Pandemonium is written by Lauren Oliver. It is the sequel to Delirium (my review can be found here). It was published in 2012 by HarperCollins. The third book, Requiem, comes out in the spring of 2013. Oliver’s website can be found here.
Spoilers if you haven’t read Delirium.
“After falling in love, Lena and Alex flee their oppressive society where love is outlawed and everyone must receive “the cure”—an operation that makes them immune to the delirium of love—but Lena alone manages to find her way to a community of resistance fighters. Although she is bereft without the boy she loves, her struggles seem to be leading her toward a new love.”
~Library of Congress Summary
“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.
Mrs. Fierstein gives me a final stare—meant to intimidate me, I guess—and turns back to the board, returning to her lecture on the divine energy of electrons.
The old Lena would have been terrified of a teacher like Mrs. Fierstein. She’s old, and mean, and looks like a cross between a frog and a pit bull. She’s one of those people who makes the cure seem redundant—it’s impossible to imagine that she would ever be capable of loving, even without the procedure.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence, behind a wall of smoke and flame.”
“I open my eyes into pain. For a second everything is swirling color, and I have a moment of total panic—Where am I? What happened?—but then shapes and boundaries assert themselves. I am in a windowless stone room, lying on a cot. In my confusion I think that perhaps I’ve made it back to the burrow, and found myself in the sickroom.
But no. This room is smaller and dingier. There are no sinks, and only one bucket in the corner, and the mattress I’m lying on is stained and thin and without sheets.
Memories return: the rally in New York; the subway entrance, the horrible vision of the bodyguards. I remember the rasping voice in my ear: Not so fast.”
Warnings: Swearing, kissing, violence.
Recommended Age Range: 16+
What I Liked:
I love Oliver’s writing. It’s beautiful and poetic and amazing to read.
I really like Lena as a character. She’s really matured and grown since the first book, which makes tons of sense considering what’s happened to her. She also doesn’t just get over Alex in the blink of an eye; he’s still very much a part of her even when Julian comes into the picture.
I’m a bit conflicted about the ending; let me say what I liked about it here and go into what I didn’t in the appropriate section. The ending made me very eager for the last book. I’m curious to see what Lena does and what happens to the setting as a whole. I’m excited to see how the series will end.
What I Didn’t Like:
Julian is a bit…flat. I didn’t connect with him much at all. He just seemed to be put into the text as a plot device.
I’m not sure what exactly Oliver is trying to say with the excerpts of The Book of Shhh that are found in the book. Does writing something in the view of a government that’s supposed to be wrong and evil imply that what’s being said is wrong and evil? Or am I just reading too much into it? I also don’t like what Oliver has done to religion in the book. Both of these issues gave me feelings of unease when I read them.
Some of the swearing in the book seems completely unnecessary. Is it really necessary to use swear words for descriptive purposes in non-dialogue? It threw me out of the book every time it happened.
Now, the bad part of the ending: ugh, how contrived. How cliché. Of course that happened. Of course that means that there’s going to be a SPOILER love triangle END SPOILER. Of course another dystopian novel has gone in this direction (edit: Oliver has said on her twitter account that it will be not exactly a triangle, whatever that means. Interesting.)
Pandemonium is a worthy follower of its prequel, Delirium. It’s full of fast-paced action and beautiful prose; however, there are still a few things that unfortunately deter from the quality: the development of Julian as a character, for one, and the ending that, while being very wham-quality, is also very contrived.
Coming Up Next: Crossed by Ally Condie