“Love is a grave mental disease”-Plato
Delirium, by Lauren Oliver outlines a dystopian society where love is viewed as an illness that must be cured. Everyone is required to have an operation (essentially, a lobotomy) which makes them incapable of love and most other emotions. The citizens of this society live peaceful, orderly lives, but at what cost?
Pandemonium, the second in the series, explores the lives of those who refuse to abide by the rules. They are given the derogatory name of “invalids” and live under the radar. Lena is rescued by a group of invalids and begins to learn about the difficult lives they lead in the wild. As she grieves losing Alex, she must forget the old life and start anew.
I often feel that the second book in the trilogy only serves to fill the gap between the first and third books. It loses the momentum and complexity of the first and doesn’t have as many “ah ha!” moments as the final installment.
Lauren Oliver avoids this by alternating between two time periods. “Then” represents Lena’s days in the wild and “now” represents her time in New York. Before the reader has a chance to get bored, the story changes and we follow Lena’s other adventures for a while.
This trilogy can be read as a gripping love story, but it also asks some deeper questions, like: how important is freedom? What would you risk for it? Many times, it is easier to passively accept what is in front of you, even when you know that life has more to offer. Lena’s story of courage and perseverance is inspiring. She is an interesting character because she has had to reinvent herself to fit in with her surroundings. Lena knows that she must forget the past in order to move on, but memories and loved one from her “past lives” haunt her. When someone from her life in Portland shows up, Lena must make a difficult choice. The cliffhanger ending of Pandemonium will make you count the days until the release of the final book in the series!
This audiobook is narrated by Sarah Drew. I think she did a good job portraying different characters and bringing emotion to the story. I have listened to both Delirium and Pandemonium, and now I associate Lena’s character with the actress’s voice. I will keep a lookout for the final book (Requiem, which will be published in February 2013 according to Oliver’s wikipedia site) on CD.
Recommendation: 4.5 out of 5 lupines