Pandemonium (Delirium #2)

Pandemoniumby Lauren Oliver

Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Source: Publisher

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.

Gooodreads Summary

I’ve been impatiently waiting for Pandemonium to be released from the time I read the last word of Delirium. I remember flipping through the pages at the end of Delirium thinking that there has to be more, that the author wouldn’t really leave me hanging like that. But leave me she did, and the year in between books lasted for what seemed like eternity.

Pandemonium is a hard book to rate for me. I absolutely adored the book, but the author put in a few plot twists that I ended up disappointing me. But those elements aren’t specific to this book, and are more personal preference than anything else. Unfortunately, said plot elements are kind of spoilery, so I’ll put those in spoiler text at the end of the review. I have a burning need to discuss what the heck happened, so if you’ve read the book already.. those hidden paragraphs are for you. And if you haven’t read Pandemonium yet, don’t worry, I won’t give anything away. You’ll have to be shocked, dismayed, overjoyed and whatever else you might feel on your own. Don’t say I don’t love ya’.

Pandemonium is divided into two timelines: Now and Then. Now, Lena is working for the Resistance undercover. She is attending an all-girls academy and is tasked with observing the DFA (Delirium Free America) organization, and specifically the organization’s golden boy, Julian Fineman. She is to stay close to Julian at all costs, and while not knowing why, she obeys her orders and does her job. Lena attends a rally held by the DFA, which ends up getting attacked by Scavengers and Julian is whisked away by his bodyguards in underground tunnels to keep him safe. Lena follows close behind, and she stumbles upon a small group attempting to kidnap Julian and they both end up being taken. Locked in a small cell with no knowledge of where they are or how long they’ll be down there, Lena and Julian can’t help but interact, talk and connect.

In Then, Lena is running. Running from the life she was supposed to escape with Alex and the image of him falling, shot and possibly dead. Injured herself, she runs until her legs physically can’t carry her anymore and she collapses, wishing for death if it means she can be with Alex again. She is saved by a small group of people who live outside the wire, and she is slowly brought back to life. Lena is now faced with a life she was never supposed to live alone, in a place far away from anything she ever knew. Still grieving Alex, she’s left the old Lena behind and a new Lena has had to take her place. A Lena that knows the raw edge of hunger. A Lena that has to work, earn her place and learn to live on scraps and whatever she can scavenge. A Lena that has to learn to live without Alex, the love of her life and the sole reason for leaving her life behind in the first place.

Delirium was one of my favorite books last year. I was blown away by the exquisite writing, the idea of a world without love or passion and a girl who was willing to risk it all for the boy she loved. Pandemonium left me in awe. Everything good in Delirium was carried over into this book, and made even better. I was intrigued by how each chapter was divided between Now and Then, and when I was firmly entrenched in the Now, the author would yank me out of it and thrust me back into Then. Or vice versa. There were little cliff hangers throughout the whole book, and I felt like I raced through it even faster because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.

Lena really stole the show for me in this book. She left everything behind to be with the boy she loved, who she now thinks is dead but isn’t quite sure and has to learn to live this new life without him and just survive. If I was Lena, I’m pretty sure I’d be a big pile of goo and would cry myself to sleep every night. Lena has an inner core of strength that I couldn’t help but admire and respect. Her personal growth in this book is wonderful to watch. Lena struggles with finding herself in this new world and discovering that’s is okay to pull bits of Old Lena, New Lena and Resistance Lena together to make a stronger and better Lena. One that is sure of her values and what’s important to her. One that will stand up for what she believes in even if it’s not the most popular ideal or way of thought.

Big spoiler – hidden behind white text and definitely highlight and read at your own risk:

I LOATHE the love triangle that Oliver introduced in this book. I feel like it kind of cheapens the love that Alex and Lena shared in Delirium. Don’t get me wrong, I like Julian, he’s a nice guy. But he’s not Alex. And I died at the end when Alex showed up while Lena and Julian were having a “moment” and you could see how hurt and shocked he was. And then… it ended. What. the. hell. You can’t keep doing this to me Lauren Oliver! It’s killing me. Alex escaped prison, traveled all that way to find her and Lena is freakin’ involved with another guy. Aggh! She has to end up with Alex. She has to. I’ll feel bad for Julian, but.. it’s Alex and Lena. Nothing else makes sense. And now I’m left hanging.. again. And now I have to wait a whole year that will seem like an eternity.. again. Gah. GAH!

Okay, I feel better. I just had to get that off my chest.

My Summary: Pandemonium is definitely a must-read. It doesn’t fall into the dreaded second novel trap where it becomes a filler book just to keep the series going. Stuff actually happens, character development definitely occurs and it’s completely and utterly addicting. I admit, I ignored pretty much everything – and everyone – while I read the book. Lauren Oliver is just that talented. Even though a few things happened that I personally wish hadn’t, I’m sure there’s a reason and that the author will fix everything and make it all better. I can overlook those personal preferences though, and whole heartedly say I loved this book and would highly recommend the series it to anyone.

My Rating: A+


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