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
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's Pandemonium follows hard on the heels of its prequel, Delirium. For those who haven't read the first book, read no further. In fact, do yourself a favor and wait to read the first till the whole series is done. Because you will not be satisfied with Pandemonium's conclusion. It requires more, and still more. The end of the book is so quaking with the need for more, in fact, that it's hard to write about the rest of it without mentioning the book's final moments. But we will try.
Lena has escaped over the fence of her home in Portland, Maine. She meant to escape with Alex, the one who first taught her about the Wilds outside of the only world she knows. The one who first showed her that even if love is a disease, the deliria is worth it. But he was wounded, left behind to the fire, the guns, to death. And so she has shut her heart off from her old life and any memories that might linger. After days of running, she is found half dead by Raven, an Invalid who has been leading a group of uncureds in the Wilds, moving from homestead to homestead just to survive.
Lena becomes one of them whether she wants to or not, and hardens, growing more and more like Raven and the other fierce survivors on the far side of the wall. They join the Resistance, and Lena finds herself faced with the daunting task of living among the cureds, pretending to be one of them, following the dictates of the Resistance without question. It is not the life she was looking for when she crossed to the other side, but it is the only one left to her. She crossed for love, but love has been lost.
The first third of this book is slow. Painfully slow, though that may have been my general exhaustion toward dystopia in general and series in particular. Then all of a sudden, just over a third of the way through, everything gets kicked up a notch and you're on the edge of your seat with curiosity and tension and a foreboding that tells you precisely what's going on even though you really, really don't want it to be true. This isn't remarkably descriptive, but let's just say there are explosions and sickness and fire and hidden codes and aliases and kidnapping and torture and secrets whispered in the dark. Lena hardens and then unhardens and then hardens again, and you feel for her the whole way through.
That doesn't change the fact that when I closed this book I made a half-hearted vow never to begin a series again before the entire thing has been released. It had only been a few months since I read Delirium, but I had still forgotten much. Most importantly, I'd forgotten the love I had for the characters, and that's something very hard to revive en media res. The slowness of the first part was probably due in large measure to the fact that I had forgotten to care. It is my fault, of course, but it certainly didn't help Lena much.