Long ago, I purchased a book on Kindle that was on sale for 99 cents. I have to admit, I was skeptical. Very, skeptical. I mean, how can you suspend reality to the point where you can imagine a world without love? But since I am such a sucker for a sale, I bought it anyway. And then it sat there on my Kindle for months. My writing has been at a standstill lately as I have had some medical issues with Baby, so all I can do really is think. Moving is too strenuous. I finished Mockingjay, which was my favorite of the three Hunger Games Trilogy books, and I really was digging the dystopian genre. monetarily poor and in need of something to read, I pulled out my Kindle and pressed GO on Delirium. When I was through with it, I pressed GO on the sample for Pandemonium, and when I was through with that, I went in search for the third book, which I found out is not coming out until March 2013. I pouted to Husband. I’m glad I didn’t know before hand, though. I probably wouldn’t have read it until the third book was accessible, because that’s how I roll, and I would have missed out on these two books at a time when I really needed a pick-me-up. Here are a few reasons why I like these books and the literary prowess of Lauren Oliver:
1) The writing is gorgeous. There were times when I would get to an analogy about something as simple as entering a room and would be blown away be the originality and exactness of the description. I literally would just put down the Kindle and wallow in the analogy for a while before continuing on.
2) Though the idea of a loveless world was far-fetched to me, I realized as I read that it was not necessarily the removal of love, but of strong emotions, such as passion, that’s removed. (Though, I will say that some of the characters exhibit rage and large amounts of joy in persecuting others which, to me, are strong emotions, so maybe I have some more thinking to do on this analysis.) In spite of this, the world engaged me. Suspending my belief was not as big of an issue as I originally thought because…
3) The characters were so believable. Each action and reaction were character driven rather than plot driven. You BELIEVED the change in the main character. The situations may be super different from ones we as readers can relate to, but the reactions were true to human kind and, more specifically, to the personalities of the characters. So much so, when you get to the end, though you are crying your eyes out (You are not human if you don’t cry at the end of the first book. Or, maybe, you are not pregnant. Hmm.), you think, “Of course, he did that. I know why I’m sad, but why am I surprised?”
4) The relationship is believable. Lena and Alex’s relationship (Delirium) and Lena and Julian’s relationship (Pandemonium) are born out of circumstance and time, rather than the unexplainable “lust at first sight within a millisecond of spying relationship counterpart” scenario. Pet peeve. This works rarely, in my opinion. I get initial attraction, believe me. I noticed Husband’s sexy, mountain-man appearance before I loved his rapier wit, perseverance, and steadfastness. It’s when an author doesn’t show that the character is worthy of the other’s unconditional love and dedication after the “Wow, he’s cute!” moment that I feel I’ve wasted my time. Thanks for the time well spent, Ms. Oliver.
5) In Delirium, the reader makes lots of black and white decisions. Removing the disease is right or wrong. The Invalids are good or bad. The government is righteous or corrupt. I love that Oliver solidifies these things in book 1, and then in book 2, tears these “facts” apart, revealing where black and white mix together to producing. And isn’t that life? Once we say, “Taco Bell has the best Mexican pizza!”, we end up on the toilet with food poisoning, wondering if eating it was the right thing to do. Life has a way of making you constantly guess if you have made the right choice, formed the right opinion. It makes you continuously reevaluate yourself. It makes you become better and better, even though it hurts. I bet that if a diamond could talk, it would tell us how painful it was for someone to scrape away the rough, but it sure does like being so shiny.
I look forward to seeing how Oliver will resolve the issue at the end of book 2 and how Lena’s character is developed by the end of the trilogy.