The deliria that is love, has been cured, no longer are citizen under its thrall, they are free to live their lives in a safe, predictable and measured way, without any of the troubles that existed when people actually thought love was a good thing.
America has shut its borders and demands that all citizens are “cured” on or as nears as is safe to their eighteenth birthday. With out the problem of finding someone to love who loves you back, potential partners are carefully selected by the government, following an exam to determine what your position in society will be
Lena’s utter certainty in the cure and and belief that it was the right thing, reminded me a lot of Anna in Gemma Malley’s The Declaration, both girls not only accepted their lot in life, but fully believed in it, and initially at least would have fought for it, makes reading both books a disquieting experience at times.
But removing people’s ability to love, and all that means, because it’s not just romantic love that falls by the wayside, but a side-effect means that you’ll cease to care about any lifelong friendships and passions you have, makes this one of the most genuinely creepy dystopias I’ve ever read.
Lena’s brainwashing is such that even when she meets and falls in love with Alex, mere weeks before her cure, all she wants to do at first get to that cure, and rid herself of these confusing feelings.
Eventually, Lena realises she would rather live rough in “the wilds” with Alex, than the half-existence, life after the cure would be.
It all builds to a shocking conclusion that is the perfect ending to the book. I have to say if any slight-of-hand trickery is used when the sequel comes around I’ll be mightily ticked off, however much I might want it to be true. (Yes, I know I was reading an ARC so a few details may have changed, when the book is released. But there is a specific line that enforces my viewpoint on this.)
It’s not perfect by any means, there’s no explanation for instance, as to why hormonally charged teenagers are allowed anywhere near each other pre-cure, when they are the most at risk of contracting the deliria. (I should note that Alex is believed to be post-cure hence safe to be around) Whilst opportunities to mingle are limited, you would have expected a much stricter segregation.
But this is a minor mingle as the story works very well and the world building is otherwise excellent.
Delirium is released Feb 2011 by Harper Collins in the US and Hodder & Stoughton in the UK, put it on your wishlists now!
Disclaimer: My copy of Delirium was provided through @netgalley for review purposes. The UK publisher also sent me a copy after I had read the book but before I posted this review.
The UK publishers Hodder & Stoughton, were also kind enough to send me an image for the cover of the UK edition, so which one do you prefer?!