Oliver’s first novel, 'Before I Fall' didn't quite grasp me when I read in 12 months ago, so I was a little uncertain when starting this one. However, I think I'll just start off saying how interesting the entire concept of love being seen as a 'disease' was to me. My past experience aside I must admit, I was instantly drawn; both as a result of the blurb as well as the reviews and ratings people had been giving 'Delirium'. However, unfortunately I'm also one of those materialistic people who judge books by cover (so naughty!) and personally, the cover of Delirium wasn’t love at first look. Nevertheless, I dove in with the mindset that this book could either be utterly great or, rather disappointingly cliche and predictable. I'm glad to say it didn't disappoint.
At the start of the novel there are tiny excerpts from the made-up 'Book of Shh (Safety, Health and Happiness)' containing tiny notes correlated to the 'Deliria'. The introduction to the concept has been written cleverly and clearly, though personally I would have loved a little bit more insight and reasoning into why scientists classify love as a disease. In the first few pages, we are also introduced to Lena, the law abiding, female protagonists. Personally, in the earlier stages of the novel, I found her not all that likeable as she's too obedient and obsessed with following rules for me. However, this is completely understandable given her background and the society in which she lives; I'd probably still be complaining if Oliver had written Lena as a little less conservative (I'm totally contradictory and hard to please)!
The characterisation in the novel was great. The succinct, yet tremendous, character transformation that Lena goes through exemplifies how masterful Oliver is with her character development. On this note, the love that develops between Lena and Alex is heart-warming to read and well-written, though some may argue it does develop over quite a short time frame. It is then that you have to consider that Oliver had to work within a small time frame and that, though seemingly fast-paced, the timing is still realistic. On the topic of Alex, well, Alex is an utter cutie! He s exactly the type of guy that Lena needed; not too much of a rebel, but a sweet, determined and of course, utterly handsome young guy. I must admit I fell in love with Alex a tad bit, which is why,the ending cliff-hanger might have miffed me a little (I shall not spoil!)
On another note, one point that I admire about Oliver's novel, is the way although she did not focus the entire novel on the lone aspect of 'romantic love' , but also branched out into love for friends and family. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of romance in there guys! But I really appreciated how Oliver conveyed the impact that love had on friendship and family through the open display of seemingly 'loveless' and cold relationships. I must also commend the writing style and Oliver's descriptions, as the world she created felt totally real. However, admittedly it was hard for me to imagine the world we live in now evolving into the world Lauren described, but that's just me personally.
Overall I loved this novel and found it really enjoyable. The concept was totally original and unique and I found the writing style brilliant. The novel does start out a little slow-paced, though Lauren picks up at the end in order to create a nail-biting conclusion. Loved the book, the story and the concept. Imaginative and clever, I've made sure to add the sequel to my giant TBR pile. If you haven't already, check this one out guys!