Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release date: March 1st 2012.
Hardcover, 329 pages.
Rating: 3½ out of 5
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!