(#2, Delirium trilogy)
Delirium | Pandemonium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 28/02/2012
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Source: For review
Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity
SPOILERS AHEAD - ONLY READ IF YOU'VE READ DELIRIUM. ;)
My 'review' for Delirium (linked above) was written straight after I read that cliffhanger/tearjerker of an ending, and so therefore I let my emotions run rampant along the screen. As a result . . . well, I didn't reflect my thoughts on the book in full; much of it was just the shock-wowza factor, and for that I gave the book a 5/5. I recently re-read it and I'd give it a 3.5/5 now because, overall, it's a snoozer (for me). I liked everything all right; it's just that nothing really got to me, until I got to the end.
Bursting with action, the second book in Oliver’s dystopian trilogy where love is seen as a disease (Deliria Nervosa) kept my attention from abrupt beginning to fist-clenching end. I may be in the minority with this, but I actually liked Pandemonium more than Delirium! There was just so much more going on. In Delirium, there were bouts of panic and action, but much of the book I’ll admit left me bored. Not the case in Pandemonium. I couldn’t peel my eyes away!
The old Lena is dead... buried... behind a wall of smoke and flame
From page one of Pandemonium, we are thrown straight into the action and it takes a while to make sense of what's happening. Lena tells us both the NOW and THEN after the events of Delirium, separated into two distinct but linked plot arcs. History repeats itself as Lena starts to fall for another man (not Alex) and the Resistance against the "Zombies" (Cureds) grows stronger still.
Pandemonium hits off with Lena still distraught over her loss of Alex when they tried escaping over the border into the Wilds. The old Lena is dead, buried behind a wall of smoke and flame. I found the NOW and THEN plot device to be a clever way to really bring home the changes that living in the Wilds does to Lena. Also, each section would end on a tense note, which just urged me to read on and find out what happens next.
At the edge of a broken city . . . This, for us, is heaven.
In Pandemonium we are given even more insight into the new world. More than that, we see the ugliness that exists outside the safe walls of Cured lands. Lena is with her new 'family', a group of Invalids who started to grow on me. The harsh life that they have to lead chilled me to my core, especially when winter rolled around and supplies ran low. Even so, they have each other. They depend on and care about each other.
"For now, there is only a homestead built of trash and scraps, at the edge of a broken city, just beyond a towering city dump; and our arrival--hungry, and half-frozen, to a place of food and water, and walls that keep out the brutal winds. This, for us, is heaven." (p. 289)We'll let Lena do the rest of the talking.
What never changes about Oliver’s books is her eloquent writing style. She has such delectable written expression, and she can build worlds and environments with ease. Her writing is akin to poetry. It’s no wonder she’s doing so well as an author! There's a good mix of action and description. I think Oliver keeps a better balance of this here when compared to Delirium.
He is not Alex. You don't want DERP. You want Alex. And Alex is dead.
I think much of what may repel readers from continuing on after Delirium is the romance aspect. We know that Alex has died – or is at the very least on the cusp of death and captured by the system – so where does that leave Lena? Surely she doesn’t find another . . . oh wait! She does! I’m still not sure how I feel about this new love interest, but I must admit they share some really sweet scenes together. He's not quite the sweeping romantic that Alex was, the guy who showed Lena what it was like to really be alive and free. He actually pales in comparison, but by the end of Pandemonium we see a glimmer of hope. For what? You'll have to read it yourself to find out!
Following what was one of the most gut-wrenching YA I’ve ever read comes a truly captivating sequel in Pandemonium. The complexly drawn storytelling will keep you reading well into the night, and once you’ve flipped the final page you’ll want more. Another Oliver book not to be missed!