Mar 11, 2013

Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Pandemonium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: February 28, 2012
Pages/Format: 375, Hardcover

"So what was your name before?" I say, and she freezes, her back to me. "Before you came to the Wilds, I mean."

For a moment she stands there.

Then she turns around.

"You might as well get used to it now," she says with quite intensity.

"Everything you were, the life you had, the people you knew...dust."

She shakes her head and says, a little more firmly, "There is no before. There is only now, and what comes next."

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.

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: UHHHHHHH

*This review contains some spoilers*

Pandemonium is a lot like Delirium: I don't know what I think of it. I see elements of other books in it--New Moon, since Alex is gone and Julian moves in, as well as the Matched trilogy--but I don't think that bugs me a whole lot. There's not much that's negative/bad about this book: it just doesn't do much for me, and that really disappoints me.

While Delirium was written from Lena's POV in the present, Pandemonium switches from the past and present, flipping from her time in the Wilds to her time posing as a cured Valid. I didn't mind Lena in the Wilds, but I usually preferred city-Lena, for that's when she was with Julian. Lena has definitely changed between books: she's hardened, and has more hate toward the people in the city, the people who think love is a disease. Plus, Alex has been assumed dead. (If you remember the end of Delirium, Lena runs into the Wilds as Alex is surrounded and taken down by regulators, police, and haters of love.) She loved Alex, and now that he's gone she's hurt, but trying to hide the grief. Part of her believes that what everyone said was right, that love is bad, because losing Alex hurts. But then she meets Julian and they get stuck together when they're both held as prisoners by Scavengers--evil, evil people who are neither Valid nor Invalid. And she finds a place to put her love--she doesn't have much of anyone else to give it to--but she can't fully give love to him, for she still loves Alex. I don't think the Delirium version of Lena would've thought she could ever romantically love more than one person, but she does. As for Julian himself, I really liked him. Once him and Lena stopped hating each other and got over their differences--she's an Invalid, he's part of Deliria-Free America--he was a really good guy. There really wasn't much to not like about him. Well, except for one thing: he wasn't Alex. I also really liked the people Lena hangs with in the Wilds: they're fun and good characters that I enjoy reading about.

In the first book, I thought I really liked the writing. I think I still do, but I have some problems with it. The main issue is that it's repetitive: I noticed words and phrases that just stuck out and seem to be overused, and OHMYGOSH, the word "suddenly." Every time I read it I cringed. Seriously. (Since reading this book I've read other books, and when they use "suddenly" I freak out.) Drove. Me. Crazy. Otherwise, the writing wasn't bad, and the concept was there, though it was quite different in this book.

While Delirium was all about Lena getting the amor deliria nervosa and falling for Alex, Pandemonium is more about other kinds of love and learning if love is worth it. (Major spoilers ahead!) Plus, there's like no Alex, except for when Lena's thinking about him. Which makes sense, since he's dead. But as is learned at the end of the book--the very end, as in the very last page--he's actually alive. (YAY!) I feel bad for those of you who read Pandemonium months ago and had to wait for Requiem after that ending. But that's not until the end, so Alex doesn't play a huge part in this book. Julian, however--like I said, I liked him. Even though I never wanted to meet him or know about him, because I just wanted Lena to be with Alex. Then Julian said the following, which is such an amazing line and I love it, I love it so much (damn you, Julian): "I want to know. I want to know with you." Oh, my heart. Very, very good line, and it made me like Julian more. As for the rest of this book's content, it was full of thrills and chills and all kinds of craziness: the Wilds aren't what Lena thought they would be, and neither are the Cureds. Interesting, if you ask me. It's all one big mess, with people fighting each other. Love makes people do crazy things.

In the end, this book, like its predecessor, was disappointing. Maybe it's because of all the hype or because I knew some things about the books before going into them (completely my fault), but there's something missing that holds me back from loving them. I know this review is a complete mess, and that's because my thoughts on this book are a mess: I still don't know what I think of it. This series is seriously killing and confusing me. I'll just have to see how I feel after reading the final book, Requiem.

Did I like it? Yes.
Did I love it? I'm not sure.
Would I reread it? I might.
Would I purchase it? Already have it.
Would I recommend it? I think so. A LOT of people love it.


  1. I loved Deliruim but I didn't like this one, it was a disspointing sequel. Maybe I went into it already having my doubts since I knew Alex wouldn't be in it but i still didn't like it. Julian felt like such a rebound to me. The BIG CLIFFHANGER at the end of the book was so predictable i didn't like it...

  2. So I really loved book 1 but book 2, pandemonium was so much better. Lena is more developed, more mature, strong. The plot is great and you can see things to start and showcase the struggle in society. I really liked bringing in Julian and like the hint of the triangle in the future! This is a fast read ( well at least for me it went by fast). I couldn't put this one down!

  3. crave the heart-stopping action of the arena from The Hunger Games combined with a destined-to-be-doomed love story then this sequel is perfect for you!


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