Lauren Oliver's Delirium Series

11614718 I just finished reading the final book in Lauren Oliver's Delirium series. And I really recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it before!

Delirium is set in a society where love is considered a disease, and everyone must receive the "cure" to love when they turn 18. The first book follows a girl named Lena and her more rebellious best friend Hana in the final weeks before they receive their cure, and what happens when they encounter a boy who shouldn't exist, a boy who lives outside the walls of the city, who refuses to get the cure, and who opposes everything that they have ever been taught. I can't say what the later books involve without serious spoilers.

So yes, this is a YA dystopian romance. And yes, it ends up with a love triangle. But it's also a lot more than that. It's certainly one of the best in the genre I've read. Lauren Oliver has an absolutely gorgeous, compelling writing style, and she weaves together action, romance and thought-provoking questions to create a series that is difficult to put down.

Ultimately, this is a series about the friendship between two girls who take very different paths. All the talk may be about the love triangle, but it's Lena and Hana, and how they grow together and apart, that forms the backbone of everything that goes on. Their relationship, and how it changes, is one of the driving forces of the books, although I didn't necessarily see it until I got to the end. Other important relationships include the one between Lena and her lost mother, and between Lena and her young cousin Grace. As the series is set in a world where love is outlawed, the appearance and believability of love is really important, and it's really wonderful that Oliver includes all kinds of love and relationships, and explores all the ways that they can be valuable, and all the ways they can be torn apart.

Delirium also a series about choices, and how giving people freedom of choice also means they have to be free to make the wrong choices. The selfish choices, the uninformed choices, the choices that screw themselves over and everyone around them, because that is part of what freedom means. It's an interesting angle for a dystopian novel to take -- the world Lena originally lives in, where love is considered a disease and almost all emotion and free will is taken away, is a horrific one, but it also has its advantages, and the world of freedom and rebellion Lena wants isn't necessarily an idyllic one either. In some ways, it is worse.

Although the third book didn't quite tie things together the way I had hoped, this series doesn't fall for the "YA trilogy curse," where the first book promises so much, and the second book falls apart. In fact, the second book, Pandemonium, is probably the best of the series. The third book has some issues with tying the action together, but if you're looking for a dystopian series where friendship is at least part of the focus, and things aren't dumbed down into black and white, this is a really great series to try.