Book Reviews

[review] Pandemonium – Lauren Oliver

Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Harper Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 375
Format: Hardcover
Source: ARC received from publisher

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare, 
pushing aside thoughts of Alex, 
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school, 
push, 
push, 
push, 
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.

Tell Me More: Around page 301, I posted this status update on Goodreads: “I think–no, I KNOW–that everyone who I forced to read Delirium is going to hate me forever.” While most people who read Delirium loved it even as they cried over its horrific twists of fate, Pandemonium is going to be a polarizing story for many readers. Those who are looking for familiar footholds in Lena’s world will find themselves lost–the entire mood has shifted. This is not the hopeful side of amor deliria nervosa we knew in Delirium, but instead readers will be forced to endure its pain, its struggle and eventually, its loss.

Lauren Oliver opens Pandemonium likening Lena’s difficult journey through the Wilds to rebirth and a new life. While I can see why she chose to compare it to giving birth, I see Pandemonium (or Pandy, as Ms. Oliver and my fellow fans like to call it) more like an ode to grief. The ending of Delirium stunned many readers, and like Lena, I found myself crawling along trying to deal with what had happened. It didn’t seem real, and Oliver doesn’t expect readers to forget that loss. The Lena we follow in this book is war-torn and beaten to within an inch of her soul, and yet she is expected to pull herself together and continue to live. I think it is easy to forget that the characters in books like these are only seventeen, eighteen, barely old enough to move out, let alone fight in a revolution. And yet it is that indomitable quality, that spark of bravery that we admire so much in them. Pandemonium forced me to consider whether I could be that brave, if I could lose everything dear to me–my friends, my family, the boy I love–and still be willing to fight for the rest of the world.

And where in the world could Lena find hope after what she’s gone through? The most polarizing aspect of Pandemonium, in my opinion, will be the introduction of a new character and their connection to Lena. While I can’t say much without spoiling much of the book, suffice to say that I was a whirlwind of emotion throughout much of the novel. I felt deeply for Alex in Delirium and the new developments in this book both confused and enchanted me. After all that’s happened, I find myself extremely invested in Lena, because I trust her to know the right thing to do. She alone still sees love as love, and not a weapon or a disease or an inconvenience. That unwavering faith in her heart assures me that my adoration for this series isn’t going to waste, and that Requiem will be a conclusion worth waiting for.

That’s Not All:

  • That first chapter tricked me and then made me cry. Basically, you’ll need tissues for most of the novel.
  • Lauren Oliver’s writing is even more superb in this installment. The description of the Wilds is breathtaking, despite its physical ugliness.

The Final Say: Lauren Oliver is truly a tour de force when it comes to dystopian novels–Pandemonium will leave readers breathless and amazed once again.

Need more Pandy in your life? You’re in luck! Next week, the Pandemonium Club will be in session, so don’t forget to check out the features we’ve got in store! You might even win yourself copies of both Delirium and Pandemonium!

You can visit Lauren Oliver at her website and follow her on Twitter @OliverBooks.

You can check out Pandemonium on Goodreads and order it from The Book Depository.

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7 replies »

  1. Angel I love your review!! I definitely needed tissues with me throughout this whole book. It was nothing what I expected it to be, but that’s what I loved about Pandy. I loved how Lauren Oliver shows Lena’s strength in this book, and you are so right, this is definitely is a book that you still know of the loss and you really do crawl with Lena through everything. Can’t wait for Requiem!

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