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The Mystical and the Magical

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Delirium  - Lauren Oliver There's something you have to know about me -- I jump onto the bandwagon way too late. For example, I didn't read Divergent until this year, nor did I ever plan on reading Delirium. You know why? It was the whole idea of not being able to love. It's not that I found it ridiculously stupid (but I did kind of find it ridiculous), more like it was a very ... cheesy subject to write about.

I read somewhere on the synopsis something like this:

In my world, love is a disease.

And immediately, I knew exactly what this story was going to be about. Protagonist would find someone. Fall in love. See how wrong the world was around her. Resist. Blah blah blah.

And the most disappointing part? The storyline went exactly like this. But then, almost all dystopian books do, so I don't know why I was so sad that this one did. Maybe I was expecting something more. Maybe I wanted something more.

Almost half way through the book, I kept thinking that this book was contradicting itself. I'm not sure what amor deliria nervosa applies to -- which love does it mean? The friendship kind? The ones between parents and children? Or the one between lovers? I thought it applied to all kinds of definitions of 'love,' and if it does, then I do think this book contradicts itself. The cureds may not know it, but the relationship I see between Lena's aunt and herself could translate into affection and maybe even love. They care for her, and it may not be the way that Lena sees it, but they do. And so do Grace and Hana, even though they have been raised in an environment where love is a disease. Here's the thing about love: It can never extinguish. Never ever ever. Never. As long as you have people, you will always have love. You will always grow on them. You will always, always find someone -- no matter who -- that will change you, and I don't always necessarily mean romantically. The same thing with hate. They exist side by side in the world, and without one of them, there would be chaos. Not even a world with only love would be a utopia.

So that's why I kind of found the story sorta incredible. I did, however, love this quote from Lena:

They say the cure is about happiness, but I understand now that it isn't, and it never was. It's about fear: fear of pain, fear of hurt, fear, fear, fear--a blind animal existence, bumping between walls, shuffling between ever-narrowing hallways, terrified and dull and stupid.

pg. 383

Fear. That's what controls us, doesn't it?

Anyway, I've gotten off topic. Despite all my prejudices, I actually found this story quite enjoyable. Lena was a great heroine and Alex was a great love interest. But my favorite characters were probably Hana and Grace.

Hana was a beautiful supporting character. I loved her will to be free, to cut away the ties that her family's reputation has put on her. And though she's just a minor character and rarely shows up in the novel sometimes, I still find myself thinking about her when Lena and Alex have their moments. What would she be doing right now? Now that Lena spends almost all her time with Alex, how alone does she feel? Does she miss Lena and all the time they spent together? That being said, I'm excited to read the short story about Hana.

Grace. This little girl is absolutely amazing! She's a mysterious little twerp. And despite the fact that Grace hasn't been in the novel nearly as much as Hana or Alex or Lena, I can still infer that she's loyal and strong. How old is she? Six, seven? And yet sometimes she still cries herself to sleep, only to wake up the next day completely stoic and refreshed because of everyone around her. I just ... I loved her. I wish we can have a full novel about her, even a short story. I love Grace.

The things that I've noticed in dystopian novels almost every time is that the man always sacrifices himself for the girl. He tells her to go on ahead, or even doesn't tell her at all, and just stands there while she runs off. He provides the stalling block, which is yes, pretty sweet and all, but I need something different. I'm actually getting tired of men doing this. Where's the sacrifice that Lena learned during Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet? 'That we shall die as one.' (Not by Shakespeare, but hey, serves the cause, right?) Maybe there's something in the sequel that will make me recant my words. I hope so.

Okay, since I'm getting lazy here's what I'll just bullet that I liked:

- The writing. Crisp, clean. It's what made me want to read on; I adore Oliver's tone of voice.
- Lena was a goody-two-shoes at the beginning of the book and completely denied everything that went against the rules. I found myself getting irritated with her, but as I reached the end of the novel and compared her end beliefs with her starting ones, I was impressed by her growth. So kudos to you, Oliver.
- When we started off the book, there was some foreshadowing about Lena's mother and so I was waiting for the secret to come out and reveal itself. It didn't. At least, not until the 100 pages. So I was a little annoyed with that, too, but the discoveries that were made were so awesome I decided to let it slide.

So, yeah. That's basically it. I've voice my opinions about the things I was skeptical about in the first part of the review, and those were pretty much it.