Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
Date of Publication: February 2012

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.

I have been really thinking about this one for a while.  Once I was finished listening to it, I was having a hard time deciding whether or not I liked it.  I really enjoyed Delirium and was anxious to see what was going to come next for Lena.  Given the cliffhanger that Delirium ended with, I was hoping for some resolution.  I will say that it is there, sort of, and you have to wait until the very end of Pandemonium to get it.  That was a bit frustrating and as it also makes another HUGE cliffhanger, I was not too happy.

I did like the way Pandemonium was written. It was beautifully and very well written. The story is told in alternating segments of "Then", when Lena first enters the Wilds, and "Now" as Lena has become part of the resistance.  The characters that Lena meets on the other side are interesting.  Raven almost turns out to be a sort of mother figure for Lena, even though they are close in age.  The struggle to survive in the wilds is hard and dangerous, but for all of them, it seems to be a valid price to pay for freedom. The "Then" segments are very well written and are heart wrenching at times.  I really felt for Lena as she comes to terms with Alex's probable death and how she comes back to life herself.  In the "Now" segments, she is much more mature and aware of herself and the realities of what is really happening behind the scenes. 

What I didn't care for was the "romance" of Lena and Julian.  It felt forced to me.  With Alex,  in the first book, I really believed the love that they felt for each other as it happens gradually over time.  With Julian, it was just too fast.  Like the author had to make a love triangle, so she threw in another guy just make the conflict.  I think the whole scenario with Julian would have worked fine if they had just become friends.  But, then what would a YA book be without romantic conflict, right?

Pandemonium does answer a lot of questions and shows more secrets about the underworld and the society in which Lena has escaped.  There are also some twists in the end that definitely shocked me.  In the end, I will say I enjoyed the book.  I do look forward to Requiem.  It's going to be a long year to have to wait.  All I can hope for is a solid ending that wraps up a lot of unanswered questions.


Anonymous said...

I'm reading Pandemonium right now and I like it, but not LOVING it. It doesn't live up to Delirium to me. It doesn't.:(

Kari Boardman said...

That was kind of how I felt too. Hopefully the last one will make up for it.

Precious said...

I'm going to read Pandemonium next! My friends are arguing about this. Team Julian vs. Team Alex. I'm eager to meet this other guy and see how the romance formed. I'm also kinda scared because I heard the ending was killer! Great honest review!

Kari Boardman said...

I'm still team Alex. :)