The Delirium Triology (Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem) by Lauren Oliver is an excellent dystopian tale fans of The Hunger Games and Matched trilogies are sure to love.
In the future, love is considered a disease, known as amor deliria nervosa. According to the new bible (The Book of Shhh), the “disease” affects your mind so that you cannot think clearly, or make rational decisions about your own well-being.
The solution to keeping America safe from this horrible disease, known as love: The Cure. When citizens turn eighteen, they have a procedure done that will remove their ability to fall in love. This procedure leaves a three-prong mark behind the ear, so that others will know you are cured.
The downside of the cure (though some consider it an upside): not only is your ability to love removed, but other strong emotions disappear as well. The Cureds basically float through life in a zombiefied state. People for the cure argue that the cure allows you to think rationally, eliminating the irrational and haphazard emotions that love brings to the table.
Quoted from a cured person:
“We are not the evil ones. We are reasonable and compassionate. We stand for fairness, structure, and organization.” –Requiem
However, the cure doesn’t always work for everyone. And there are also many people who are part of The Resistance: those who don’t believe in the cure, and want the freedom to choose love. Most of the Uncureds have fled to The Wilds—the areas of the world outside of society’s boarder fences— living like animals, scavenging for food and shelter; but they are free. These people are known as “Invalids.”
Some of the Invalids have rallied together and infiltrated the society, sporting fake procedural marks under their ears. These emissaries, collect information, make fake documents, and plant false information within the cured society, in hopes that The Resistance can take back the control of the world.
Lena’s father died when she was young and the procedure didn’t work on her mother—she went crazy from the deliria and threw herself off a cliff. Thus, since early childhood, Lena has been under the care of her very strict, rule-abiding, aunt. Lena cannot wait to be cured and is counting down the days until her procedure. She is afraid she will go crazy like her mother and wants, more than anything, to be normal.
Then she meets Alex.
Alex shows her his procedural mark under his ear, showing Lena that he is safe to be around: he has been cured. As Lena starts to hang out with Alex, she finds herself drawn to him. He doesn’t act like the other Cureds…he seems to still have that life spark that leaves most people once they have had the procedure. And Alex doesn’t seem to want Lena to get the cure, loving her fire:
“Everyone is asleep. They’ve been asleep for years. You seemed…awake.” Alex is whispering now. He closes his eyes, opens them again. “I’m tired of sleeping.” –Alex
The closer Lena gets to Alex, the more afraid she becomes that she is susceptible to the disease. But she can’t love Alex and he can’t love her, he’s been cured…or has he?
Lena must decide if falling in love is worth the risk: leaving the protection of an unfeeling society behind and fleeing to The Wilds so she can be with the boy she loves.
“I’d rather die on my own terms than live on theirs. I’d rather die loving Alex than live without him.”—Lena
This compelling series will have your heart sprinting as you cheer for this young couple’s future together, and having you yelling out loud at the absurdity of the society’s rules. While the writing is a bit slow and tedious, the overall story totally makes up for the lackluster prose. I give the series four out of five stars!