The trilogy, I noticed after reading reviews of the scond book, is aimed at a young adult audience. Fear not, this ancient being enjoyed all three books and cannot even remember being a young adult.
I reviewed them thus;-
I’d read good things about this novel and decided to give it a try. I started by wondering if I’d ever read a book in first person, present tense and could only think of a couple. I soon got into it though and it didn’t bother me. I got into Lena’s head as if she was talking me through her thoughts and anxieties. By the end of the novel I’d changed gender and was Lena.
Delirium is part of the Latin name for the disease we know as love, which has been outlawed and we soon learn that at eighteen everyone goes through a procedure to rid themselves of any ‘love’ feelings and are then paired off with a suitable mate. Maybe it’s because, a few books back, I read The Housemaids Tale by Margaret Atwood, that I associated the two books and thought that Delirium could well be a prequel to Atwood’s dystopian novel.
In both novels it is the poor old USA that has been locked off from the rest of the world and seems to be hijacked by religious zealots. From outside the USA, and if Twitter is anything to go by, it seems that a lot of people over there are worried about the future. Maybe that’s why this sort of novel has become more popular at the moment.
Again, early on so not a spoiler, we learn that Lena’s mother bucked the trend and fought against ridding herself of love and that her daughter Lena worries that the gene may have passed to her. The novel is a will-she-won’t-she type of story that I raced through, (eight days is racing for me) enjoying the world that I was sucked into. I’m sure that as a man, if I was engrossed in Lena’s plight, any woman reading this novel would be equally engrossed. I enjoyed immensely and have just downloaded book two, Pandemonium.
So, how do you review book-two of a trilogy without giving away spoilers to book one?
Carefully is the answer. The style of Pandemonium is similar but not exactly the same as in Delirium. If you enjoyed, in Delirium, the first-person present tense, with everything seen through Lena, the lead protagonist’s eyes, then Pandemonium will not disappoint. If you enjoyed the descriptive flow from the author of Lena’s sight, smell, touch, inner feelings, then yet again you will not be disappointed and you will easily live the story through Lena’s eyes, her feelings and her emotions.
The main difference in Pandemonium is the double time lines of ‘then’ and ‘now’ which are alternating chapter headings. The reader is tasked with wondering what happened in the ‘then’ story to start the ‘now’ story. There is also more action and adventure in this second part.
Another well written part to the trilogy that I enjoyed. Phew, I think I got through that without any spoilers. Wondering how others had reviewed the book without spoilers, I took a sneak peak. The answer seemed to be lots of spoilers to book one. Hopefully, reviewers had assumed that potential readers would not read their reviews of Pandemonium until after reading Delirium. The other thing that struck me was that I had read both books as adventure stories with a love interest, whereas, many had read them as love stories with an adventure interest. Thankfully, we are all different.
So, will I read book three? Requiem. Most definitely. Delirium I could have accepted as a one-off novel. It was so well written and got me living in Lena’s head so efficiently that I decided to go for book two, Pandemonium. I am guessing that the author felt that book two of a trilogy didn’t have to stand as a one-off (if you’ve read two out of the three then you will probably complete the trilogy) so she gives us a shock of such magnitude that it makes the reading of book three a must. I can’t wait.
Page turner, all action, twists and turns with a love element.
Having read Delirium and Pandemonium, I couldn’t wait to get into book three, Requiem. Lauren Oliver’s skills at descriptive writing are phenomenal and take you into the world that she writes about, immersing you in sight, smell and sounds while leaving you hungry and feeling unwashed. While reading Requiem I was into chapters on The Wilds and felt I needed a shower, while chapters on Zombieland made me want to go out and play in the mud to get rid of the clinical cleanliness.
Oliver wrote the three books in first person present tense which makes you feel close to the characters. Having said that, she changes style with each novel. Delirium was all through the eyes of Lena in present tense from start to finish. Pandemonium was all Lena, all present tense but in two time frames, Then and Now in alternating chapters. In Requiem, it is all present tense again, back to just the one time frame, but this time seen through the eyes of Lena and Hana, again in alternating chapters.
It does not spoil the story to say that the free thinkers of The Wilds have their chapters, the cured of Zombieland have their chapters and, as time goes on, we know that the two will somehow meet towards the end. Lena’s internal struggles and Hana’s surprising development let us know that not all is black and white in either world.
An excellent read and the first trilogy I’ve finished since Lord Of The Rings, back in the 1970s. For those now doing age calculations and wondering why this trilogy is aimed at a YA audience, I can announce that adults will enjoy all three books but will have to look for over 18 content elsewhere.
Lauren Oliver is now one of my favourite authors but I need a break so will choose someone else to read before coming back to her one-off novels.