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Thalia @ Pictures in the Words

I'm Thalia! I run a book blog called Pictures in the Words and I hope to be an editor for YA fiction. I'm a GoodReads refugee!

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spoilers!

Delirium (Review)

Delirium  - Lauren Oliver

This book has been sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read, for quite some time. I just kept putting it off and off and off, probably because I was so excited to read it and afraid that it wouldn’t quite live up to my expectations. And…in some ways, that’s kind of what happened.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the story. The summary doesn’t give you too much to go on, but I fell completely in love (no puns intended) with a couple of the characters, their relationships, and the plot. However, my familiar foe, present tense writing, reared its ugly head and made it nearly impossible for me to get into the story or like the main character, Lena, for well over halfway through the book. Everything that wasn’t an action scene felt slow and stilted, and Lena, to be honest, was such a boring character that I absolutely hated reading through her point of view. I’m starting to get sick of female characters who think they’re plain or boring and their only flaws are being too quiet, too good, or short–and that was the basic epitome of Lena. When all was said and done, and while I did like it much more in the ending quarter of the book, I felt like it just didn’t measure up to my expectations, and I was rather disappointed. The flaws were equal to its successes, in my opinion, and so we’re stuck attempting to write one of these awkward three star reviews.

 

Cheers.

 

What I Liked: Spoilers!

  • The ending of this book was just so much better than the beginning. Every action sequence was tense and supercharged, and I found myself absolutely rooting for Alex and Lena (even though I liked him far more than I liked her). The ending sequence, with Lena being trapped and then escaping and running with Alex and leaving him behind on the other side of the fence all really got to me, and I felt like I had been holding my breath through the last fifty pages. That alone makes me excited to continue the series and see where the next installment will take us, and the engagement really helped smooth over how irritated I felt in the beginning of the novel.

 

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Present tense. My foe. I think we can safely saw we’re arch enemies at this point. I don’t know what it is, but I simply can’t fully enjoy books in present tense. I can’t. I’ve tried, countless times, but I just can’t. The present tense sucked the life out of Lena, and she was so robotic and boring, even after she fell in love with Alex. I just got so sick of reading it and being bored by her character and what was happening, and that’s so disappointing because I know I would have liked it so much more if it had been in past tense. But it wasn’t, and I can’t judge the book on how I might have liked it if one thing had been different, so…here we are.

 

  • Going off that, Lena was just so boring. She’s another one of those “plain Jane” main characters–straight brown hair, short/petite, “ordinary”, follows the rules, doesn’t think she’s as interesting as her best friend, etc. Her character perked up a bit once she started to rebel against her society, but I couldn’t stop myself from thinking how much more interesting it would have been if things had been from Hana’s, or even Alex’s, point of view. It’s really difficult for me to enjoy a book very much if I dislike the main character, so this was another huge factor as to why I couldn’t quite get into it the way I wanted.

 

Overall: Personally, I think this book might be a bit overhyped–I just didn’t see the things that most other people seemed to see. It has an incredibly interesting plotline and I really loved the action scenes (almost enough to make me forget the reasons I disliked the book in the first place), but the present tense writing and Lena’s incredibly boring characterization ended up making this a fairly neutral read. I think people who like dystopian novels and don’t have any issues with present tense narration (which might be everyone except me at this point) will probably enjoy this a lot more than I did, and I recommend it for that crowd. Twelve and up would probably work for this book, as well.

 

(http://thaliasbooks.tumblr.com/post/69741998936/delirium-review)