Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Predictable but beautiful, March 21, 2012
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This review is from: Pandemonium (Delirium Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Have you ever had a love-hate relationship with a story? I've had that experience with several books in the past (The Host by Stephenie Meyer and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold to name a couple), and, unfortunately, this book falls into that category for me. Pandemonium is the second book in the "Delirium" trilogy by Lauren Oliver. I was so blown away by the first book (as you can read in my previous review) that I was both excited and worried about reading this one - excited to continue along in the heart-in-your-throat, gut-wrenching story that was presented in the first book, but worried that it would never measure up. Well, the tally is in...and here's how it looks.

The cover art is beautiful, hands down. I would argue, though, whether or not it actually communicates anything about the plot of the story. The title is perfect for the overall tone of the book and carries over nicely from the ending of the first installment in this trilogy, reminding the reader with a simple word of all the emotions evoked by the Delirium experience.

Sometimes, as readers, we want the story to go the way we expect. Some of us even feel a need for the story to go that way, as if during the course of the book we've formed relationships with the characters and want to see them prosper, triumph, achieve a form of happiness no matter how dire the situation...etc. Other times, however, I find myself wishing that I hadn't come up with the ending, or at least, in this case, the next path that the author would take. I wanted Oliver to wow me with this book, to take her characters to a level I'd never imagined, to blow my mind as she did in the first book. Hell, I would've been okay with the extreme disappointment that I felt after reading Mockingjay (the last in trilogy of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins), just so that the experience would have been raw and new. I'm sorry to say that it didn't happen - no sorrow, no shock, not even disappointment. If I had to describe this book in one word, I would use predictable, and I'm so sad about that fact that I don't know if I'll read the third book. There's a large part of me that wishes that I'd stuck to the gut feeling that I should have stopped with book one. When I say I have a love-hate relationship with this guessed it. It's (very unfortunately) the plot that I "hate." Don't get me wrong, though...I enjoyed the read. I think my expectations were extraordinarily high because the first book moved me so much. I'm hoping that this book suffers from "middle book" syndrome, and that the last installment will wrap things up for me in a way that makes me fall in love with the story all over again.

Overall Readability
I've said it before and I'll say it again, Oliver is a master of words. Despite the predictability of plot, I loved the writing. It's truly beautiful. I wish it was enough to save the story. However, the book is written in a series of "then" and "now" chapters, and I wish it had just been written as a sequential series of events. The flashbacks made the story seem choppy, and since the first book wasn't written this way, it serves to further break apart the two instead of allowing them to flow nicely together.

If you read Delirium and loved it, you're going to be very tempted to read this book. At the end of the day, I know I'll read the entire trilogy, if not for any other reason but that I simply have to finish, to allow the author to play out the story and to give her one last chance to wow me again like she did in book one. That being said, my recommendation on this one will be "give it a chance," because there is still great potential in the trilogy as a whole.

If you do decide to read, be sure to pick up Hana - A Delirium Story and read that first. This is a super short, easy read written from Hana's (the main character's best friend) perspective. I mentioned before that Oliver has not just created a story but an entire world, and this novella only serves to expand that world for the reader. I love when authors do this, and I think you'll find that it will enrich the reading experience of this trilogy as a whole if you take part in this "bridge" story, too.
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