Sunday 3 March 2013

Pandemonium review

Lauren Oliver
28th February 2012
Hodder & Stoughton

The eagerly anticipated sequel to the international bestseller DELIRIUM, one of the most addictive books of last year. Unflinching, heartbreaking and totally addictive, this novel will push your emotions to the limit. 

Lena's been to the very edge. She's questioned love and the life-changing and agonising choices that come with it. She's made her decision. But can she survive the consequences? PANDEMONIUM is the explosive sequel to the critically acclaimed and bestselling DELIRIUM.

*There will probably be spoilers for Delirium and possibly Pandemonium in this review. You have been warned* 

Pandemonium was amazing. I wasn't too certain how I would I feel about it because it's been about two years since I read Delirium, and ever since an English teacher stole my copy of it I've not had a chance to read it again (I'm holding out for the new UK paperback that matches this Pandemonium cover), so I sort forgot a lot about what happened. What I did remember, though, was the massive amount of crying that I partook in after I read the last page. As such, I wasn't too certain how I'd feel about some the new developments made in this book, but I think now that it was a perfect second book, and I cannot wait to read Requiem (and I'm seriously glad I waited until it was close to it's release after THAT ending!)

It's always a treat reading a Lauren Oliver book because her writing is just so beautiful all the goddamned time. For some reason I always expect trilogies/series to be written less well than standalone (don't ask me why), so it weirds me out a little to read these books and have them be so stunningly written. I think I need to get over my series prejudice because a story spanning over more than one book doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to be of a lesser quality than any other kind of story.

Also interesting about Pandemonium is the way it was told. Delirium was told all the way through in just one timeline, but Pandemonium splits into two: Then, and Now. What was especially interesting about this to me was that we got to see Lena go on two different emotional journey's side by side. On the one hand Lena is learning to cope with Alex's death and adjusting to life in the Wild, hardening herself against her grief and becoming the 'new' Lena. On the other hand, in the Now timeline, we see Lena start to soften again, and even though she is by no stretch the person she was Delirium, we see her start to fall in love again.

Even though I am by no means a fan of the love triangle, in this capacity I think it works really well. In other ways it is completely the most evil thing ever because I love Alex, but I love Julian, too. I've been trying to dedicate less space in my reviews to the boys in them because I never really say anything new about them, but since this is more about the love triangle, I figure that it's okay. The thing with Alex and Julian is that so far there's been a book for each, so it's not like it's been happening simultaneously. Also, Lena thinks that Alex is dead! She's allowed to move on with her life. And Lena's changed now, largely due to Alex and the impact he had on her life, so I feel like it also represents this new stage in her life to a degree. Requiem is going to be horrible, though. I have no idea how this series is going to end romance-wise because there's no obvious choice. It will make for interesting reading, though!

The other thing that I like a lot about these books is that they work. I have a lot problems with dystopia because it usually feels really fake to me, and the premise and the world-building are jarring and that detracts a lot from my enjoyment of them. Delirium was another one of those that I thought I just wouldn't buy into, you know? Love, a disease? Ridiculous! But it works. I think that, for me, this has a lot to do with the fact that the books don't feel all that dystopian. Obviously, with the rise of the resistance and the DFA and the beginnings of a revolution, it has started to feel more so, but a lot of the book took place either in the Wilds or in the Tunnels so it still felt more grounded than other dystopians I've read.

If you haven't read this series yet (and you've read this review and I've spoilt it all...) then you definitely should, even if you don't think that dystopian is your thing. This is one of the few second books I've read that doesn't suffer from ye olde Second Book Syndrome, and I cannot wait to read the last one, even though I don't want this series to end.


  1. Haha, we can't read your full review b/c we don't want spoilers, but "it was amazing" was good enough. Must get our hands on this series!

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