Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review: Pandemonium

Author: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: Already out!
Publisher: HarperCollins / Hodder & Stoughton
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon / Book Depository

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

In Delirium, Lena caught the deliria, love, in a world where such a phenomenon is treated as a vile disease. It took her on an exhilarating ride that altered her very core. And then... it was brutally torn away from her in an ending that shredded not only her heart, but each of ours too. In Pandemonium, we see her attempting to recover from the grief of that loss and finding her inner strength to fight back against those who control her world with a cruel, loveless rule.

Pandemonium alternates between the past and present - Now and Then. Other books I've read that use the past/present method haven't always been able to pull it off successfully, but rather than feeling disjointed or confusing, Pandemonium shines for Lauren's flawless ability to shift back and forth between old Lena and new Lena's life. It helps keep the story constantly moving, full of intensity and emotion, as we discover exactly what happened to Lena after she escaped to the Wilds and how she grew into the survivor of 'Now'. Even when you're left on a chapter with a mini-cliffhanger and suddenly transported months back in time, the frustration is of the good kind. In the sequel, we're not only introduced to the harsh and freeing landscape of the Wilds, but also the bustling Manhattan, the centre of Deliria Free America where we join present-day Lena in her fight alongside the Resistance. We're also greeted to new characters. Raven, Blue and Tack especially intrigued me and of course, there's Julian.

Julian is the face for Deliria Free America, the son of Thomas Fineman, the man heading the cause. First impressions are definitely not what they appear with Julian. He is definitely no Alex, but it's unfair to compare them because Julian is a very different character, compelling in his own way and one that will be hard not to grow an attachment to. As much as I was screaming, "Noooooooo! Don't go there, don't go there!" when I first heard there was another potential love interest, I love the way it unfolded. I don't think Lauren did it for the sake of a love triangle, but to show the many different kinds of love and the painful, yet inspiring journey to recovery. Because there is always hope, even after it feels like your heart has been ripped from your chest, it's still possible to find happiness again. I like the message that was sent here, because the DFA are telling people that love is a disease, a terrible, disgusting thing that will eat away at you if you become infected. And rather than have Lena completely give up on love after her first was so tragically stolen from her, her heart remains open. She doesn't deliberately go looking for a new guy and at first she's reluctant, frightened of it, guilty. But love is not something you can control, much as those in power try to. And everyone deserves a second chance at happiness. I liked that Lena could find comfort in another, a reason to smile. They live in a cruel world where man has tried to suffocate something so pure and for her to lose that, yet still find it again, is a beautiful punch in the face to the entire DFA.

Lena has definitely grown a lot since Delirium. Love and loss will do that to you. She's less naive, more intuitive and much more headstrong. I can so understand her emotions, her actions, the fire within that drives her forward, screaming for vengeance, searching for hope. She has such an admirably brave spirit and while she's not always the toughest physically, her desire to keep on fighting is what makes her so strong. She doesn't spend a few weeks in the Wilds and suddenly become a hardened rebel. I like the fact that Lauren made her journey much more realistic, her vulnerabilities are what make her feel so human.

There is much more action and edge-of-your-seat intensity in Pandemonium. So often I found myself turning the pages faster and faster, then having to physically force myself to slow down because I did not want it to end so soon. And when it did end.... *SCREAMS* AHJKSADLIFJKSJHFDKF. Another awful, pull-every-hair-from-your-head cliffhanger, one that I cannot possibly wait another YEAR to see how it will play out!

Pandemonium is a novel of fighting back - taking a stand for what you believe in and rebelling for hope, for justice, for change. It's about recovering and learning to move on. Lena's entire story is one of love. It's painful, it's beautiful, it's ever complicated, but in the end, who are we.... what are we, without it? An empty, uncaring shell with no passion. Lauren Oliver has once again blown me away with her poetic writing and stunning ability to weave a tale so full of emotion, every page breathes with life. This is a sequel that wholly lives up to its incredible predecessor and will leave you begging, wailing, banging your firsts in rage for more more more more more more more!

5/5 Golden Apples!


  1. I really like the sound of Delerium, but I just couldn't get into it.... I didn't like Before I fall either...

    I totally agree- if only that sort of thing was more openly discussed and shared... it's devistating that it's not widely known like some other problems the world is facing at the moment.

  2. Oh man, Brodie. I die.

    I told you I accidently spoilered Delirium, right? And I was saaaad, and then I was worried about reading this, because I didn't want to break my ownheart, but... DUDE. YOU HAVE TO STOP DOING THIS. I'm not sure it's ACTUALLY POSSIBLE to read all the books I want to read, as well as EVERY. SINGLE. BOOK. you EVER review, because you make them sound amazing. Could you please read a terrible book for once, and tell me not to read it? HUH? No? :(

    *grumble* You know it's going on my TBR >___<

  3. Brodie, I <3333 you AND THIS REVIEW. I'm 10% in, and I'm already like :OOOO. The change is so acute and evident that I can't help but want to keep going. There's this already present intensity. And I gosh I loved how you worded everything. How you made this book FEEL IMPORTANT, like a life lesson or some other. Something that's vital to your life and you need to take part in. Gosh, WONDERFUL JOB, my lovely! Fo' sho.


  4. ARGH, Brodie!!! I am reading this now and I just met Julian and I FEEL SO SAD!!!! WHERE THE HECK IS ALEX? I WANT ALEX NOW!!!


    But then again, I agree with what you said that Lauren Oliver didn't write Julian just for the sake of making a love triangle. Because Pandemonium IS a novel about love and how love can find you at even the most difficult times.

    I really really want to finish this book to see how far Lauren Oliver is taking us into the story and I am really curious of the relationship between Lena and Julian!

    But urgh!! I knew the ending already because of reading the reviews in Goodreads (not spoilery but because everybody keeps on saying how it ends in a cliffhanger), I suddenly was able to guess what it is!

    It won't stop me to read the book though! Because I LOVE LAUREN OLIVER and HER WRITING!

    Awesome review, Brodie!!! SO GLAD YOU ENJOYED IT! ♥

  5. Oh my gosh, Brodie, this review was so amazing that it was TORTUROUS because I don't have my copy of Pandemonium in my hands yet!! <3 I was almost terrified to read your review for risk of spoiling something, but like always, you managed to keep your thoughts spoiler-free with just information to make me even more eager to read the book! :) I love how you described the non-love-triangle; I love how you described Lena's growth...

    I love your review, Brodie!! <3 Yay to you! :)

  6. You've definitely convinced me that I need to be at the shops at 9am next week so I can grab a copy and put the rest of my life on hold while I read this book! Not looking forward to the cliffhanger but I am excited for this book!

  7. I absolutely adored Delirium and I so need to get my hands on a copy of Pandemonium really soon. While I loved Alex I'm definitely intrigued by Julian as I keep hearing a lot about him. I'm happy to hear about Lena's growth and strength as well. I can't wait to see how everything plays out in this one. Great review :)

  8. Another amazing review from you, Brodie. I've yet to read this sequel but I'm actually DYING for it now. Sounds awesome compared to the first book.

  9. Brodie!!! Please lend me your brain so I can write as eloguntly as you! God, this is an amazing review! You're far too good at this blogging malarky :)

    OMG, THE ENDING! *dies* As much as I want the third book NOW, I'm also so, so scared, because... WHAT WILL HAPPEN?! I don't like the choices! My gut says one choice instinctively, but then... the other choice isn't awful. Ooooh :( So much anger and sadness to come, methinks, and I don't think my heart can take it. I could CRY! What are we going to do until it comes out, Brodie?! What are we going to do?!

  10. SCREAMING!!! YES!!!

    I am still in a tizzy over Pandemonium. It's amazing how Lauren made us care about Julian, too, and I am so, so terrified by the events that will transpire in the next one. How will we endure this wait?!! Ahhh, such a gorgeous review, Brodie!

  11. Okay, I am officially SCARED of this cliffhanger. Every review I read claims it is hair-rippingly, agonsingly frustratingly torturous. I'm terrified! :P. So glad you enjoyed Pandemonium though. Will admit I've been worrying that it won't be as good as Delirium. Great review :).

  12. I'm so nervous yet so excited yet so filled with dread yet to consumed with sheer WANT! Lauren Oliver is doing crazy things to my emotions and I don't even have the book yet. Howwwww? :O

    Okay, I want to be open to this new love interest. I'm sure he's great and all but every time I try and consider him, I'm like...

    :( x5498375983475984375984375983475

    I want Alex <3


  13. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful review, Brodie! I just finished this book today and the ending--GOD, THE ENDING. I'm dead. I love Lauren Oliver's writing also. It's just the right balance of poetry and prose, with no purple flowery writing. I cannot wait for Requiem, especially since Pandemonium left on such a "tear-our-hair" note. Love the review, Brodie!

  14. JHBAFNKLAFNBAIUFA BRODIEEE! Great review! I'm loving this book. The Now/Then deal is brilliant. Heart's thudding away like mad - if you don't hear from me again then well…

  15. BRODIEEEEEEEE<3 I finally understand what you mean by (I forgot your actual words) but "It doesn't go the way we want it to, BUT IT'S STILL FREAKING AMAZING). "
    I don't think Lauren did it for the sake of a love triangle, but to show the many different kinds of love and the painful, yet inspiring journey to recovery. WOW. You have no idea how I annoyed I am with love triangles, especially ones where the author purposely writes it for the sake of..welll.. A LOVE TRIANGLE. But I'm definitely going to read this ASAP since Lauren wrote it to show the different kinds of love that people experience..Now that I think about it, a 'love triangle' written with the purpose of portraying different kinds of love suits the story perfectly! hmmm...INTERESTING. Fantastic review, Brodie!!! You've successfully convinced mee to read this <3 I'm really curious about Julian, now!<3

  16. I just finished reading this book and still can't quite work out how I feel! Maybe I loved Alex a bit too much, but I felt mostly miserable throughout the whole thing. :( I agree that the writing was beautiful and Lauren Oliver handled the past/present aspect incredibly well. The ending just destroyed me! On one hand it made me SO happy, but on the other, it means another torturous cliffhanger! A year is so long to wait. :D

  17. YES!!!!! Julian totally symbolizes that whole process of getting over a bad break up, or a devestating loss and yet still being able to be open to love. Lena doesn't go rushing into it, but her heart, this amazingly complicated thing, had other plans. It's beautiful how it can hurt us and heal at the same time.

    Fantastic review! I am going to be pulling my hair out waiting for the third book too. Perhaps we should start a support group of some kind?!


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