HarperCollins 2012, 384 pgs
Book Summary from Goodreads
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.
Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.
The official summary doesn’t say much so it’s difficult to summarize or review for fear of spoiling something. If you read Delirium, loved it and are planning to read it don’t read the review. My target audience for this review are those who, like me, enjoyed Delirium, but didn’t LOVE it. The story is told in “Then” and “Now” chapters. In the “Then” chapters we see Lena in the Wilds right after her escape. She meets several new people who help her adjust to the more challenging life outside the city. I enjoyed these flashes of Lena getting stronger and being challenged. In the “Now” chapters, Lena is undercover inNew York Cityvery similar to Alex being undercover inPortlandin the previous book. She has the scars the “prove” she’s cured of “deliria nervosa”. Part of her cover involves being involved in a group called the DFA that advocates giving the cure even earlier than 18 even though it’s dangerous. There’s another group called the Scavengers. The Scavengers are also uncured, but they don’t have a purpose other than destruction. Since to the people inside the city don’t differentiate between the Invalids like Lena and the Scavengers, the Invalid’s goal of taking down the city walls and eliminating the cure much more difficult. Okay second warning – SPOILERS coming
I really liked Lena’s love interest in the previous book, even though I didn’t connect with them as much as many other readers did. I really enjoyed not being subjected to a love triangle in the first book, but alas it is not possible in Young Adult novels for the female main character to only have one. In Pandemonium, Lena believes Alex is dead, so when she meets Julian, the good looking poster boy for the DFA and hates him, anyone reading the book knows he’s going to be her new love interest. I really didn’t find them as a romantic relationship believable or interesting. Pandemonium has several fight scenes and in EVERY. SINGLE. ONE of them Lena is about to die, has given up, and is saved at the last min, and someone who shows up at the perfect moment. I found this plot device annoying the first time it happened so it just continued to get to me as the book went on. The concept of these books has so much potential that I was really disappointed that the author resorted to such clichéd devices. Basically I enjoyed reading Pandemonium, but it didn’t WOW me or add anything that hadn’t been explored in the first book.
6 out of 10 stars