13 junho 2011

Review: Delirium (Lauren Oliver)

Publisher: HarperTeen (2011)
Format: Hardcover | 441 pages
Genre(s): Young Adult, Romance, Science-Fiction
Description (Goodreads): "Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love."
Warning: Contains Spoilers! 
"Delirium" by Lauren Oliver has been praised repeatedly all over the blogosphere as one of the YA dystopians of 2011 to read, along with "Divergent" and a few select others. It is almost so universally liked that obviously I had high hopes for this read; and obviously I ended up disappointed.

Lena Holoway, lives in an enclosed and safe world free from the most dangerous disease in the world: amor deliria nervosa, commonly known as love. In the past people didn't know it was a disease and embraced it, but now the Government and the Scientists know better: Love is dangerous. Love can destroy Humankind. No one is safe, everyone can catch it and... it's fatal. That is why everyone who lives in these enlightened times waits anxiously for their eighteenth birthday... the day when they'll be allowed to be cured and live happily ever after. Because it's no fun living in fear of falling in love.

So. In this particular dystopian world someone decided love was a disease. I think we can all understand that (there are songs written about it, I'm sure, although I don't remember any at the moment): love is a powerful force. Still... I find it hard to believe anyone would actually consider "love" a condition. A fatal disease. So I was both weary and excited when I started reading the book, as the potential for it to turn unrealistic was high.

I was not wrong. Oliver didn't present a single valid argument throughout "Delirium" to make me believe her plot (the world building on the origins of this fear is pretty sketchy). Love as a disease. Not seeing it. Even with all the distorted propaganda that is presented to us in the beginning of each chapter I found it hard to believe that most people would fall for that. So I was pretty mystified for the entire book: how did the governing forces convince the general populace that love was harmful? It just didn't make sense. And the way people see things in the book supports my disbelief: there is a widespread resistance movement and even the ones who want to have doctors messing with their brains seem more fearful of emotion as a whole and not specifically of love.

The entire setting reminded me of Equilibrium, a movie about a dystopian society where emotions are forbidden because they are thought to bring chaos (war, suffering, etc). This was the feeling I got from "Delirium" as it seems to use the same concept (the society is even fashioned the same way, with patrols, curfews and forbidden books and works of art) but focuses on love because, well, it is a teen romance I suppose. The problem is that while I could see people being afraid of strong emotion and submitting to procedures to erase said danger, I just don't see human beings fearing the one emotion (in this case, love) that much. What I mean to say is I thought the author used the wrong plot device. She could still have written her romance if the everyone was afraid of emotions in general, I think.

The romance is the strongest point of this book. While the premise was unbelievable, the romance was well written, well paced and believable. Lena and Alex fall in love gradually and it's a delight to read about Lena's change of heart and growth as a character.

There was this twist near the end, I thought it was a bit sudden (as in, completely unfounded, no foreshadowing whatsoever, etc) and not subtle at all, but I suppose the author needs something to write about in the next book. The ending was... predictable.

Overall: "Delirium" is first and foremost a romance book and in that category it shines. As for being a Dystopia, well, I thought the world building lacked credibility and that edgy, sort-of futuristic feel that is so typical in these types of novels, so it doesn't really 'read' like one. Still the captivating writing style and the well developed romance will make this book an easy and even interesting read.

3 comentários :

WhiteLady3 disse...

Comento em português porque a cabeça não dá para mais... :P

Tem uma premissa curiosa. O amor como doença parece pouco realista mas é certo que uma pessoa sente calores, borboletas no estômago e pode tornar-se obsessivo no que toca à pessoa que ama. No entanto, pela crítica dá a entender que tal coisa não é bem explorada. :/ E porque é que esperam até ao 18 anos para fazer alguma coisa, quando é na adolescência (tipo, aos 15/16 anos) que o "amor" é uma doença quase fatal? Em que os apaixonados "morrem" quando não são correspondidos...

Além disso, há um outro tipo de "amor". Aquele que se sente por pais, filhos, amigos... o que fazem quanto a esse? O_o

slayra disse...

Isso agora... só lendo. :)

Patrícia Cálão disse...

Olá!
Estava muito curiosa em relação a este livro por ter lido tantas opiniões positivas acerca dele. No entanto, a tua opinião deixou-me um pouco de pé atrás.
Acho que vou deixar este para mais tarde e dar prioridade a outros livros.

bjs**