There have been two YA book series that everyone was clamoring over for the better part of the last couple of years: Delirium and Divergent. In fact, both were so popular that they are now following the Hollywood paths of former book series obsessions Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games with Delirium being given a green light for a future TV series while Divergent heads for the big screen. (Actually, the pilot episode of the Delirium TV series didn’t make it though upfronts, see what I get for sitting on these posts.)
But back to the books. The last thing I wanted to do was to get hooked on a book and have to wait for the sequel to be written (been there, done that… thank god George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series are taking me forever to get through) so I held off starting Delirium and Divergent until this year when both trilogies would be completed (Delirium’s third book, Requiem was finally released this past March).
So what’s the trilogy about for the 5% of you that haven’t read Delirium and its two cohorts, Pandemonium and Requiem? Well, it revolves around a dystopian future where love has been coined as a disease, Amor Deliria Nervosa. It’s a world where The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a banned book, the story of King Solomon has been rewritten to tell the story of a baby that was in fact split into two, and Romeo and Juliet has become a cautionary tail of the havoc that the disease can do. Without love, there is no hate, war has been eradicated. And so have all people suffering from the disease.Or so the “cured” people living in the perfectly controlled American towns have been told.
Now to review all three books without giving anything away: First of all, I really liked how the style of writing changed with each book. Book 1, Delirium, started each chapter with an excerpt from different pieces of literature from Delirium’s world, most commonly used of which was The Book of Shhh (The Book of Safety, Health, and Happiness Handbook). Book 2, Pandemonium, switched back and forth between two time periods “then” and “now.” “Then” took place right after the events in Delirium and Now taking place several months (maybe 6?) later. Book 3, Requiem, is set up to switch back and forth between the point of view Lena (the main character) and an old friend of hers (whom is living a life opposite to what Lena chose).
Delirium was interesting for me because I loved the story-line and plot of the novel but I absolutely hated the main character, Lena. Having someone I considered whiny, weak, and annoying really grated on me, but the book ended with such a cliff hanger I had to continue on to Pandemonium. Now, Pandemonium I absolutely loved, Lena grew out of her sniveling and whiny stage and into someone I could look up to, And Requiem continued on in the same vein… great story-line, great characters and then, it just ended… open-ended. What???? I just didn’t think the series was deep enough for it to be left open for readers to ponder what’s next.
Side note: Lauren Oliver also wrote three short stories to read during the series. Hana takes place during the events of Book 1, Annabel is meant to be read in-between Books 1 and 2 and Raven is meant to be read in-between Books 2 and 3. The three stories are from the point of view of the three different characters referenced in the title and though they aren’t necessary to read in order to understand the trilogy, they were cute and gave you additional points of views into Lena’s world.