07 June 2012

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

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.

Pandemonium was a great follow-up to its prequel, Delirium.  If you enjoyed the first book, you'll definitely like the second one.  I thought Lauren Oliver did an excellent job continuing with the story, with her signature elegant writing style and thought-provoking themes.  Her characters were excellent, the world was fleshed out and realistic.  Overall, a great read.

The thing, I think, that makes Lauren Oliver so successful is that she has this ability to suck you in before you realize what's happening.  I'm still on the fence about so many things concerning her books and writing, but I can't fault her for her ability to tell a good story.

The main thing that I'm still flitting between is whether or not I like the main character, Lena.  There's nothing that I can pinpoint exactly, though maybe it could be the fact she's so driven by romance.  She has depth and humor and goals.  There's nothing that makes me instantly dislike her.

I thought the plot was excellent.  The way Lauren Oliver switched back and forth between Lena in the present and Lena in the past (though after the first book) was brilliantly done.  Constantly moving back and forth between two very different stages in a character's development and making it convincing takes skill.  Much like her work in Before I Fall, where she took such an unpleasant main character and turned her into a hero, she showed the progression (and sometimes regression) in Lena's character almost flawlessly.

The writing was wonderful, as I've come to expect with Lauren Oliver.  I particularly enjoyed the opening segment, where Lena is running through the forest immediately after escaping her home city (picking up right where Delirium left off) and how there is an allusion to a phoenix, and rebirth.  These small, compacted themes were littered throughout the story and added great depth and complexity to it.  Marvelous.

(For those of you who have read it already, was the ending not CRAZY?  In a way, I expected it, just not so suddenly.  I cannot believe Lauren Oliver had the nerve to end it like that!)

I can't wait for the sequel, plainly said.  This installation was awesome.

Once I saw a photo of Times Square: before the cure, before all the borders were closed off.  Tack found it near Salvage, a homestead in New Jersey, just across the river from New York.  We took refuge there while we were waiting for our forged papers to arrive.  One day Tack found a whole photo album, perfectly intact, buried under a pile of limestone and charred timber.  In the evenings, I would flip through it and pretend that these photographs -- this life of friends and boyfriends and squinting, laughing sunshine shots -- were mine. (p. 105)
Book Info:

  • pages - hardcover, 375
  • published - February 2012
  • publisher - HarperTeen
  • genre - dystopian
  • received via - Amazon :)
  • rating - 5/5
  • series - Delirium
    • Delirium
    • Hana (novella)
    • Pandemonium
    • Requiem (coming 2013)