It seems I’ve been reading a lot of dystopian novels lately (and I can see how publishers are saying the genre is getting a bit saturated), but the premise of this novel really intrigued me. In most dystopians - The Maze Runner series or The Hunger Games trilogy, for example – readers don’t know exactly what happened to the world to bring about the new society. We can guess – World War III or global warming or something, but in those novels, the actual reason isn’t clearly identified.
In this novel it is. Love. Love destroyed society. The government and its scientists have pinpointed the cause of the country’s problems. Love drives people crazy. Love overrides their logic and brings about chaos.
But have no fear. There is a cure for this horrible love disease (a.k.a. amor deliria nervosa). In fact, at the age of 18 – after being segregated from “uncureds” of the opposite sex all of their lives – the serum is administered, a husband/wife and college is chosen based on test results and life will be blissfully stable and secure. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
That’s what main character, Lena, thinks – especially after her mother killed herself for love when Lena was a little girl. She’s terrified of ending up like her mother – crying all of the time. And yet, she also has memories of her mother laughing, dancing, and singing – things that cured women would never do. These contradictory memories of her mother plague her and she just wants to get the cure and not have the doubt, uncertainty, and pain that occasionally takes hold of her.
Lena’s determination to be cured and safe is shaken when her best friend convinces her to let loose and live a little in the weeks before her procedure – inviting her to forbidden parties, and especially once she meets Alex, who she assumes is safe because he has the scar of a “cured” man. But looks can be deceiving.
Pulled into a world where she can laugh and dance and feel, where she experiences danger and excitement, where she witnesses firsthand the cruelty and disregard of the “cureds,” where she finds out the information she receives from the government and even from her family is often a lie, she has to question her fate. Does she really want to be “cured”? And what about Alex? Can she leave him behind? Forget him?
This was another of those books that I read in a day. Fast-paced and exciting, it kept me turning the pages. Lena and Alex’s romance was believable. Finally, a male love interest who makes the reader fall as hard as the main character.
And the ending is definitely shocking – leaving the reader wanting more.
Yes, it follows the basic formula of all dystopian novels, but the difference between this book and some of the others I’ve read lately, is that I genuinely like Lena – even though she is a bit frustrating at first because we know she shouldn’t get the cure, but she hasn’t yet been convinced. And I definitely like Alex. He has all of those qualities that give a girl butterflies – humor, kindness, sexiness, and he lets Lena be Lena, even when he doesn’t agree with her. (Kind of reminds me of my husband, actually.)
So, now that I’ve droned on and on – I DO recommend this book. The second book of the series Pandemonium comes out in March 2012, and I plan to be on the waiting list.
Read and enjoy!
Author's Website: http://www.laurenoliverbooks.com/