I'd been debating about whether to read this book for about three years. The description was a bit murky--a world where love is forbidden and the main character falls in love can go wrong so, so easily--and I'm not generally a fan of books where romance is the main plot. In the end, I decided to grab this off Audible because the sample seemed like Sarah Drew would give a good performance, and because I have friends who liked the series a lot.
I will say, I liked this book a lot more than I expected to. But it wasn't fantastic. I recognize that this book is a romance first and dystopian second, so my complaints are probably a result of my own personal preferences and biases about literature in general rather than the book itself. But they're still valid.
Firstly, I'll say that I really liked that it wasn't just romantic love that was feared and forbidden in the book, but even love of family and friends. I wasn't expecting that to be addressed much, so the fact that Lena's memories of her mother's love were so important for her character development really improved the book in my view. I still wish it would have been focused on a bit more, though. Again, personal preference about romance books, but there you have it. This book did seem a bit flat at times because the instances in which familial love was explored were few and far between.
Secondly, I did like that Lena's relationship with Alex wasn't as fast as it frequently is in YA books that focus on love. They fell in love over the course of about three months, if I remember the timespan of the plot correctly, and they didn't get to "I love you" within a couple weeks. It felt like a touch of realism, and I didn't expect that in a book focusing so much on romance.
Thirdly, I thought that the pacing of Lena's discoveries about the dystopian world she lives in was spot-on. She had little bits of realization throughout, but the big reveals were spaced out, and she actually dealt with them in a variety of ways, depending on what they were, and reacted believably. For the most part, Lena was a very believable, convincing, and well-rounded character. It was just everybody else who fell a bit flat. Hana lacked an interesting character arc and remained unchanged from beginning to end. I know that the Cureds were supposed to be rather flat of personality and that was a major aspect of the procedure and the world-building in general, so I can't exactly fault Lauren Oliver for that, though it did bother me that we didn't even get to see subdued change. It would have been a bit easier to sympathize with the Cureds if we could see flashes of their previous personalities hiding under the surface, rather than them being cardboard cutouts filling character types and acting more or less as plot devices or background items.
As is the case with certain types of books, I have to say that the fact that I listened to the audiobook is the main reason why I enjoyed this book. Sarah Drew's performance was very satisfying. She really nailed Lena's conflicted thoughts and relationship with the world around her, and accurately portrayed her confusion as she navigated falling in love in a world that told her it was wrong. She made Lena come to life, in a way I'm almost certain wouldn't have happened for me if I was reading this myself. Drew's emotional delivery also helped carry the slower parts, and helped make the unbalanced focus on romance bearable for me. I plan on at least reading the second book, and I credit that entirely to Sarah Drew's performance. It's why I rated this book 3 stars instead of the 2 or even 1.5 it probably would have gotten otherwise.
My hopes for the sequel are that other types of love are explored within the context of the world, and that we see more of the resistence.
Yes I would recommend it! I would say only about 1/4 of the audibles I have listened to I have been excited about, and this is one of them. It has an interesting plot line, and an awesome narrator!
It is hard to pinpoint a most memorable moment, but all of the interactions between Hannah and Lena were great! Also I loved when there was a raid, and Lena was starting to realize that the government was corrupt.
I have not listened to her other performances, but she was great in this one! She definitely made this audible a great experience!
Love is deadly disease.
It did take a little getting used to listening to Sarah Drew narrate, mostly because she sounds very young. But after I got past the first chapter or so, I absolutely loved her narration! She did so good!
I liked it very much, and the reader did a good job. she made the main character much more likable than even the author had made her. There were a few lulls in the story, and some predictableness (a story about a society who eliminates the emotion of Love. Aaaaand one day a charming, mysterious boy suddenly enters a young teenage girl's boring life. Oh so forbidden!) but overall I was motivated to see how it ended. But dang, the story had to end on a such a cliffhanger, now! I decided to buy the other 2 in this trilogy because the 3/4 through the story it got more complicated. I like complicated. so, I hope it only gets more complex and intriguing from here!
Some parts were a bit predictable but overall it was a great book. The voice actress's attempt at male voices results in almost all of the male characters sounding alike, but she still did a pretty good job.
I absolutely loved this book! It took me a bit to get into but halfway through it hooked me in. I had chills through most of the book! I'm looking forward to getting the next book in the series.
OK, so I am middle aged and enjoy YA stories. Aside from that bit of personal info, I have to say that the story kept me intrigued. A society that eradicates emotions, chooses your spouse, and tells you what to do for a living. Hmmmm.... recipe for BORING! But the glimpses of "invalids" that live on the fringes and in the wilds... that injects interest into the whole scenario. Delirium is part of one of a three part series (but I like long, long stories).
Sarah Drew is an excellent narrator who really puts her heart into her reading, bringing the story to life. It was all there for the hearing.... angst, anger, fright, contempt, worry, love. Character voices were great and believable.
Part one? Thumbs up.
Fantastic voices. Very creative
Without spoilers; I wanted more from a certain confrontation.
There's also a scene involving a motorcycle.... in which it's incredibly obvious the author has never driven one (Several large errors). These type of things break the world for me.
I never write reviews but I bought this books based on the many reviews saying how great the writing was. I love YA sci-fi and fantasy, but I also love literature with great writing and beautiful prose. This book is a rare combination of both.
Also, it must be said that Sarah Drew did a remarkable job. I've listened to around two dozen audiobooks so far, and the best of those readers do not even come close to her performance. Because the writing is so good, I don't think I would have liked the book less had I read it myself. In fact, I might want to read it eventually. But listening Sarah Drew being this story to life was a wonderful experience in and of itself.