93 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2012
I have been a huge fan of Lauren Oliver since her debut novel, Before I Fall, which remains in my top five favorite works. Because of my high regard for that book, I eagerly blazed through her dystopian novel, Delirium. There were several reasons why I was let down by that book, possibly mostly due to high expectations. It was much slower paced, possibly because it was spread into a trilogy, and I was not as invested in Lena (to me, she was almost too innocent and uncertain) and did not feel very attached to Alex, her love interest. I felt he was too straight of a character, without the many layers and depth that I was used to in Before I Fall.
I bring this up in this review because the second novel in this trilogy, which so often ends up being the "filler" book in many trilogies, surpasses the first in all of these areas and more.
Pandemonium picks up right where Delirium ends in the aftermath of Lena making it to the Wilds, with Alex presumably left behind and killed. This book is composed as a series of flashbacks of her life in the Wilds and her present time as an active part of the Resistance.
This book again showcases Lauren Oliver's gorgeous prose. She writes so beautifully and poignantly in a way I have not seen matched currently. Furthermore, the pacing of this book is much better than the first. We are immediately thrust into the dangerous Wilds and the difficult life that Lena is now adapting. Lena has developed into a much more interesting character, with hardened edges from the terrible tragedies she has experienced and the difficult life she now leads. Then, we are introduced to Julian, the head of the Cured activist group. I immediately was drawn to him in ways that I was never with Alex. Instead of a straightforward protagonist, Julian is multifaceted; a character with depth, feeling, and emotion, who changes with experience and develops meaningful relationships.
I also want to mention that while I was never surprised by any of the secrets revealed during this novel (and there are several), I welcomed all of them. I thought they were well thought out and necessary-- the exact right moves. When I was in my fiction writing class at Stanford, my teacher once told us to trap two very different characters in a place and just see what happens. I imagine that might have been exactly what happened for Julian and Lena.
A gorgeous book, well written and another amazing success for Lauren Oliver. I was unsure if I would read the final book in this series, but now that doubt has completely fled. I eagerly await the thrilling conclusion to this trilogy, and know that Lauren Oliver has an amazing career ahead of her as one of the most promising YA authors to date.
74 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2012
Like so many other reviewers, Delirium was one of my favorite novels of 2011 and I couldn't wait for 2012 when Pandemonium would come out. Delirium spends the whole novel getting the reader invested in Lena, her transformation, and her falling in love with Alex. The end had me dying for the next book so I could see what happened to Lena and Alex.
Pandemonium opens with Lena escaping in the Wilds, leaving Alex behind, presuming him dead. She stumbles upon a group of the resistance and integrates into their society. Unlike many of the other reviewers, I like the "Then" segments. I thought that it was necessary to show the completion of Lena's transformation from "Zombie" to the hard, practical, strong member of the resistance she becomes. It is also the only time we really see her grieve for Alex.
The "Now" segments follow Lena as she is sent on a mission to follow the prodigal son, Julian, of the Pro-Cure leader. This irked me because there is obviously something going on but Lena doesn't question it or push the matter. I found the fact that her resistance "mentors," Raven and Tack, are a part of a scheme that paid Scavengers to abduct Lena and Julian is ludicrous. I find it hard to believe that they would employ the aid of a faction that is so reviled and hated by the resistance. Plus, Raven and Tack left a great deal up to chance. I found it unbelievable that Lena was able to A) make her way to Julian through the crowds, B) keep track of him once she had found him, C) find him once he had been abducted, and D) manage to make it to him without becoming a casualty herself. I thought it was unnecessary that Raven and Tack kept her in the dark when she could have performed her task so much better with more knowledge. They didn't even have to reveal everything. It could have been "We heard a rumor that Julian would be abducted by the Scavengers at the rally - keep an eye on him" and we could have still had the OMG moment later on when we discover that the resistance paid the Scavengers. And it was irritating that Lena spent so much of the novel passive, helpless, dirty, and/or passed out. We were treated to a few scenes, but I wanted to see more of the fighter she had become!
It was entirely predictable that Lena would fall for Julian. "Oh my God, we're stuck in a room together and I hate you and everything you stand for but your whining and naivete are so attractive that I can't help myself." I didn't connect with Julian at all. I hated that I constantly felt sorry for him because of his father, his brother, his cancer, etc. As a reader, I don't want to pity the male love interest in a novel. I especially didn't connect with his and Lena's "love." She flipped from one extreme to the other so quickly and he just seemed like a horny teenage boy who got to touch a girl for the first time. (BTW, his peeping while she took a shower didn't seem sexy to me, it was creepy.) Everything between them felt forced and contrived. Maybe it was because I was so invested in Lena and Alex's relationship that this book just didn't do it for me.
Now, I don't know about you, but from watching a lot of TV and reading a lot, I KNOW that when a character "dies" - unless you see the person die and then witness them being buried or burned - you can pretty much guarantee that there's a good chance you'll be seeing them again. That for me was predictable and I was not at all surprised when Alex showed up on the last page, interrupting a lovey-dovey moment between Julian and Lena. I am so tired of the teenage love-triangle in YA novels. Just because it worked in Hunger Games doesn't mean it's the best plot direction for this series. While I loved Delirium, and this series had the potential to become the next HG for me, this second book ruined it by forcing a triangle. I feel like this book would have been better without the love-triangle set up.
However, with all that said, I *will* be reading the third book to find out what happens with Lena and Alex and to see if, hopefully, it can redeem the disappointment of this book. :(
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2012
I have a theory. You see, I just finished Pandemonium ten minutes ago and couldn't stop thinking about it. I NEEDED to get my thoughts down on paper. This doesn't happen very often with book reviews. My theory is this: the Delirium trilogy is similar to a puzzle. In the first book, Lena is docile, weak, and meek. In this book, Lena is the exact opposite- hard, cold, and most of all ... angry. You can see this in the covers to the books- in the first, the colors are blue. The model is wide eyed and innocent looking. On the cover for Pandemonium- the model is fierce, picking the reader apart with her angry glare. The colors are orange, red, and the plants give the model a wild look to her.
Some may find this off-putting. Lena's personality seems to have made a complete 180 degree turn. But if you look at the big picture (and if my theory is correct), you can't look at one book without the other. This trilogy seems to be Lena's path to becoming a complete person. A person who has a balance of strong with weak, passion with common sense, and calmness with ferocity. A complete person. Delirium and Pandemonium are those complete opposites- and I really believe book three will be the book that ties them together.
As for the book itself, Lauren Oliver did a fantastic job! At first, I was bothered with how different Lena seemed since the last book (understandably so, but still?). About halfway through the book, I realized- Lena still doesn't have it figured out yet. She will, but she is still struggling to find a balance between the "wild" and the "order" in herself.
Yes, there is a second love interest, and yes he is important, but I don't really think that that is what Pandemonium is really about. Pandemonium is more about Lena's journey and how far into "wild" she is willing to go.
I hope you will all read this book when it comes out- and when you do get a chance to read it, hop back here and let me know if you agree with me. I, personally, can't wait for the third book. I applaud the author for her complex story lines and most of all- for making me think about what makes up a "good" person.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2012
Overall the book is well written, fast paced and interesting but there were things that seriously ruined the whole thing for me...things that made me consider just putting the book down and never picking it back up.
There are things that are hard to swallow that carry over from the first book, such as Lena just assuming that Alex is killed. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't just go "Oh man, he will probably get killed. Oh well, I guess he is dead now. Dead, dead, dead. Time to move on." It would be easier to assume if the author hadn't already brought Lena's mom back from the dead (and what was the point of this, again? Her mother's revival serves no purpose to move the plot forward). And the fact that she falls in love so quickly after losing the love of her life makes it an uncomfortable read.
Though i'd say the romance in this book is set up a little better than the first book (Romeo and Juliet style). Still, the author fails to realize she is asking WAY too much of the reader to care about another one of Lena's 'loves' after watching her first love being ripped from her mere months before...and then proceed to set up the same scenario of us to re-live. I nearly didn't finish this book.
I only read it because I bought it at the same time as Delirium. And while I enjoyed reading this more than I enjoyed Delirium (the pacing and action is far better in this book), the ending left me with no desire to buy the last book.
There is so much potential for this world, I just wish the author didn't hinge the whole series off the idea of a love triangle and random people coming back from the dead. It really frustrates me, considering the potential Lena has as a character and how interesting the world is. I get the appeal of a love triangle...it works in many novels. But in this series it feels forced: it's shoved down our throats like the only possible plot device available in this world.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2012
This was going to be a three star review - mostly because the constant jump from the "now" chapters to the "then" ones. The only effect that served was to pull me out of the story. Even with that, it was a good book. Not great, not spectacular. It was good. Lena's journey with the other Invalids and the hardships they endured (especially Blue's death) touched me, I seriously hate Raven on a lot of levels, and I want to know more about Lena's mom. TBH, at this point, the mystery about her mother is what will probably have me buying the third book.
It took me a while to start this one after it was released. The end of Delirium, and Alex's death, wrecked me for a few days. I couldn't believe after everything....that he'd died. When I did start the book, I kept hoping that I'd read it wrong, or Lena had misinterpreted, etc. But no. Hammered home again and again that Alex was dead.
Then she got trapped with Julian. And she started making comparisons in her head, and once she said that she was "more comfortable with Julian than Alex" and the pit of dread formed in my stomach. I knew then that the author was going to get Lena in love and happy with Julian and bring Alex back. I knew it so much that when he finally turns up, all I did was groan.
So the book's rating went down a star for the blatant emotional manipulation - both for us and for Lena. Was she supposed to pine forever because maybe he was alive? She mourned, and she moved on....something every psychiatrist in the world would tell you is normal and healthy. And what happens? Surprise! I'm alive! Now I get to mess up your life because you weren't psychic.
Meh. Maybe I'm just over the whole triangle and Team X or Team Y thing.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2012
My review may be somewhat biased because I was incredibly disappointeted with Delirum and I was hoping Pandemonium would revive the series for me. The entire plot was predictable but most plots are. Overall, the plot was fast paced and I enjoyed the mixture of the "Then" and "Now" chapters. This broke up both storylines, otherwise I think the book may have been boring. While I was reading this book though I kept feeling hints from other series and books, the idea of a "Homestead" that is in an underground labrynth, ring a bell? This sounded just like Stephanie Meyer's "The Host". The idea of a love triangle that appears in the end of the series screams Hunger Games. The book was just okay, not one of my favorites but certainly not horrible.
On a seperate more OCD point,
Rarely do I consider the idea to stop reading a book, but I came very close in the begining of Pandemonium. (NOT A SPOILER) It bothers me when there are typos. It bothers me even more when there are plot holes. Lena clearly thinks "Of course they wouldn't care about silverware or things like that in the Wilds" (28) but then a few pages later "although I can barely hold my fork because of the blisters" (73). Little things like this are not that essential to a plot but it bothers me when the author, the editors, and anyone else who read the book before it was published did not pick up on the mistake. It shows how rushed the publication was. Later in the book (SPOILER) it happens again, "We take turns carrying her - me, Raven, Hunter, Lu, and Grandpa" (221). I distinctly remember that Hunter had not returned to the main group but I kept reading assuming I had missed something but later my orginal thoughts were confirmed, "Since Tack and Hunter never made it home" (254). Some people may consider this to be over obsession but I rather recieve a sequal months later rather than an incomplete unrevised edition.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2012
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver is the second book in the Delirium trilogy. This time Lena is out in the Wilds, but without Alex. Not only that, but it seems Alex is dead after he saved her.
So, here's the thing, it wasn't like it was horrible but it didn't have much that I really liked about it. I gave the first book, Delirium, a two star review and I liked this book less than that one.
-The world building was a bit better in this one, but still not all that great. For some odd reason, I thought they were referring to Portland, Oregon. But apparently, it's for Portland, Maine. Didn't even realize there was a Portland in Maine. (Thank google for the Maine part, otherwise, I wouldn't have known.) It does make more sense, but still, some more world building or explanation would be great.
-The story goes back between "then" and "now", which took me a bit to get. I wasn't sure what was going on with it. Basically, "then" is when she first arrived at the Wilds. "Now" is what's happening now for her. Since the Wilds, she has gone into New York City, undercover almost.
While it wasn't a bad idea and it's different, I didn't care for it. I felt like it was spoiling most of the story as we're reading it. She's in the Wilds, but we know she's going to go to New York City. Okay, why do I need to read more?
-It seemed that Lena was weaker throughout this novel. Just weak in general, always being knocked out, helpless, etc. It got old after a while. If she's supposed to be so strong, why is she always so weak and complaining she's weak?
-The part where Lena has to follow Julian, that just bothered me. It was so obvious that something was supposed to happen and how in the world is Lena able to follow Julian that well? In the middle of a crowded arena where Lena can barely move through people, an attack happens, people are running around like crazy and even walking on her, and she somehow is able to find Julian and follow him. Really?
-Then of course, Lena and Julian decide that they fall in love with each other because he shared moments of his cancer and his brother with her and she held his hand. Yep, that's deep love right there. -_- Maybe I missed something and the fact that the guy complains and whines about everything and needs pity, that's why we're supposed to believe that she loves him and want him as a male love interest? I don't think so.
-Am I the only one who thinks Julian's peeping of Lena's naked body isn't as sexy or sweet or whatever as Lena thinks it is but is more perverted? That just screams stalker.
-Why is Lena so stupid in this book? Was she this stupid in the first one? I don't remember. But things are obvious that it's a set up, that she's supposed to go with Julian for a reason, but she doesn't get it. She doesn't even get that she has weapons to escape with her. Yet Raven and Tack think she can handle it without knowing anything and are surprised that she doesn't get it.
-The whole thing was more predictable. From the fact that Julian and Lena will "fall in love" despite their hatred for each other, because they're in the same room. To the fact that Alex really isn't dead and comes back right at the end. Yeah, we all know Alex isn't dead. Now we get a love triangle in the middle of it as well.
I really really hate love triangles. Can't stand them. Now, Delirium has a love triangle so it can be just like every other book out there. Seriously, there is no need for EVERY book to have a love triangle. Just saying. And this one seems pointless and stupid. I feel that Lauren is just trying to get people to do those "team" things, which sounds like Twilight and there's no need to.
-It also seemed like there was no flow or connection for a few things. Like, towards the end of the "THEN" section, the Scavengers come and start a fight, but all of that is so random and not explained all that well. And suddenly from that, they go into New York City and decide to go "undercover"? How? Why? What's the motive? There's no reason for them to do that, no explaination, except it just happens and we're expected to believe it. Also, that whole fight thing, is just random and doesn't make any sense. All of a sudden they're waiting for them? Yet, though there's more Scavengers, Lena and her group wins? It's just...
Honestly, it wasn't all that great. I was able to read it quickly, but it wasn't a very interesting read, it was boring and I didn't feel like finishing it several times. It's becoming too clichéd and too predictable. There's nothing really exciting or making it stand out anymore. The writing isn't even all that good anymore. I almost feel like giving this a one star review, but I don't think it quite deserves that. More like a one and a half stars rating, but I'll put two stars here.
I'm not really recommending this book or the series right now and I don't think I'll read the next book. I'm just not feeling motivated to do so.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2012
What a wonderful follow up novel to Lauren Oliver's dystopian, Delirium. Where many sequels flounder or just fall flat, Pandemonium delivers and grows on its predecessor. The novel is split into alternating chapters of "then" and "now". The "then" chapters complete the tale of what happens to Lena after Delirium finishes and she is fighting to escape and survive in the Wilds without Alex. The "now" chapters show Lena back in society as a Resistance agent.
Delirium left you on such a cliffhanger, I needed to know what happened next. Oliver managed to deliver a sequel where she strung you out the entire book before giving that information. Normally this is something that would have left me twitchy and irritated, however the book is just that good I never once felt exasperated at all. What you get is a book that isn't shy of being harsh and painful. It makes you think twice about about how we behave as individuals and shows the strength and resiliance of humanity regardless of what is thrown at them. Where Delirium explores Lena's growth and love, Pandemonium is about the darker emotions like hate and revenge all of which are still considered part of "the" disease, amor deliria nervosa.
"If he were less well trained, and less careful, he would say hate. But he can't say it; it is too close to passion, and passion is too close to love, and love is amor deliria nervosa, the deadliest of all deadly things: It is the reason for the games of pretend, for the secret selves, for the spasms in the throat."
There were many scenes in this novel that deeply impacted me, often by what Oliver leaves unsaid, once scene in particular with Raven, Blue and Lena left me in tears it was so harsh and beautiful. The writing is just superb, I can't fault it. Where Crossed so desperately tries to be poetic, deep and meaningful and falls short at the mark, Pandemonium delivers in spades. The story and writing is fluid, soulful you really empathise with the characters and can feel the hopelessness and uphill battle of trying to change their society.
Lena really grows in this novel, she states that the old Lena is dead and in some ways this definitely feels true. The new Lena is much tougher after surviving the wilds and joining the resistance. She at times seems numb and dead due to the shock of losing Alex and her entire way of life. There are a few new secondary characters introduced who are well done and really enhance Lena's journey through the Wilds and I can't not mention Julian, her new love interest. I wanted to dislike him, I really did but I just couldn't. Julian, like Lena is all about discovery, growth and acceptance that they are different to the rest of their society. He is sweet, he is genuine and I really felt for him and could see the love blossoming between them even if Lena resisted and battled it.
I can't sing this series enough praises. If you haven't read Delirium yet, please go pick it up and get as hooked on it as I am. Pandemonium is a wonderful sequel and I am on tenterhooks just waiting to see how everything comes together in the final book!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2013
Loved this book. I can't wait for the next book to come out. A quick, easy read. If you like Hunger Games you will like this series
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2013
Amazing the ending is absolutely unexpected and I can't wait for the next one. Definitely a story you can't pass up