There’s only one way to survive in this world: build walls. Everyone is doing it. Inside the Delirium free cities, they build walls to keep the disease out. Outside the cities, they build walls to keep the hurt out. Stuck out in the wilds, torn between the two boys who have each stolen a piece of her heart, Lena learns this skill quickly. But is it all worth it? Is life really any better under the guise of ‘freedom’ and how far is she willing to go to fight for what she believes in, if it means tearing down the very walls that protect her?
I cannot fully explain how Lauren Oliver’s writing skills have awed me. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph has been painstakingly selected to provide maximum emotional impact. Her descriptions catapult you into the wilds, until you can actually feel the bite of the cold and see the rays of glittering sunshine piercing the trees.
Lena’s character development was heart-wrenching in this installment. The intensity of her emotional state was further heightened by Hana’s point of view. From the beginning, I loved the character of Hana, but her journey has been more of a ‘character change’ rather than ‘character development’, in keeping with the storyline. I loved the diverging and converging storylines of the two best friend’s and felt that the ending tied up things nicely between them. It was also a wonderful reminder, in the midst of the love triangle, that there are other types of ‘deliria’ than just the romantic kind.
The resolution of the love triangle was not what I expected. In many ways, the entire ending left many things up in the air. At first, I was in two minds about this, but when I considered the purpose of the storyline, I concluded that it just wouldn’t have been as effective with a more cut and dried approach. The entire series is about love and life and neither of those things is ever perfectly resolved or completed. I believe Ms Oliver wanted us to think about the issues she raised in her series long past the final page and in that mission, she has succeeded.
There were many times in this novel, when I began to question which side I was on, and whether the freedom to choose and to love really was something worth fighting for when it came at such a cost. This ability to make the reader feel and think is one of the rarest skills among good writers, especially when that writer makes you question the very premises she has established in the first series. I loved that we got to see things unfold from both sides of the wall. I also particularly enjoyed the parental themes, which included Raven’s wonderful character, and the effect she had on Lena.
Overall, this is one of the most thought provoking, well-written series I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Now to search for more Lauren Oliver masterpieces…