I spent my spring break in Tallahassee, Florida . . . reading books. The books in question are the Delirium Series by Lauren Oliver. I had heard mixed reviews about the book but I couldn’t resist purchasing it when Barnes and Noble sent me an email about a sale on book series. So I found myself cuddled in a hotel room avoiding the blazing sun but absorbing the words of Lauren Olivier.
The original book review that I will be using as a jump off point brings up a number of things that the series does push, love being a key point. However the use of religion mixed with science to drive this point across is completely ignored.
Keep our hearts fixed;
As you fixed the planets in their orbits
And cooled the chaos of emerging–
As the gravity of your will keeps star and star from Collapsing
Keeps oceans from turning to dust and dust from turning to water
Keeps planets from colliding
And suns from exploding–
So, Lord, keep our hearts fixed
In steady orbit
And help them Stay the path.
(From “Prayer and Study,” The Book of Shhh) ”
Olivier’s dystopian society is centered around a society that follows a “biblical science” where religion and science are combined and love is considered a disease that must be cured lest the society fall into utter chaos. By all means the necessity of love is a driving point of the novel. I also believe that it encourages readers to ask questions, feel, and experience but most importantly to challenge the norms. One of its messages is to love hard and feel deeply and fearlessly.
The protagonist is a female, Lena, as is the case in many of the popular dystopian novels today. She transforms from a shy and self conscious wallpaper like girl, into a brave and somewhat reckless leader by the end of the series. Even her love interests do not make her seem weak or annoying as is the case in a lot of the young adult fiction novels of today. This is probably because the books are set in a society where love is viewed as rebellious/ a disease instead of cute or normal.
Oliver’s ability to make simple things complex and complex things simple is another thing that made this book a page turner for me:
“Rainstorms are incredible: falling shards of glass, the air full of diamonds. The wind whispers . . . name and the ocean repeats it; the swaying trees make me think of dancing. Everything i see and touch reminds me of him, and so everything i see and touch is perfect.” (Delirium)
The sheer poetry of this is undeniable and it is rare that love scenes/ love declarations do not come off as cheesy but I believe that Oliver does a great job of keeping love from being cheesy or annoying.
For anyone looking for a new series this is it. If you are into poetic language, non cheesy language, love, and war this one will cover all the bases. I hope you give it a try.
“But forbidden books are so much more. Some of them are webs; you can feel your way along threads, but just barely, into the strange and dark corners. Some of them are balloons bobbing up through the sky: totally self-contained, and unreachable, but beautiful to watch. And some of them – the best ones- are doors.” (Pandemonium).