Are you aware that The Hunger Games is popular? Do you have a passing knowledge of "We", "Brave New World", "1984", and "Fahrenheit 451"? Do you value a hot set of abs over story?
Well, the latter question isn't entirely true for this book. But still, once again, we have yet another cash-in on The Hunger Games popularity trend, one that, once again, focuses more on making sure our It Couple get together in the end than basic things like character development, nuance, and a gorram world that makes half a lick of sense in the 2 seconds you squint at it.
The sad thing is, it's frakkin' obvious Lauren Oliver is a kick @$$ writer. The pages just ooze with her adept writing skill, and I actually grew to like (somewhat) Lena and ADORE Lena and Hana's relationship. The sad thing is, I think Oliver felt she HAD to write a dystopia in order to get ANYWHERE in today's market - and so, Delirium is born.
Just like with "Shatter Me", "Divergent", and just about every other YA "dystopian" novel out there, the world-building is complete and utter donkey poo. It doesn't hold up to even a modicum of inspection. And throughout my time reading this book, I couldn't for once just barrel through and ignore it. The problems just kept jumping out and smacking me in the face.
How do humans survive without love? Why does this suddenly make them almost mind-numb, emotionless robots? Does love somehow get rid of fear and anger and greed? How was it determined that LOVE was the great evil behind wars and famine? What about...greed? What about...anger? What about...religious differences? You are telling me, getting rid of love somehow is going to make the Muslim lie down with the Christian? (Or is religion gone all together? Or replaced by this "new" gospel?)
Why is it SO IMPORTANT in this love-less society to get married - the institution most marked by that emotion? Why bother with any choice in mate selection - if there is no love, why not just match couples up based on what their offspring would be? If people need human companionship or sex, why not just make "community" marriages - in essence, like "We" or "Brave New World"? And why must these kids be paired at 18, with particular emphasis on the girls to get married? Wouldn't it be better for these women to use their skills at jobs? Or are there not enough jobs, what with no art? And if there's no art, what's the point of entertainment? Is it like "The LEGO Movie" where everyone sings, "Everything is Awesome"???
Why 18? How can a loveless mother or father care for a child? Why hug her baby or carefully tend his daughter? Why live together with an essentially arranged match when you don't love that person?
How can you feel muscle tear from bone and ligaments from bone and yet STILL be able to run and run and run for days? How can a person who has never driven a motorcycle figure one out in the middle of a chase? And why is ONE girl and ONE boy enough concern for HELICOPTERS?
And for the last time authors: Romeo and Juliet IS. NOT. ROMANTIC. It's kriffing TRAGEDY.
These are just a FEW of the questions that CONSTANTLY bombarded my mind. I tried to ignore them, but like with "Divergent", this world MAKES. NO. SENSE. WHATSOEVER. There's no indication of HOW this could happen, of how so much and yet so little of the world has changed - love is outlawed, but marriage is OK? (And don't even give the tepid excuse "This is young adult, OF COURSE, they had to get married!)
So yeah, if you can ignore that, unlike me, maybe you'll be better off.
If I'm completely honest, the characters range from OK to meh. Nothing horrible, nothing outstanding - though I will say that Oliver's are more engaging IMO than Veronica Roth's, particularly the Lena-Hana relationship.
And that's I think my biggest problem. The Lena-Hana relationship was really good! Hana carries the role of "rebellious one" that incites our mediocre protagonist to revolt - so why did we need Alex? Why couldn't Lena's love for Hana have been the THING to drive Lena to eschew this society and rebel? The Lena-Hana relationship has a lot more depth and development than ANYTHING in the Lena-Alex relationship. And it would be nice to see a non-romantic love emphasized in a book.
But no, that would mean no honey-eyed, marbled ab hottie in our book, so of course, we have Alex. Bland, boring, safe Alex whose backstory makes no sense, from getting to where he is in the book to some of his knowledge about Lena's past. (No spoilers.) The best I can say about Alex is that at least he's not a typical d-bag boyfriend like, say, Patch from "Hush, Hush".
The other characters are pretty awful. Carol and Jenny, shrewish and mean. Gracie who can't speak (and no one is worried or seeking treatment for this?). Every "bad guy" getting this AWFUL voice (sorry Jessica Drew! You did okay with Lena, Hana, and Alex, just why did every bad guy have to have an evil car salesman voice?!), have this awful conversation amounting to, "I am so evil, I go home at night and kick newborn puppies UP THE STAIRS!"
I think the other thing that somewhat pisses me off about this book/trilogy is the fact that, with a few tweaks, this could have gone from generic YA fauxtopia to a half-decent modern dystopia. (view spoiler)
This book made me know two things: I wouldn't mind checking out Oliver's "Before I Fall", and that I won't, under any circumstances, be checking out the sequels in this series. Oliver seems to be a decent author, but this isn't a decent dystopia - though I am putting it at the same level of "Divergent" because of the Lena-Hana relationship