Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Apr
04
6 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: 5 stars, Dystopian

Book: Pandemonium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: February 28, 2012
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
Series: Delirium #2

Summary from Goodreads: Iâ??m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

**slight spoilers for book one contained in this review**

First impressions: I had no clue what to expect with this book. I liked Delirium, but had some major issues with the premise of a society that views love as a disease. It kept me from fully enjoying Lena and Alex’s story, despite beautiful writing. I went in to this one with some hesitation as a result, which turned out to be completely unnecessary.

Lasting impressions: This may be one of the only times I recommend reading a first book just so you can read the second one. This sequel was a thousand times more enjoyable for me than Delirium, and no matter what your feelings on the first book, this is a fantastic read that nearly stands on its own.

Conflicting impressions: I thought Julian changed his ideals and morality a bit too quickly and conveniently. It definitely added tension to Lena’s storyline, but I found it hard to swallow that he would be so afraid and disgusted by Lena’s affliction of delirium, only to fall victim to it a few days or weeks later with no internal conflict.

Overall impressions: When we left Lena at the end of Delirium, she had made it past the wall into The Wilds, and her love Alex had been captured in Portland. This book picks up immediately after, with Lena injured and heartbroken at the assumed death of Alex. She is saved by a group of people on the outside, who take her into their community and nurse her back to health. As she gets stronger and more determined to live life free of the cure, she begins to take on more advanced assignments within their group’s resistance efforts.

Lena experiences some major growing pains in this book. She is alone in spirit, fending for herself for the first time. She makes some acquaintances with her new family in the wilderness, but on the outside people are harder and have been through so much pain that they build emotional walls to fill the place of the physical ones of their old lives. Raven, the mothering leader, is tough as nails while holding tenuously to her desire to care for others. She and Lena have an interesting dynamic that is at times competitive and at times friendly. It’s hard to fully trust her, despite the fact that she seems to do what’s best.

Things really ramp up when Lena is sent to a public rally to spy on a young uncured named Julian. Lena winds up being kidnapped with him and despite his fear of her as a delirium victim, he feels drawn to her. They share some touching moments during captivity and Julian begins to fall for Lena. As they work to escape, navigating their feelings becomes equally treacherous as their harrowing situations. Lena is conflicted about her remaining feelings for Alex, and Julian has been brought up to despise everything that Lena stands for. It’s an interesting dynamic ripe with tension.

The book is full of exciting action and beautiful prose. I appreciated the chance to follow Lena outside the contstrained life in Portland, and following her through the wilderness and into New York City brought a fresh perspective that was so much fun to read. The story is told through chapters that alternate between a 6 month timeframe, labeled “now” and “then.” In the now chapters, we follow Lena and Julian’s exploits, and in the then chapters we see how Lena made her way from Portland to Raven’s crew. When the stories ultimately collide at the end, Lauren Oliver drops another bomb on us (though ultimately not that surprising) and leaves us with another uncertain ending that begs for continuation. It was an appropriate end to this section of Lena’s story, but I anxiously await the third book to see what comes next for Lena.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system


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6 Responses to “Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver”

  1. Jenny says:

    YAY LOGAN!!!! So glad you loved this one too, I thought it was fantastic. I do agree with you on Julian, he definitely abandoned his previous way of thinking with relative ease, but otherwise I really enjoyed his character as a whole. I wanted to hate him since I'm such a fan of Alex, but it was impossible. And Lena was amazing I thought:) Beautiful review!

  2. Shannon@BooksDevoured says:

    I read and LOVED Delirium but I have not had a chance to read Pandemonium yet! I plan to soon. I am glad to know that you liked it so much!

  3. Steph (Poetry to Prose) says:

    Yes, I loved this one too! I loved Delirium, too, but I felt there was more energy in Pandemonium. Plus, Julian definitely didn't hurt! /fangirl I'm glad you ended up enjoying it so much. Bring on Requiem!

  4. Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic says:

    I enjoyed Delirium and can't wait to read this one. I'm hoping to wait as long as I can so the wait for the third one isn't so bad.

  5. Aylee says:

    It's so encouraging to hear you loved this one so much because I still haven't found the time to read it yet, but this should help me accomplish that! I'm a bit doubtful about the love triangle, but we'll see.

  6. Now this YA series is on my list to try. I have heard only good things about this :)


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