Monday, July 30, 2012

Pandemonium, by Lauren Oliver- Review

From Goodreads:
I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
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.

There were two things I knew as a certainty going into Pandemonium. 1- There was no friggin' way Alex was dead.
2- There was going to be a new love interest.
The first was just my own personal conviction.  There was no way Alex was dead.  I had decided, end of discussion.  The second I knew because at some point Lauren Oliver blogged that folks were not going to be happy with her, and I took that to mean Lena was going to move on to another boy.  I was worried that might turn into some stupid, angsty love triangle, but I was dying to get my hands on part two so I didn't really care.

The story flips back and forth from when Lena first joins the rebels (?), and the present when she's in the city on her rebel mission.  As always, this is a slightly frustrating narration style for a second book, as it's constantly teasing you with what happened after the crazy cliff hanger of book the first and some mysterious future point you feel slightly unconnected to.  But I understand it's designed to drive the tension of the read, and it worked, but I have to go record as saying it's not my favorite.  I was already dying of excitement, why torture me further? Cruel, cruel Lauren Oliver.

Now on to this love interest business.  Without a doubt, there are hordes of Delirium fans who were very unhappy with how quickly Lena seemed to move on from Alex.  I'm talking about you- rabid "book boyfriend"ing fans, I know how jealously you guard your beloved fictional love interests.  I myself, am much more interested in real people for boyfriends (poolboys, I'm only allowed poolboys now that I'm married.  I'm pretty sure that's the rule anyhow), so I was unoffended by Lena's lack of loyalty.  Also, and this is the part where I really piss the die-hards off, it works really well within the precepts of Oliver's story and world.

Let me explain.
Oliver has built a world where love is considered a disease. Lena has been raised to not only, not know what love is, but to be actively deprived of it (except, of course, by her mother).  So it stands to reason that a teenage girl, being thrown into intimate situations with boys, would think every attraction was love.  Now if you're no longer a teen, it's possible you don't remember, but lets face it, things are dramatic when you're that age.  You feel ALL THE THINGS, in very bold and large ways.  So it seemed completly sensible to me that Lena feels she's falling in love again.  And she's not a traitor, she thinks Alex is dead, so she's just moving on.

I will not comment further, as it will lead to spoilerage, just know that the big twist at the end held one big surprise for me and one moment of AH! HA!-ing.  And they were both oddly satisfying.

The actual arc of the story, the details of the rebellion, and the new characters involved with the rebellion were all very enjoyable.  Stunning, I know, there's story outside of Alex and Lena?  Who would have thunk it.  In fact the rebellion and Lena's growing understanding of it is absoloutly fascinating and what makes this series tick for me going forward.  In many ways it's a far more intriguing book then Delirium because you're learning so much more about the world and from the other side of the fence- literally. 

A strong second book in an intriguing series, I can't wait to see where Oliver takes book three Requiem.  Though, I just have to say it, I loath the new covers.  What is up with the uber close ups and flowers?

Pandemonium, by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperCollins, February 28th, 2012
Buy Pandemonium on Amazon


  1. I felt as if Lena really grew as a character is this one, she had some serious girl power going on :D Also, the action factor was something I really liked and Pandemonium was really on a complete different that Delirium. As for Julian I kind of had mixed feelings for him. Sometimes I found him way too annoying and too dependent on Lena but other times he was just so sweet. The cliffhanger was insane as you said, makes me want to have Requiem already :D Great review!

    Marlene Detierro (Alaska Fishing Lodge)