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Book Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Pub. Date: 28th February 2012 (US) 1st March 2012 (UK)
Publisher: HarperCollins (US) Hodder & Stoughton (UK)
Series: Delirium (#2)
Readership: Young adult
Genres: Dystopia, post-apocalyptic
Event: Dystopian February
Rating: ★★★
Buy: Paperback
More: Goodreads

Pandemonium is the second book in the Delirium trilogy, so I advise you not to keep reading this review if you’ve not read the first book.

Delirium was one of my favourite books of 2011 and I raved about it all year. I decided to re-read it in December and loved it just as much. Now, finally, Pandemonium is here.

At the end of Delirium, Lena manages to escape to the Wilds leaving Alex behind, presumably dead. In Pandemonium, Lena’s narrative switches between “now” and “then”. In the past, the story continues directly after the escape. We find out how Lena was saved by Raven and a group of Invalids in Rochester. The present is two years on and Lena is in New York City and a covert member of the resistance. She is once again left to her own devices when a government meeting is intercepted and she’s captured by an antagonist group of Invalids – Scavengers. It is here where Lena meets Julian and is forced to choose between grieving for Alex forever or moving on with her life.

Pandemonium is less dystopian romance and more traditional dystopia/survival story. We follow Lena through two years of her life as she discovers the truth about Invalids and struggles to survive without the comforts of abundant food, water and warmth. We’re introduced to a (mostly) friendly bunch of Invalids – Raven, Hunter, Sarah, Blue, Tack and others, and we hear astonishing, poignant stories of how they ended up living together.

Lena grows throughout the book. I enjoyed discovering more about her personality as she becomes more self-aware and adept. Lena becomes a strong character who can not only get herself out of a dangerous situation, but does it with style. Pandemonium is grittier and more horrifying than Delirium was because Lena is no longer naive. I liked that there is a stronger sense of resistance in this novel. It’s common for there to be talk of wanting to take down those in charge and change the laws in YA dystopian novels, but in Pandemonium there is action and the group certainly get stuff done. I also welcomed the inclusion of Julian, who I judged right from the start but it turned out I underestimated him, and the comfort he provides Lena.

I have to be honest and say that there was one main problem that I had with the book. Pandemonium suffers slightly from ‘middle book syndrome’. Although in most cases it can hold its own -  it’s a wonderfully dramatic, moving story – there were two particular events that felt like they were included purely as a set-up for the third book, even though could have been addressed now, and I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed the book more than Delirium.

Pandemonium is a solid sequel that’s full of suspenseful and heart-wrenching twists, with an epic ending that will guarantee that readers will be desperate to pick up the third and final book, Requiem. Pandemonium will be released 1st March in the UK and 6th March in the US.

Thank you Hodder for providing this book to review!

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2 comments on “Book Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

  1. Great review! I can’t wait to read this

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