband and she feels enough to want to help Lena’s family.
With the good being said, it’s time to move on to the bad. Lauren Oliver was on a roll to making me feel better about Requiem versus the previous book, Pandemonium. The whole premise of Delirium is that Lena discovers that love is not a disease and she falls in love with Alex. Then Alex dies, and in Pandemonium, she starts falling for Julian. Now other than my reader’s loyalty to Alex, I just felt it ruined her point. Especially when we learn Alex is NOT dead and Requiem has the dreaded love triangle. I find love triangles to be fairly annoying and unnecessary to begin with but it bothered me a lot more here. It seemed to fall into society’s ideas of love as a disease and causing irrational thoughts and chaos. Lena is ready for the cure in Delirium, she wants it, and falling in love isn’t easy for her. For a long time, she feels like she is contracting the disease…so I find it hard to believe that she would just love two different boys like that. Or if she really did, she would have thoughts of the disease because she was trained to believe that her whole life.
I also had an issue with how quickly she was able to work things out with her mom. She has thought her mother dead for years, and she finds out this is not true in Delirium, that she has broken out of the prison where she was kept for many years. She has to be bursting with so many questions and confused feelings. She has to be angry. I don’t think that she would have forgiven her mother that easily and would have developed a relationship with her that easily. I do think forgiveness, and love would come but just not as soon as it did. It just seemed too unbelievable to me.
Which means me to my least favorite thing about the book; it just ended so quickly. There was all this build up; all this moving around. There was a battle basically when they tried to destroy the dam to bring water back to the Invalids. Then they made all their way back to Portland and the battle that ensued there…it was just, it was really fast! Everything just seemed to happen so fast. One minute, Hana is getting married, then she’s not and she’s “capturing” Lena and letting her go, and letting her husband die in the bomb implanted house. Lena went from kind of having a relationship with Julian to suddenly realizing she loves Alex and he loves her and they’re going to be together. She finds her cousin, Grace, and saves her. They tear down the wall that separates society from the Wilds and the book ends with everyone celebrating. It just seemed really really fast, and not very realistic. I felt like it was a lot of build up and not a lot of action. I think rebellions take a lot more work than what happened. I think it was going well and going in the right direction, it just ended entirely too quickly.
3 out of 5 Stars
Recommended or Not:
Yes, if you’ve already read Delirium and Pandemonium and you’d like to read the end. I do recommend the trilogy though; Lauren is a great writer and has the potential to create great stories. I hope to see more from her soon.
However, I definitely recommend reading her novel, Before I Fall, because its fantastic!
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I can’t WAIT to meet Lauren Oliver on Sunday and I will definitely have a post for you guys soon after to share what it was like and what she revealed about new projects and the new TV show!