Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
*** This review contains spoilers if you haven’t yet read Delirium ***
Synopsis (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.
What I thought
Pandemonium switches back and forth between Lena’s story “THEN” and “NOW.” “THEN” starts from where Delirium leaves off. Lena has just escaped to the Wilds, while, sadly, Alex didn’t make it. She is alone, scared and unprepared to live in the Wilds. “NOW” is the new Lena. She has survived the Wilds with the help of group of other ‘invalids’ and has become an active member of the resistance. I listened to this book as an audio download and the switching back and forth at times could be confusing. I have a feeling that if I had been reading the book instead of listening to it, these changes would have been easier to follow. That said I really did liked the way Oliver used this back and forth technique to tell her story. We were able to see a new confident Lena in her role as an operative for the resistance, while, at the same time, see the journey she took to get there. We saw Lena grieve after losing Alex, falling into despair and then growing stronger and remaking herself into someone new, someone who could face her new reality.
I really liked the “new” Lena. She is spunky, take charge and no nonsense, and I like that. Her eyes have been opened to who the enemy really is and she is fully engaged in the resistance. The new Lena doesn’t need a guy to protect her. This new Lena can take care of business on her own and she does.
Serving as an operative for the resistance, Lena is living ‘under cover’ in New York and attending DFA (Deliria Free America) meetings and keeping an eye on the DFA Leader’s son, Julian Fineman. Lena and Julian find themselves kidnapped and must work together to escape. This is where the new Lena really comes into her own as the hero and takes charge of the situation for herself as well as Julian. I like Julian, but he is no Alex. He is broken, confused and scared after having been a kind of poster boy for the DFA for years. He really doesn’t seem to be a match for this new Lena.
I won’t say anymore, because I don’t want to give anything away. As always, Oliver’s writing is wonderful. This book takes on twists and turns. Although I will say there were some predictable bits as well that I wish weren’t as transparent as they were. We will see where the final book in the trilogy, Requiem, ends up.