LAUREN OLIVER made her debut with her YA novel, Before I Fall, but it was her dystopic series Delirium that made her a household name. Three books in the series: Delirium, Pandemonium and the last, Requiem, which is expected to come out February 2013.
(Picture of Author: LAUREN OLIVER)
The second book in the series, Pandemonium, unlike its predecessor, has never had an old version of its cover. Very much like its predecessor, its cover features a pretty girl with plants surrounding her face and I’ll give it the same comment I gave the other: it appears too mainstream. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the story either. You could argue that since some of it (okay, half of it) takes place in the wilderness, the title makes sense. No it doesn’t because the wilderness or at least the tone of book doesn’t look a pretty and polished as the cover. The cover looks like something out of a fashion magazine and it’s just as forgetful.
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.
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.
[WARNING: Spoilers are featured in this review…]
So the story continues on from Delirium where Lena crosses over the fence, into the wilds, while her love interest, Alex, is shot and is presumed killed. Remember in my last post/review when I said that the story lacked a bit for me (mostly because of the characters) in Delirium? Well, Pandemonium made up for that in spades and lives up to its name. The story is formatted differently this time with each chapter shifting from THEN (right after Alex is shot and Lena is in the Wilds) to NOW (six months later where Lena is a member of the resistance). The story is paced much faster and it was more interesting because it’s living off of the momentum left by the last book. There were gasp worthy moments and a generally something you can sink your teeth in for a good couple of hours straight. The ending was by far the most surprising but it was also, in my opinion, one of the most seamless introductions to infamous love triangle.
Oliver continues being amazing in her writing as her choice of the words create dualities in places like the Wilds which is depicted as both a place of burdening despair and hotbed of hope.
I am so happy with the characters we’re given in this book and the improvements made on old ones (or one since Lena is the only character from the last book. Not counting Alex since he’s there for only about five seconds). I love Lena in this book and I now have invested interest in her survival. Oliver broke Lena not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well which as given her depth that I doubted was there at all. She’s not the naïve girl we left behind but instead a kick ass heroine who can hold her own to other female literary characters like Katniss (The Hunger Games) and Isabelle Lightwood (The Mortal Instruments).
Tack and Raven are two characters that I love a lot because you root for them one moment and then you’re upset with them the next. They’re complex and embody the mindset of rebels who’re fighting for a cause that seems to take a lot from them.
Julian…was a wonderful character. Now he’s the love interest that readers deserve and Lena as well. I felt Alex to be (as I said previously) more of a tool to help develop Lena into the more three dimensional character we have in pandemonium. Through losing him, she’s had to pick herself up and stand on her own two feet whereas before it felt like she was leaning on him more for support after learning the truth of the deliria (i.e. she’s still that naïve girl). When we meet Julian, we learn that 1) he’s a key figure in “We Hate Love” camp 2) he’s had his doubts about the deliria that he sometimes doesn’t know he has through little things like reading forbidden books (a lot like Hana and her music). What I really loved about this character was that he had layers to him that made us (and Lena) like him and he’s trying to figure out what’s true and who he is right along with Lena who’s doing the same.
To put it simply, we fell for Alex because we’re supposed to. He’s good looking. It’s a story about banning love and this sexy popsicle of a man takes interest in you all of a sudden so what the hell, right? He’s experienced when it comes to the truth about the Deliria…etc. With Julian, it felt like we actually fell in love with him. He’s the guy you never gave a thought about but then one day BAM you’re suddenly into him. It’s not so sudden though. It’s just the little things finally gathered together to create something big enough for you to notice…
Memorable or Forgettable
MOMERABLE OF COURSE! If nothing else, the ending would have thinking of this book for a long while and have you salivating for the next book, Requiem. I was very satisfied with this book.
I give this 5 Julian obsessed fan girls out of 5.
Keep on reading,
A. A. Omer
The opinions expressed here are mine and readers are welcome to disagree. In fact, I encourage it! I never believed in putting particular books or authors on some sort of universal pedestal but you’re free to put it on your individualized pedestal because I most certainly will.