Monday, February 27, 2012

PANDEMONIUM by Lauren Oliver

Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Number of Pages: 375
Source of Book: ARC from NCTE Convention
Author's Website:

Lauren Oliver captivated readers with DELIRIUM, the first book in a thrilling dystopian trilogy in which Lena Haloway dared to fall in love with Alex and escape the cure, the government-mandated procedure that renders a person immune to the disease of love. Lena and Alex staked their lives on leaving their oppressive society, but only Lena broke free.

PANDEMONIUM continues Lena’s gripping story. After escaping from Portland, Maine, Lena makes it to the Wilds and becomes part of an Invalid community, where she transforms herself into a warrior for the resistance. A future without Alex is unimaginable, but Lena pushes forward and fights, both for him and for a world in which love is no longer considered a disease. Swept up in a volatile mix of revolutionaries and counterinsurgents, Lena struggles to survive—and wonders if she may be falling in love again.

Full of danger, forbidden romance, and exquisite writing, Lauren Oliver’s sequel to Delirium races forward at a breathtaking pace and is sure to appeal to fans who crave the high-stakes action of THE HUNGER GAMES and the bittersweet love story of ROMEO AND JULIET.
This was one of the books that I was most searching for an ARC of at the NCTE Convention, and as soon as I heard they were out, I went directly to the Harper booth to snag one. I adore Lauren Oliver, she is a fantastic literary author, I've loved both BEFORE I FALL and DELIRIUM, and so kind and generous in person. I was lucky enough to be able to interview her back in October when she was in the Milwaukee area for LIESL & PO (check it out if you missed it) and have become even more of a fan since then. So, needless to say, I dove into this book right away and I wasn't disappointed, but it also wasn't exactly what I was expecting.

Overall, I really liked how Lauren chose to tell this story. It alternates between right after DELIRIUM ended and six months later. Through the alternating flashback/flashforward structure, the reader slowly learns about what happened to Lena and what she has had to go through to process all that she has learned and all that happened and how she has ended up where she is. Lena learns a whole new lifestyle after she escapes in the first book, and she has new experiences with new people. All of this is done within the context of her basically being new to this whole world of love being an okay emotion to feel, and that contextualizes everything she experiences.

Although I liked how the book was written, I wasn't as in love with this one as I was the first because it didn't go where I was necessarily hoping/expecting it to go. Without giving too much away, I was worried this book would veer into a certain direction, and it unfortunately does a little bit. Basically, I just feel that Lauren is such a strong writer that I didn't feel it needed this element and I didn't totally connect with it (and that's all I'll say because I don't want to get too spoilery), but, of course, I'm not a writing these characters, so I don't really know exactly what Lena needed in this story.

Ultimately, though, it's about Lena having to discover her own strength of character and courage, and figuring out what she wants for herself now that she knows what is really going on in her world. It's a bit of a quieter book than the first one, but definitely feels like it's setting up for an explosive finale. Warning: The ending is shocking. Not wholly unexpected, but still a little shocking, and will leave you clamoring for the final installment in this trilogy. It's going to be a long wait for REQUIEM next February!


  1. Great review! I'm actually quite looking forward to reading this even though I wasn't a big fan of Delirium...

  2. Yaaaay! Actually didn't read this review... I'm almost finished with the Delirium audio book and Pandemonium is on its way in the mail! After that, I'll be back to read your review. But I'm super excited that it ends with "Highly Recommend!"

  3. I wasn't sure where this review was going to end up (no paragraph that starts with "although I liked. . ." ends well), but I'm glad to see it "Highly Recommended." I know my students and I are excited for this one tomorrow! We need something to hold us over until Insurgent, after all. . .