Tuesday 10 April 2012

Book Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver.

Product details:
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release date: March 1st 2012.
Hardcover, 329 pages.
Rating: 3½ out of 5
Ages: 14+
Series: Delirium #2
Other books in series: Delirium, Hana.
Source: Received from publisher for review.

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.

Please note: This book is part of a series. There may be spoilers for previous book in the series in this review.

Beautifully written in Lauren Oliver’s inimitable style, Pandemonium the second installment in the popular Delirium trilogy initially disorients its readers, taking us out of our comfort zone, with characters and settings that are a world apart from the structure and order of the first book.   Family and friends are no more as Lena Haloway finds herself living in the wilds amongst the invalids following the disastrous escape attempt that provided the heartbreaking conclusion to Delirium.  Lena must learn to survive in a world where nothing makes sense, and where Alex, the boy who showed her how to love, is no longer by her side.

But where there is life, there is hope, and we soon come to realize that while Lena has lost Alex and has left her family and friends behind, there are new friends to be made in the wilds.  With the help of a formidable character called Raven, Lena learns how to survive in her new world, where the threat of danger is never far away and enemies are all around.

While I enjoyed Delirium, for me it was a sometimes slow read, and I experienced the same problem with this book, which is told in alternating chapters detailing Lena’s harsh life in the wilds, and her present life, six months on from her escape, which sees her once again living as a member of society. While I had a difficult time connecting with Lena in Delirium, she is an altogether more likable character in this book and one we can really root for as she struggles with her grief and raw emotions over the loss of Alex and tries to come to terms with her new life without him.

Alex, the boy who fought for freedom, who fought for love, is gone, but that doesn’t mean the end of love in Lena’s life.   Pandemonium sees a new love interest take center stage.  Julian Fineman is a very different creature to Alex, a boy who believes in the cure above all else, Lena initially resents everything that he stands for, but then, when they are thrown together in dramatic circumstances, both find it difficult to fight their growing attraction to one another.  Alex fans won’t be pleased at the developments in this book, and it does all happen pretty quickly for Lena and Julian.  Remember though, Lena lives in a world where love is outlawed, and you know what they say about forbidden fruit!

Delirium was all about Lena’s coming of age, and her personal fight for freedom. In Pandemonium we see the consequences of her choices and also the effect that the DFA (Deliria Free America) has on society as a whole as it strives to control the spread of Amor Deliria Nervosa.  This book is darker than the first showing us the true extent of the malicious totalitarian policies operating in Lena’s society and just how far the powers that be will go to keep the spread of this ‘disease’ under control.

While I found Pandemonium an interesting read, it wasn’t an exciting page turner for me.  I found the plot a little too predictable, even clichéd at times.  I know that Oliver can shock with her conclusions, (Delirium, Hana) but that didn’t happen for me here, and I predicted a lot of what happened in Pandemonium, right down to the very last twist.  However, I am looking forward to seeing how things work out for Lena and Julian in Requiem, the third and final installment in the Delirium trilogy, because with that aforementioned final twist, things suddenly just took a turn for the very interesting indeed!


  1. Heather@The Flyleaf Review10 April 2012 at 00:20

    I felt the same way about this book, I enjoyed it, but, unlike you, I liked Delirium more. Pandemonium earned 4 stars from me, and I am definitely interested to see what happens in Book 3 too!  I'm off to read your review of Hana next:) 

  2. Ooh. I am an Alex fan. I'm not sure how I feel about yet another love triangle... Glad you still liked this one, even if you didn't love it. I'm definitely going into it more prepared now, so thanks for the review :).

  3. daisychainbooks10 April 2012 at 00:32

     I think Delirium was pretty much the same as this one for me. I rated them both 3.5, but I liked Lena a bit more in this one. You should read Hana, for sure! :)

  4. daisychainbooks10 April 2012 at 00:35

     The Alex fans are not gonna be happy, that's for sure! I didn't love it. The only YA dystopian I've totally LOVED has been Divergent. Still haven't read The Hunger Games yet, though...lol!

  5. I agree about Lena being more likable in this one! I actually wasn't a fan of Delirium so I really loved that Pandemonium was completely different. I absolutely love Julian! I really love the way his relationship with Lena progressed and I'm just super into him in general. This book was pretty predictable, in fact my co-blogger wasn't going to read it because she predicted everything but the book definitely exceeded her expectations. I admire how Lauren Oliver can do something like that! I'm waiting for Requiem with trepidation because I'm afraid for Julian, ha. 

  6. daisychainbooks10 April 2012 at 00:41

     Ha! I'm a little afraid for him too! I can see why you would prefer this one so much more if you didn't like Delirium - it was so completely different to the first book!

  7. I love how Lena was stronger in this one too -- it made her so much easier to admire, and I loved that about Pandemonium! :) But I agree about the pacing in these books! I'm more of a fast-paced reader, so sometimes I just wanted to get to the good parts LOL x) Haha and I knew what was going to happen at the very end, but it still didn't stop me from wanting to throw the book across the room!

    Beautiful honest review, Leanna! Even though the first two books didn't completely blow you away, we still have hope that Requiem will! :) <3

  8. I really liked Pandemonium but I can see where you're coming from, I'm also looking forward to book 3!

  9. I think I like this cover much better than the US one with just the close up of the girl's face (not that it's not pretty) - it just seems to fit the feel of the book a bit better with the Wilds and everything. I agree with you this one wasn't exactly a page-turner, but for some reason it didn't feel all that slow to me. Maybe I was just in the right mood for it:) Beautiful review Leanna!

  10. Forbidden fruit! Lol. I actually LOVED this book! Maybe even more than I personally loved Delirium. And I admit, I guessed the ending, but I still was shocked when it happened :) I can't wait for the third book!

  11. Sorry you didn't love this more, but I'm glad it was still an enjoyable read! I definitely missed Alex in this book, but I really did like Julian and I appreciated the different kinds of love. Though I'm still waving my Team Alex flag for the third book! Although I'm really not sure how she'll resolve that love triangle in the end. 

    I definitely agree with your thoughts on Lena - she was much stronger in the sequel, after what she's endured since Delirum. Fantastic review!

  12. I found this a bit predictable as well, and I definitely was not a fan of Julian but I love Lauren Oliver's writing style and I loved how Lena grew and became stronger in this. I definitely will read Requiem, I just hope it's a bit more surprising ;)

    The Cait Files

  13. daisychainbooks11 April 2012 at 19:19

     I'm more of a fast-paced reader too. I need lots and lots of action! The ending of this one was very predictable, but I still liked what happened pretty much. Makes things interesting! ;)

  14. daisychainbooks11 April 2012 at 19:20

     Thanks, Jenny! Maybe I wasn't in the right mood for this one. I needed a couple more shocks. The ending of Hana really shocked me, but I didn't get any surprises here.

  15. daisychainbooks11 April 2012 at 19:23

     I liked Julian too, pretty much and I liked Alex in Delirium but neither are absolute favourite book boys of mine. Now, if it had been Noah Shaw in the first book and Julian had come along to take his place, that would be a different matter! I don't have very strong attachment to these characters, but that might change in the final book because usually I have to pick a fave and root for them at some point! I mean, it was easy to accept Julian here because Alex wasn't around...

  16. daisychainbooks11 April 2012 at 19:24

     Me too! Need more shocks! Glad the comments started working for you, btw. I forgot to check back last night!


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