Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium (Delirium #2)
By Lauren Oliver

To Sum It Up: Lena has managed to escape to the Wilds, where the inhabitants do not believe in the cure for amor deliria nervosa. Her freedom has come at a heavy price, though. Life in the Wilds is harsh, but Lena perseveres and gradually finds a place among the Invalids. She even becomes a key part of the resistance movement against those who advocate the cure. The Lena who once looked forward to being rid of the disease known as love is gone, and in her place is the new, tougher Lena who must rely solely on her instincts and constantly think on her feet when her mission for the resistance takes some very unexpected turns.

Review: Middle books in a series are always tricky. In the worst case, there’s little to no plot advancement, and they merely serve to set up the final book. Nothing about Pandemonium falters, however. The action and intensity are relentless. Although I really enjoyed Delirium, it was the kind of book that I could put down for a while without too much hardship whenever life outside of reading called. Not so with Pandemonium—I wanted to read it nonstop from cover to cover because it was just so riveting.

Pandemonium alternates between the past and the present. The “Then” chapters pick up right where Delirium left off, with Lena making it over the border fence and into the Wilds, where she is found by some Invalids and taken back to their settlement to recover from her injuries. The “Now” chapters find Lena living in Brooklyn, New York with other members of the resistance movement. She is on a covert mission to keep tabs on Julian Fineman, whose father is the leader of a pro-cure organization called the DFA (Deliria Free America). Oliver effortlessly switches back and forth between the two time periods and has them converge seamlessly. Her masterful storytelling and lyrical prose continue to astound me.

Lena’s character development in this book was amazing. To think that I found her rather ordinary and a little hard to connect with at the beginning of Delirium. That’s definitely not how I feel about her anymore! I loved how in Pandemonium, she embraced her emotions and recognized how horrible it would have been to be cured. Lena 2.0 is one physically and mentally strong young woman who does not put up with anyone’s nonsense. She is really put through the wringer throughout the novel, and she battles back every time. Her evolution into a warrior of a heroine was my favorite aspect of the book.

This review is going to be on the short side because it’s quite difficult to go into detail about most of the book without revealing spoilers. I will say that if the cliffhanger in Delirium left you screaming with frustration, then you’d better steel yourself now for what happens on the last page of Pandemonium. Oliver is both a genius and a little unkind when she writes these endings that leave you an emotional wreck and yelling at your book, “Noooooo. That did not just happen! It can’t just end like that!” Lena has some tough decisions ahead of her, and that’s putting it mildly. I don’t even know what choices I would like to see her make. Requiem looks like it’s going to be one electrifying conclusion to the series, and I can’t wait to see how Lauren Oliver surprises me this time.

All in All: Pandemonium was a thrilling read that packed an even heavier punch than its predecessor, Delirium, did. There’s no need to worry about the series losing steam here; the fireworks are almost nonstop, culminating in a bombshell of an ending.


  1. This ending, though I expected something of the sort, was heart wrenching! I hated it and loved it, simultaneously. It's going to be a long wait for some resolution! :) Nice review Lee!

    1. I also suspected that something very, very dramatic was about to happen towards the very end of the book, and even when it did, I was still shocked! Requiem is definitely one of the 2013 releases that I'm most looking forward to!

  2. Agree with above! I loved and hated the ending at the same time! It was a great read though and I am looking forward to may 2013 to read the last book in the series.

    I also get what you mean about middle books in a trilogy, they tend to be bridge books and a waste of time and money sometimes.

    Great review :) xx

    1. It's so disappointing when the first book in a trilogy is so awesome, and then the second book is basically filler. You're absolutely right- sometimes they just take up your time and your money.


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