Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Friday I'm In Love [Review: Delirium]

Delirium is a young adult novel by Lauren Oliver, soon to be a film. It's set in the future, in a religious totalitarian state where love has been identified as a disease: “amor deliria nervosa,” and is eradicated surgically at every child’s coming of age. The blurbsmiths would like this novel compared to “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret “not science fiction” Atwood, so here goes: “Delirium is a bit like The Handmaid’s Tale.” Lena, a teenager approaching the procedure, must challenge her own faith and the version of reality imposed on her by society: Delirium is therefore science fiction.

Actually the scenario is much more reminiscent of the movie Equilibrium, where daily doses of an antidepressant eliminate all feeling, while the surgical “cure” is a crude treatment, taking away much more than the capacity to love, and sometimes failing - not unlike the Capping ceremony carried out by John Christopher’s Tripods.

The plot is unfortunately the weakest link – 100% predictable from the moment Lena sets eyes on Alex, a young man dressed as a security guard but clearly an outsider who should not be present or even exist under the regime. The scenario and characters, on the other hand, are well thought out and executed and the end result is believable and interesting. There’s nothing wrong with the standard forbidden-romance plot – after all, the great playwright Anonymous used it to good effect in her classic science fiction play “Romeo and Juliet” – but I would have liked to see a more original use of such a good backstory.

4 comments:

Melissa J H. said...

I've been wanting to read that book since I first read the sample on my Kindle. I probably won't get to it soon since I have lots of English Homework to read. Thanks for the review, it was nice to read about the book.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Hi Melissa, it would be interesting to know your thoughts if you do get around to it.

Maurice Mitchell said...

The thought behind it is an interesting one, but by falling back on the "Romeo and Juliet" trope they undermined the whole thing. Too bad.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Romance is always going to be a strong element of YA fiction naturally. It's just nice to see new and interesting twists or spins on it - as in The Host, for example, where the two love rivals are sharing a body...