I was one of the few people who was not completely spellbound by Delirium. I had heard from many people that Pandemonium was very different from Delirium, so I thought that might be a good thing. I might like book two better. And I did like the second installment better, but only by a little bit.
The story in Pandemonium is told in a different way than that of Delirium. Instead of in chapters, it’s in sections alternating between “then” and “now.” I have mixed feelings about the format. At first, it was a bit confusing, then it was a little annoying, but then it stop and left me with questions. I found myself liking the “now” storyline better than the “then” but I understand the importance of the “then” storyline. It’s there to fill in the blanks, and if it had been completely linear, this might have been a four book series instead of a three book series, and book two would have been very dull.
Like I did with Delirium, I had trouble focusing. The majority of the story just didn’t capture my attention. I kept finding other things to do instead of reading, which in turn caused me to get very behind on my blogging schedule. Was it because I had just come away from reading Allegiant? Maybe, but I had the same trouble with Delirium. The writing is absolutely wonderful and lyrical, but I guess I just don’t feel very invested in the characters and the plot as some others are. However, I do care enough to want to know what’s going to happen in the last book.
The last fourth of the novel was what really kept my attention. Everything lead up to that last part of the story and it was quite intense. However, the book ends with a HUGE cliffhanger. I pretty much spent my time making myself read the entire book and then BAM. Secrets are uncovered and new problems emerge and I’m expected to be okay with that? I feel like book three will be the best of all of them, based on the direction the story is currently taking. My feelings are quite mixed when it comes to entire series, so don’t take my word for gospel. Read it for yourself and come to your own conclusion if you’re willing.
This is NOT a spoiler free review. Watch out. Also contains spoilers for DELIRIUM.
Delirium had left off with Alex dead behind the fence and Lena alone in the wilds. Pandemonium takes off from the same spot. Lena makes her way through the wilds until she is found by a group of Invalids who take her in and fix her up.
She struggles to find her place in the land beyond the fence now that Alex isn’t with her.
The story is told from two different points in time but from lena’s perspective in both. We’re told the story of how she survived in the wilds and how difficult it was to adjust and also, the story of how she joined the resistance and began working as an inside agent spying on the DFA: Deleria Free America.
This book introduces a whole bunch of new characters; Raven, Tack, Julian and plenty of others but Lena is still good old whiny Lena :D
She manages to bitch about everything; from the snow and the cold and lack of food to the pain in her legs. For most of the book she complains of feeling faint and not being able to walk although I don’t recall her sustaining any injuries to her legs at that point. In fact, her “partner” at this point of the story was more injured than she was, having been beaten in the face repeatedly but even he doesn’t whine and hobble around as much Lena does.
Just when she’s starting to get it together, Lauren Oliver gives her yet another reason to start moaning again at the very end of the book. Not telling because this is a biggie.
As annoying as she sometimes is, I felt like she has grown quite a bit in this book. Maybe even a little too much; she went from a timid little play-by-the-rules to a knife toting badass.
In all fairness this book was a drastic improvement over the first one, and the story is still really entertaining and it’s a pretty fast read as well.
Unlike Delirium which follows Lena’s romance with Alex and her struggles with what she believes about the world she lives and the disease she was taught to fear, Pandemonium chronicles Lena’s life among the Invalids and her struggle to fight to keep her feelings felt. Where Lena once felt that the disease was worse than death she now believes the CURE is much worse than she would have ever imagined. Along with a cast of new Invalids friends from the strong and authoritative, Raven, to the quiet and mysterious, Blue. These people Lena was taught to fear and hate accept her better than anyone else she knew in her previous life.
As well as struggling with her new role in life, Lena was face facts that Alex was not going to be there for her while she learned the ropes of the Wilds. She mends her broken heart to the best of her ability with a little help from a new character, Julian.
This book was interesting in the way it was formatted. Instead of having different character perspectives, it would switch back and forth through time. It would tell of Lena’s “rebirth”, as she put it, in the Wilds and then switched to the present where she was on a mission for the resistance, a band of Invalids who attempt to reform the society of the cured. Along the way is an interesting connection between Lena and Julian which left me feeling a bit uneasy. I was such a big fan of Alex from the first book and was not ready to let go of the Lena-Alex romance.
When I first picked up the book and started reading and realized that Alex wasn’t in it, I almost tossed it aside. That would have been an incredibly poor mistake. I am not one to leave things unfinished. Especially not a book series. So I pushed through and went along with the emotional rollercoaster. The book got better and the new cast of characters made for interesting back stories and interactions with Lena. I believe that this book did not fall into the dreaded slump that most sequels do. This one actually powered through and was about the same quality as the first book in the series. Overall, I liked the book and am hard-pressed to start Requiem because I am afraid it will be the end of the series. With fingers crossed that the series doesn’t end and two thumbs up for this book, I can safely say that Pandemonium and the Delirium series are a must read.
Review posted on: http://www.ladybugliterature.blogspot.com
I’ll be honest: I was pretty disappointed with Pandemonium as the sequel to Delirium. I fell in love with Delirium right away. It simply blew away all my expectations and held me in a death grip made of excitement and beautiful writing, and I hoped Pandemonium would do the same. I know Pandemonium is the second book in the Delirium trilogy, so I still have high hopes for Requiem, but I will say my overall impression of this series is lower now.
Pandemonium is not a bad book; it just doesn’t compare to Delirium in the slightest. Firstly, the writing in this book was not nearly as captivating as the writing in Delirium. Remember this amazing passage from Delirium?:
“You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them. You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist. And there are many of us out there, more than you think. People who refuse to stop believing. People who refuse to come to earth. People who love in a world without walls, people who love into hate, into refusal, against hope, and without fear.”
I missed that prose quite about through Pandemonium. This book is also told in two different in two different timelines: “Then” chapters and the “now” chapters. “Then” chapters follow Lena straight from the end of Delirium and document her time in the wilds, while the “now” chapters deal with Lena as part of the resistance and her interactions with the cured and the DFA. I am normally a huge fan of timeline and POV splits. I know many people don’t like them as a rule, but many times they’re my favorite way to read and to tell a story. However, I really just didn’t feel it in Pandemonium. I found the “Then” chapters much less compelling because they were interspersed throughout the book, so I already knew that Lena survived to the current point in time. It made them feel unnecessary. I think I would have liked this book a lot more if the story had been told chronologically.
I have to say I love this series and the world that Lauren Oliver has created. When I read Delirium I was so intrigued with a world where love was considered a sickness that needed to be cured. By the end of Delirium I was hooked and needed more of these characters and this world. However Pandemonium didn't quiet seem to meet my expectations and I am not really sure why. The only thing I can put my finger on is the lack of Alex.
I loved the new characters and getting to see a glimpse into how the invalids live in the Wilds. I loved the fact that the chapters switched between then and now. A flashback to Lena's time in the Wilds and then the current story that is unfolding with her helping the resistance.
I really didn't have a problem with Julian in general, but every time I read Julian and Lena's interactions my heart died a little. I guess he just simply isn't Alex. In Delirium when I read Alex and Lena's interactions my heart would flutter and race. I felt the chemistry, it felt real. For some reason with Julian I felt nothing. I am all for love triangles they make books interesting, this however just kind of upset me.
Now I am not really one to scream aloud when reading, but the last page of this book definitely made me do just that. The last bit was what saved the whole book for me. Hopefully I don't want to kill Lena when I get my hands on Requiem. I have faith that she will make the right choice.
Review originally posted on my blog: http://www.ramblingsofabooknerd.com/2013/04/review-pandemonium-by-lauren-oliver.html
The beginning of Pandemonium threw me off a little bit. Instead of picking up where Delirium ends, it starts a few months later, with Lena in New York. How did she get there? Well, the story jumps back and forth between the present, Lena living in NY, and continuing where the first book left off. As the book moves along, this format makes more sense. The past events are mostly about survival, but we already know who makes it since they’re mentioned in the present chapters. They don’t contain much plot advancement, but they still felt important, so mixing them in works. At least for me.
I felt bad for Lena in Pandemonium. She spent most of her life fed the lies about deliria and was essentially a poster child for the cure until she met Alex. Now she’s been transformed into the poster child for the resistance. However, things aren’t going how she expected, and she’s fed even more lies but for a different reason. She is again blindly following a cause that she doesn’t really understand, but I think her grief over losing Alex has something to do with that. She’s seeking revenge, and she’s much more wild than old Lena was.
Pandemonium was not as good for me as Delirium. The alternating time was interesting, since I enjoyed seeing life in the Wilds, but other than that, nothing really new is added. There’s a new complication, of course, but I don’t feel like it was necessary. The plot feels like it took one step back instead of forward, which bothers me. Middle of a Trilogy Syndrome strikes again!
The biggest problem for me came on page 355, but let’s back up a bit. We meet a new character early on, Julian, the son of a high ranking politician. I immediately got worried there would be a love triangle with this new character. But can it really be considered a love triangle if one person is presumed dead? I don’t know, but I didn’t like it, since they had just met. However, things were fine with this relationship between Lena and Julian in the beginning. They’re thrown in a high stress situation, Lena misses Alex, and Julian has never experienced love before, so it makes sense for them to at least have some kind of presumed feelings. Then the L word pops up on page 355 and ruined it. I like love triangles most of the time, but this one felt thrown in for the sake of having one. No thanks.
I mostly enjoyed Pandemonium, even though it didn’t meet the first book’s level of awesomeness. I loved seeing how life is in the Wilds, and we meet two other groups of uncured, which was interesting. All three groups are very different, and just show how screwed up this new America is. The ending was a cliffhanger, but not shocking at all. I expected it from the very beginning, but I am excited to see how that affects the next book. Luckily, I have it in my possession, so I don’t have to wait!
Lauren Oliver has switched things up for us in Pandemonium: every other chapter is written in the present (Now) or in the past (Then), both told from Lena's point-of-view. As soon as I saw this, I was very excited to start reading it. I love when books have multiple narrators, and this kind of felt that way. There was no confusion, you always knew which Lena was talking and what was going on. Doing this, I felt that the story flew without any hesitations - and there were so many emotions: very powerful moments and decisions. Oliver's words have a way of imprinting themselves on your heart... I felt Lena's struggles, not only within herself but with the elements around her too. I ached so much for Alex. I missed him more than I ever thought was possible. Such raw emotions and writing is a rare thing to find in a second book to a series.
Then: We see Lena as she was when she was found in the Wilds. How she survived and the things that she had to learn. This Lena is scared and questioning whether or not she made the right decisions. She's also heartbroken and so lost without Alex. But her thoughts of him are what keep her going, sane and hopeful. Being in the Wilds is scary and tough. Lucky for Lena, she 'found' a good homestead with caring and experienced people that took her in - Raven, Blue, Tack...
Now: We see Lena in the present, a year after she has entered the Wilds. There's a mission that has to be completed and her role is very important and pivotal to the story. This is where we also meet Julian. And there are many other discoveries to be made - there are other people and worlds hiding and living within the system.
At this point, this book, it is so crucial to know everything about Lena... it helps to prepare you for that unpredictable ending! Yes, it is a grand cliff-hanger! But one that I didn't mind at all and loved!
This is one of those books where, after you have turned the last page you either: 1. scream and cry because its over and the cliff hanger is so torturous 2. think (or yell, if you want) "oh. my. god. I need the next one!!!" or 3. punch a pillow (or a wall) because the cliff hanger made you want to punch something.
I did numbers two and three, except doing number three was pretty embarrassing because I was on a plane and I literally punched the seat in front of me and the guy sitting there wasn't very happy and my mum and dad were looking at me like "are you alright??!" ... :P
Even though I saw the end coming before I even opened the book... Well, if you've read the previous paragraph then you will know that that cliffhanger at the end still surprised me (can something surprise you if you saw it coming?) I guess it was more the circumstances that surprised me. Hmmm...
IF YOU HAVE NOT READ DELIRIUM, PLEASE STOP HERE. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ DELIRIUM YET, PLEASE START NOW.
Let me give you an insight on my thoughts before I read the book:
Thought number one: Alex better not be dead or "cured" because if he is I'll die.
Thought number two: Lena better not fall for another guy because if she does I'll shoot him and slap Lena (I won't kill her because that would make Alex sad)
Pandemonium is a much faster read than Delirium. Where Delirium was all about Lena slowly realising that love is not a bad thing, this is all about Lena on the run.
The love interest. There may be a few unintentional spoilers here, people. Brace yourselves people, because now Lauren introduces the all powerful, universally hated (I think) LOVE TRIANGLE!!!! Nononono. I HATE ****** (can't divulge any names here, people). How could Lena do that!!! Okay, fine I admit the guy whose name I won't mention is cute, and nice, and the chemistry between Lena and him is good, but still. Okay, maybe I get that since Alex is gone, Lena would want to move past that tragedy instead of brooding over it forever. But I can't believe she would do that. I HAAAATE LOVE TRIANGLES (in case you didn't get it).
It was great to explore more of Lena's world, because in Delirium all we really got to know was the city and Alex's house. We get to see the Wild, some other cities in the country, and meet new and interesting people. I do want to see what happened to Hana.
So in all, this was a really great read, with much more action and more of Lena's world introduced. If you liked Delirium, you'll love Pandemonium. :)
- Faster than Pandemonium
- We get to see more of Lena's world
I added exclamation points because I can't even stress how much I love this book. This is one of only two instances in which I loved the sequel more than the first book.
I loved the fact that we get to explore the wilds in the book and see what life's like outside of the fence. Lena meets some interesting characters, and of course gets herself in a sticky situation. I fell in love with Julian,a boy who plays a bit part in Pandemonium.
The end was a major cliffhanger, even if I saw it coming. I can't wait till Requiem so that I can see what happens. Amazing novel!
I’m sure by now you’ve probably read quite a few reviews for Pandemonium that go something like this “I couldn’t possibly put my feelings for this book into words” or “What in the world just happened?!” And that pretty much sums it up. I’m not going to write my usual review for this one since I feel like basically anything I say would be a spoiler, but I will say that Lauren Oliver has written a solid sequel.
Everything about Pandemonium is a journey. There’s literal journeys and emotional journeys and every last one of them are spectacular. Almost everything feels entirely real, like it actually could’ve happened on its own without too much luck.
It did feel a little stagnant at some parts, but I know that it can’t always be about action and life-risking.
The Nutshell: Pandemonium is a fantastic sequel that is likely to satisfy (at least for the duration of the book) lovers of Delirium.