Monday, 27 February 2012
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: February 28th, 2012
Genre: YA, Dystopian Fiction
If you have yet to read Delirium, the first book in the series, then it would be wise not to continue reading this review.
Now that Lena has escaped Portland and found her way into the Wilds, she wants to move on and start over. She wants to forget the person she used to be; a girl who believed everything society told her, and saw love as a life threatening disease. Lena managed to escape just before she was to undergo the procedure that would stop her from ever feeling true happiness or sadness again, although in the process of fleeing she lost her boyfriend, Alex. Now Lena is one of the Invalids who live on the outskirts of society. With her new group of companions, she struggles to survive and find food. While things are much more difficult than they were in Portland, she at least has her freedom. As time passes, Lena becomes part of the resistance and lives under a false name in Brookyln. She finds herself in grave danger when she is asked to keep an eye on Julian, the son of a prominent leader in support of an earlier procedure. While their cause is for the good of everyone, to what extreme will the resistance go to to stand up against the government’s fear of love?
I haven’t been waiting for this book as long as some people (I read Delirium in August) but it feels like I waited forever. While some sequels to terrific books can be a letdown, thankfully Pandemonium was worth the wait. The book is told in chapters that alternate between ‘now’ and ‘then.’ ‘Then’ follows Lena’s life after she escapes into the wilds and meets up with a group of Invalids. ‘Now’ follows her life as a ‘cured’ member of the resistance in New York. This format worked very well, since the two different paces complimented each other. Honestly, I can’t imagine it being done in any other structure. If the events of Pandemonium were told in sequence, it would have dragged on too much. While it had a slow start, Pandemonium quickly took off and was fast moving and full of suspense. The interesting thing about this sequel is that only one of the characters from the last book appears in it. And that, of course, is Lena. After having to leave everything she knows behind, Lena has grown a lot as a person. The hardships she faced as she left Portland have helped her grow and leave the person she used to be behind. As Delirium began, Lena was almost exactly the type of person the government wanted her to be. She believed in The Book of Shh and feared deliria. Now, Lena is immersed in the resistance, fighting for the right to love. I don’t actually want to reread my Delirium review, since it was one of my earlier reviews. However, I do remember saying that while Lena felt like a bit of a flat character, it was because she grew up in a society that encouraged her to be ‘flat.’ So many things have changed Lena since then, and in Pandemonium we get to see more of who she really is. After this book, I don’t think anyone could accuse Lena of being flat or undeveloped anymore. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Lena has another romantic interest in this book. I knew that this was going to happen, and I had an idea of how she would meet this person. My predictions on that front proved to be incorrect, although I guessed who was going to be Lena’s new boyfriend as soon as he was introduced. I know a lot of people were not looking forward to this aspect of the plot, but I ended up feeling just as Lena does by the book's end. Of course, the big question when reading a sequel is how it measured up compared to its predecessor. While Pandemonium didn’t quite match Delirium, it was a compelling read that was darker and perhaps more thoughtful than the original. I think one of the reasons I preferred Delirium was because of the writing. The prose was much more poetic and enchanting. I suppose you could measure how much you enjoyed a book in a series by how much you want to read the next book (or if you want to read it at all.) If Requiem was already out, I would probably have gone to the bookstore to buy it right after finishing Pandemonium.
“Grief is like sinking, like being buried. I am in water the tawny color of kicked-up dirt. Every breath is full of choking. There is nothing to hold on to, no sides, no way to claw myself up. There is nothing to do but let go.”