Published by HarperCollins Children's Books on 2/28/2012
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
"So what was your name before?" I say, and she freezes, her back to me. "Before you came to the Wilds, I mean."\r\n\r\nFor a moment she stands there.\r\n\r\nThen she turns around.\r\n\r\n"You might as well get used to it now," she says with quite intensity.\r\n\r\n"Everything you were, the life you had, the people you knew... dust."\r\n\r\nShe shakes her head and says, a little more firmly, "There is no before. There is only now, and what comes next."\r\n\r\nAfter 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.
Even though I 5-starred DELIRIUM, I only just liked it a lot (though in my review, I stated I loved it – I did, but comparatively speaking, I only liked it). But I recognized it as the building block to something really, REALLY GREAT. It was still fantastic and Lauren Oliver’s world was a captivating one, because what is more interesting than than a world without love? PANDEMONIUM is an “OMG-I-couldn’t-put-it-down-to-eat-or-sleep” kind of book. It picks up right where DELIRIUM leaves off, after Lena has crossed over the fence and lost Alex to the guards. So it begins at a fast-paced, somewhat delirious pace… A lot happens in this novel. If you’re hoping for a lot of Alex appearances, sorry for your luck because PANDEMONIUM isn’t about Lena and Alex; PANDEMONIUM is about Lena and how she changes from Lena Holloway of Portland, Maine to Lena of the Wilds who is tough and a survivor. Her character growth throughout the story is nothing short of astounding and Oliver brings her from a somewhat weak girl to an independent woman capable of more than she ever thought possible. Oliver is also a master of the details: Lena’s description of New York City is vivid and descriptive, detailing a drab city devoid of color or any interesting life, as if the cure for deliria nervosa also turned off all the lights, and dulled the paint and vivacity of the Big Apple. NYC has become indifferent. She also perfectly describes the mass hordes of people during events, crowds so thick that even reading about them in the pages made my heart constrict in a slight panic because I’m somewhat claustrophobic. Somehow, I think Lauren Oliver was drawing the reader in just that way. I loved how Oliver has contradictions in PANDEMONIUM, like when Raven tells Lena she doesn’t get to choose how she helps, when the whole point of being outside the walls IS the freedom of choice. The irony of these little episodes was not lost on me. Sometimes it was as if Lena had never left Portland. Speaking of Raven, I really enjoyed all the new relationships and characters that were introduced in PANDEMONIUM. Each new character brings something different to the table, and makes Lena’s story so much more unique and yet still made Lena stronger by herself. So PANDEMONIUM is Lena’s story to tell and she has one. I can’t say I was surprised by the ending; I expected exactly that, but it was how I would have done it. If you have read DELIRIUM and you loved it, then run out and get PANDEMONIUM the minute you can! Even if you didn’t love the first one, I think you’ll still really like the second because it is fast-paced, full of action and – love.
We hold hands across the dark, and after a while I hear his breathing slow and deepen, and I close my eyes and think of waves pulling slowly on a shore. After a little while I am asleep too, and dream of being on the carousel with Grace, and watching, laughing, as all the wooden horses slowly break from their positions and begin galloping up into the air.
This book was provided by the publisher in exchange of an honest review. Blurb courtesy of Goodreads. Quote may change with final copy.
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