Sunday, July 14, 2013

Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Pandemonium (Delirium #2)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: February 28th 2012
Pages: 375
Genre: Young Adult dystopian
Source: Bought
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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.
In this electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium, Lauren Oliver sets Lena on a dangerous course that hurtles her through the unregulated Wilds and into the heart of a growing resistance movement. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I love Lauren Oliver and I loved Delirium, so of course I was beyond excited to read Pandemonium. (Don't ask why it took me so long to get to this, then. Blame... life.) And while Pandemonium is different from Delirium in a lot of ways, I really enjoyed this one, too!

I just reread my review of Delirium, and I talked about how much I loved the slower pacing of the first novel in this series. In some ways, Delirium feels more like a contemporary than a dystopian - which I, as someone who reads contemporary almost exclusively, really appreciated. Taking that into consideration, I should have enjoyed Pandemonium a lot less than Delirium - the pace is a lot faster with a lot more action, and it reads more like a "typical" dystopian novel. I liked it like that, too, though - it felt like a natural transition of the series. So while I enjoyed both novels, I liked them in really different ways.

What hasn't changed in Lauren Oliver's books, though, is her beautiful writing. I don't even know how to describe it. Her writing works well with the slower pace and emotionally-heavy scenes in Before I Fall and Delirium, but it doesn't fall short in the action-packed in Pandemonium, either. The pacing is great, and Lauren Oliver's writing kept me on my toes throughout the novel. 

One thing I'm still not sure about is the format. Pandemonium uses alternating chapters, switching back and forth between two times in Lena's life, the Then and the Now. I get that this is used to heighten suspense, and it works - I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what happens in both storylines, especially because the chapters tend to end on cliffhangers. But I still don't think that was necessary. It's confusing at first, and later on, I thought it was kind of strange that there is still a part missing between the end of the Then and the beginning of the Now. I also found it strange to write one book in the series in this format without the others ones using a similar one.

I don't want to give anything away, but I was a little disappointed by the ending. I saw it coming from the very start, and I kept hoping Lauren Oliver would have thought of something less predictable, a more original way to hook readers at the end, but alas.

Despite those smaller issues, I really enjoyed Pandemonium. It's a lot faster-paced than Delirium, which I'm sure worked better for a lot of readers than the slower pace of Delirium. I didn't love Pandemonium quite as much as Delirium, but it was still a great read! Now I just need to get around to reading Requiem...


  1. I really liked this novel, and though I did see the ending coming, I still screamed! I totally get what you mean, Hannah, when you talk about life getting in the way of reading the books you REALLY want to read. I have Requiem sitting on my shelf and I still haven't picked it up! I hope to soon though! Glad you liked this one, despite some things, and I hope you love Requiem. :) Lovely review, Hannah!

  2. People seem to have really mixed reactions to Requiem so I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

  3. Love this series, but the ending, oh the ending. It wrenched my heart away. I saw it coming, but what I most anticipate is how is that crazy love triangle going to work out? Julian is so naive and pure and he is symbolized like a lost puppy, and the reader wants to feel bad for him, but Alex was the one who introduced love to Lena in the first place. I don't know what Alex is going to do, and if he forgives Lena, will Lena go back to him or feel ashamed?

  4. I strongly agree about the ending. After reading the final page I thought there had to be more, some kind if twist, because I already knew that was going to happen and was left feeling dramatically underwhelmed. The conclusion was my problem with Requiem as well, as I didn't find it to be powerful enough, but Lauren Oliver's gorgeous writing really does make it much better. Her lines beg to be read aloud, their echoing beauty broadcasted throughout the room, which is the perfect kind of prose.


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