Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pandemonium - Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium is the sequel to Delirium.  Read our review of Delirium here.

Summary: 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.
(Summary from book - Image from www.laurenoliverbooks.com)

My Review:  If you’ve read Delirium, I probably don’t need to tell you to read Pandemonium.  You’ve either purchased it, borrowed it, or you’re on some type of waiting list and desperately trying to hack the local library database and jump the line.  Lucky me, I have a mom who likes to buy books and then sends them to me so that I can read them first.  Go ahead.  Be jealous.  She’s awesome.  Any-hoo, I received Pandemonium in the mail last week and have been itching to pick it up ever since it arrived.  Once I was able to devote some serious the-kids-are-finally-in-bed time to reading, I blazed right through it. 
In Pandemonium, Lena is torn between a past she can’t forget, Alex, the love she left behind, and the promise of a new future.  The chapters alternate between then, Lena’s struggle to survive after her harrowing escape into the Wilds, and now, her present mission as an undercover spy for the resistance movement.  Then and now, but never before.  No one talks about before.  Before is her mother, Hana, Grace, and Alex.  Before no longer exists.   
Moving back and forth between the Lena’s past and present only served to increase my anticipation; the author’s mini-cliffhangers always propelled me into the next chapter.  Along with a different time and setting, this book introduces a wider cast of characters – Lena’s new friends in the Wild and those she meets while working as a spy.   I enjoyed these additional characters but wanted to know more about them, especially Hunter and Tack.   Raven and Julian were the only two characters who stood out to me, and that was because the author gave them  a little backstory. 
Pandemonium is far more action-based than Delirium, which mostly centered around Lena and Alex’s relationship.  Fear not hopeless romantics, some romance does come into play as the story unfolds.  However, with romance in the background for much of the book, the author was able to create a more complex view of the conflict between the government and the resistance.  She expanded the resistance into several, sometimes opposing factions, and made the government seem that much crazier with the addition of the DFA (Deliria Free America) organization.
Unfortunately, there was quite a bit more profanity in this book than in its predecessor.  Much of it could be explained away by the rougher setting and characters, but I thought some of it was highly unneccesary.  Obviously, this is a matter of opinion and preference, but in some instances I felt the word mouse droppings would have been just as effective.   Now, if someone gets stabbed I tend to me more forgiving of profanity, even in fictional characters.  I’m not a total Molly.
As the second book in a trilogy I didn’t expect to get all the answers in this book, but I did expect a brutal cliffhanger ending that would keep me around for the next book and Lauren Oliver did not disappoint.  Did I see it coming?  Yes.  But, that doesn’t mean I didn’t thoroughly enjoy it.  Thankfully, the odd moment of plot predictability doesn’t necessarily ruin things for me.     
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a great sequel.  I plan on reading the final book, Requiem, as soon as it comes out in Spring 2013.  Mom, are you getting this?! 

Also, if you've got an e-reader, you might like to read about Lena's best friend Hana in the e-book Hana: A Delirium Short Story (available here).
My Rating: 4 Stars. 
For the sensitive reader:  Pandemonium had far more instances of profanity than Delirium.  I lost track of the number of “S” words, but I’m guessing upwards of thirty with a couple of “F” words thrown in as well.  As far as sexual situations go, there was some making out and one instance where a boy “accidentally” sees Lena topless when she is changing.
Sum it up:  An intriguing sequel.  I will be coming back for more.

1 comment:

Jillian said...

I enjoyed the first book but it wasn't a favorite. I feel like there are so many other books I want to read first, but at the same time I've been hearing great things about this one too! Oh well.

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