The dystopia of DELIRIUM
By Sarah Dyer
The final part of Lauren Oliver’s Delirium trilogy, Requiem, publishes in paperback next week and I thought I’d take today to tell you all about what I think is the best part of the book, seeing as it really took me by surprise!
Whilst thousands of teenage fans fell in love with the heady romance that’s at the heart of the book, or the fantastically strong lead character Lena, I was gripped by a different aspect of it: Oliver’s dystopian vision of the future.
In this future vision of America, it has been discovered that love is actually a disease called amor deliria nervosa, and the government has convinced society that it is a blight which needs to be wiped out. Before their 18th birthday, every citizen undergoes a series of tests to analyse every aspect of their person, to best decide their future careers and to find them a suitable partner. Then, at 18, they are cured of the deliria through a surgical procedure and then paired up to live out a safe and comfortable existence free from the pain, sorrow and heartbreak that love can bring.
Of course, this existence is also free from passion, excitement… and freedom. You see, in Delirium’s dystopia, everything is controlled by the government from the music to the news. Mandatory curfews are in place, enforced by nightly patrols and ID cards. Also, every city is walled off from the outside world (the Wild), where rebels known as Invalids live free from the cure.
You see, that’s what I love about Delirium’s dystopia. Everything seems happy and good on the surface, but the undercurrent of government control is deeply unsettling and menacing; it constantly made me think of 1984. I also love the way that Lauren Oliver writes: she makes the world of Delirium feels so real and… possible, like it could really happen. I honestly wasn’t expecting that from the novel when I first started reading it.
So, even if teenage romances aren’t your thing, if you like dystopian sci-fi then I definitely recommend having a read of Delirium. Just like me, you might be pleasantly surprised!