Thursday, June 6, 2013

Book Review: Pandemonium

Release Date: February 28, 2012
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 375 pages

"So what was your name before?" I say, and she freezes, her back to me. "Before you came to the Wilds, I mean."

For a moment she stands there.

Then she turns around.

"You might as well get used to it now," she says with quite intensity.

"Everything you were, the life you had, the people you knew... dust."

She shakes her head and says, a little more firmly, "There is no before. There is only now, and what comes next."

After falling in love, Lena and Alex flee their oppressive society where love is outlawed and everyone must receive the "cure" - an operation that makes them immune to the delirium of love - but Lena alone manages to find her way to a community of resistance fighters. Although she is bereft without the boy she loves, her struggles seem to be leading her toward a new love.


Protagonist: This book is told from two different time periods, "Then" and "Now" each with a slightly different Lena in them. "Then" takes place almost immediately after then end of Delirium with Lena escaping into the Wilds after losing Alex. There she teams up with a group of invalids and learning how life moves beyond the government's borders. "Now" takes place many months later with a more knowledgeable Lena who plays the role that Alex did in Delirium somewhat. She's nearly a fully fledged invalid and works to find a way to make love legal again. In each time period Lena matures in different ways, In the "Then" period, she's learning to push on through the pain of losing everything she's ever loved, while in the "Now" she learns to let go of the past and push on to the future.

Romance: I was utterly devastated in the beginning when Lena's new mentor, Raven, confirms that Alex didn't make it through the escape. I knew that a new love interest would have to be introduced and I was prepared to hate or at the very least, dislike him, but... I didn't. I actually really liked Julian's character and how he paralleled Lena's position from the first installment while Lena took over Alex's. I enjoyed their chemistry and loved that the other kept the appeal of the first romance while still making this romance feel different from the one in the first installment.

World-Building: In this installment, we see what life is like beyond the border and what the uncureds do to survive in the Wilds. We find out that not every rebel is created equal as there are those who cause senseless violence and seem to cause chaos without any clear goal in sight. These "scavengers" give the invalids a bad name and are the ones who cause the most fear and panic among the valid and cured citizens. We also learn a bit more about what happened to Lena's mother and where she went after escaping from the Crypts.

Predictability: This book was more predictable than the first installment, however it didn't hurt the rating because it was still done in a way that made the book completely enjoyable and fun to read. Some of the larger twists came nearly from no where while others I had guessed from the start, those that came from next to no where had some very subtle foreshadowing that I didn't see until well after I finished the book. There were also a few twists that I had a few theories about and while the story seemed to point to one theory it ended up being another one of mine which is always something I enjoy reading.

Ending: "What the Hell, Lauren Oliver!" Haha, that's all I could think as I finished this book. While the twist/cliffhanger that makes up this ending is something I guessed would happen since I started this book I was still shocked that the author would not only have the guts to do it. It's a game-changing and rather unique way to handle the story and create drama, my only hope is that the author handles it well, which at the moment I'm not sure what that would be. All I can say is I don't know how those fans from the beginning lasted more than a year between this and the final book.


There's no denying that this book earns a full five crests. It's fun and engaging, and by the end I nearly forgot how confusing the time jumps were and was so focused on where the next book would lead this story. I'd say even if you weren't such a big fan of this first one you should read this installment, because it's AMAZING.

P.S. Click Here for my BEA 2013 Book Haul
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  1. I actually preferred this book to the first and definitely more than the last. Actually, I really didn't like the last book and gave it a 3. I love Oliver's writing but I just had a totally different feel in the last book, like the flow was broken.

  2. Ahhh!! This book. It was so amazing, but I was an emotional wreck - probably the entire time because of what happened at the end of the first one. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on the final book - it's definitely a little different from the first two!

    great review!