Google+ Reading Teen: Pandemonium (Delirium 2) by Lauren Oliver: Book Review

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pandemonium (Delirium 2) by Lauren Oliver: Book Review

Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (March 6, 2012)
Series: Delirium book #2
Buy the book: Amazon
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 actually read Delirium a year and a half ago (summer 2010), so I feel like I've been waiting FOREVER for Pandemonium.  So, as you can imagine, as soon as it showed it's lovely face at my door, I dropped everything and read it (Also, Kit, Amy and Abigaile would karate chop me if I didn't hurry up with it).

So, did it live up to my expectations?  Yes and no.  I think that I just loved Delirium SO MUCH that nothing would live up to it, but Pandemonium was still a fantastic book.  It was set up completely different than Delirium.  It didn't have the interesting quotes from The Book of Shhh at the beginning of the chapters.  This time, each section alternated between present and past.  The "Then" picks up where Delirium left off, and the "Now" is, I believe, about half a year later.  I really liked how this was done, as it made the story very interesting (I'll write more on this later, for those interested.)

Lena finds herself running for her life, without Alex, and without any idea where she's going, or how to survive.  She nearly dies before being rescued by a group of rebels, who help her not only physically, but also slap her out of her depression (more on this later, too).  They teach her how to survive in the Wild, and provide a new type of family that she is constantly trying to understand and become a part of.  This was an interesting group of people, hardened by their difficult life, but also loving and determined to change the world.  They are constantly close to death, never knowing if this will be their last meal, or if the government will come and eliminate them all.

Although Lena frustrated me immensely at the beginning of the "then" part, I really loved watching her grow and change and become someone who can and will fight for what she believes in.  I liked seeing the other characters, Raven, Blue, Tack, Hunter and others, but I never felt completely connected to them.  Raven was the most difficult to get a grasp on, as she was often on the verge of abusive, but then would do something very kind.  I'm hoping to learn more about her in the next book.

This was the part of the book that kept me reading into the late hours of the night.  Lena has survived the Wilds, and has been reintegrated into the population with a fake identity, and a mission: To take down the DFA (Deliria-Free America).  She infiltrates this group, and meets it's poster-boy, Julian, a boy whose physical condition may cause him to die if he has the procedure, but who elects to have it anyway, because death is better than being infected.  Julian and Lena end up thrown together in an intensely frightening situation, and learn that there's more to each other than they originally believed.

I NEVER thought I'd recover from what happened to Alex at the end of Delirium.  I never thought I'd want Lena to have another love interest.  BUT I WAS WRONG.  I couldn't help but fall in love with Julian.  It may have helped that it's been so long since I read Delirium, I don't know, but I just felt so much emotion towards Lena and Julian.  I wanted them to be together so badly!!!  What a complete and total emotional roller coaster, and talk about romantic tension!  WOW!

Other than the romance, there is also a fantastic storyline, filled with lots of mystery, and plot twists.  The action in this book is much more intense than in Delirium, and I loved reading this kick-butt version of Lena.  I also really liked getting to "see" so much more of the world that Lena is living, not just the town that she'd lived in.

I'm so excited to see where Lauren takes this book in the future.  The end of Pandemonium is a complete and total cliffhanger, which I figured it would be, and just makes me crazy to know where it will go from here, and how I'll feel about it.  I'll leave you with some advice:  Go into this book with an open mind about Julian, and about the style.  Don't expect the same type of story as Delirium, though Oliver's unique and beautiful prose is still very present.  I think some will love Pandemonium more than Delirium, and some will like it less, but most will agree that it's a fantastic sequel!

*Hands book to Amy* Look for her review soon!

Book Dopplegangers:  Matched/Crossed by Ally Condie, Wither by Lauren DeStephano

  • Sexual Content: Mild/Moderate (tension/romance)
  • Profanity:  Heavy
  • Violence:  Heavy
  • Other Notables:  Some drinking for medicinal purposes
For more details, check out Pandemonium on Parental Book Reviews.

For those who want more discussion:
(may contain slight spoilers)

I really loved the book, but I had a few frustrations as well:

At the beginning of the book, I have to admit, Lena really frustrated me, both in the past and the present.  After she escaped into the Wilds, she was so distraught and New-Moon-Bella-esque that I found myself put off by her.  I know that she was so completely devastated by Alex's death, but she got to the point of barely functioning, and turning her back on life and people all together.  Then the only way that she could make herself get through the day was by pushing herself to the breaking point, where she would see hallucinations of Alex (talk about a Bella moment).  I feel like she could have been heartbroken and devastated without being so completely lost and dependent. She doesn't seem to really move on until she finds Julian, which makes it seem like she can only have a happy life if she has a boy.

About the Now and Then:  I did like it, but at the same time, I found myself getting frustrated with the flashbacks to the past and just wanted to stick with the present.  Especially toward the middle of the book.  Things would get so intense in the present, then the section would end, and I'd have to go through a section of the past before being able to get back to what I really wanted to read.  I wish it was just set up chronologically, and then I wouldn't be so preoccupied by what was happening with Lena and Julian, and I'd care more about what was happening with Raven's group.  It was hard to be invested in that part of the story when you already knew Lena, Raven and Tack were all still alive and well in the "Now."  

Although I did have these frustrations, overall I still really loved the book, and the ending especially was filled with so much action, emotion, and intensity that my heart was racing!  I can't wait for the next book!


  1. Oh, my goodness. I feel strangely betrayed. My hopes were up sky high that Alex would return in this novel, but I guess he doesn't. I swear, I'm going to cry a river while reading this! WHO IS JULIAN? WHY ARE YOU REPLACING ALEX? I guess Alex didn't make it... *sobs*. I'm sorry you didn't quite enjoy it as much as Delirium. Thanks for the review!

  2. WAIT............NO ALEX???? **cant fathom this...he is what I loved so much about Delirium I am not sure if I can take a book with someone else. Great review by the way..has me wanting even more to get my hands on it..tho sometimes skipping around gets a bit confusing to me LOL

  3. I can't believe it. One of the reason I can't wait for pandemonium is Alex. I really want to know more about what happen to Alex, so it's so hard to think there would be no Alex in Pandemonium.
    Thanks for the review !!!

  4. Wait. Absolutely NO ALEX? That's absurd!

    Hah. Anyway, I love the concept of the NOW and THEN - I'm sure that's going to keep me guessing and wondering right up to the end, and thereafter. I'll be receiving a finished copy closer to the release date (thanks to publishers :]), which leaves me heaps of time to re-read DELIRIUM. I'm a bit scared that I won't love it as much as I did the first time around, but fingers crossed.

    And boo for more cliffhangers!

  5. I'm so sad about Alex, but like you I can't wait to see what happens. Thanks for the heads up, I'll still be ordering Pandemonium.

  6. I only skimmed your review and checked out your rating because I haven't read Delirium and I have Pandemonium waiting for me on my bookshelf as well. But I'm glad you liked it! Makes me even more excited to get to it!

    Magical Urban Fantasy Reads

  7. NO ALEX!! WHAT?? Is this book available to the public yet? Or did you just get an advanced copy. Even without Alec I still have to know what happens!

  8. Okay, I didn't realize Alex would be replaced. This is a little angering, but I'm glad to hear you clicked with him. Even MORE curious to read it now!

  9. This series looks really good. For some reason I've procrastinated on it, but I'll have to pick up Delirium soon!

  10. Guys, just give Julian a chance....that's all I'm gonna say! :D hehe

    Alyssa, I got an advanced copy. It'll be available in March!

  11. I NEED to read it NOW !!!!!!!!!

  12. I definitely think it's worth the wait! It's a little difficult to get used to the new flow and tone of the story, but once it got going I was in love all over again..


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