Book Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver


Synopsis: 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.

In this electrifying follow-up, Lena on a dangerous course that hurtles through the unregulated Wilds and into the heart of a growing resistance movement. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

Setting: Still in the United States, but Lena has now been invalidated. She spends some of her time at the “homestead” near Rochester, New Hampshire, and part of it in New York state.

Writing Style: This novel flips between “Now” where Lena is living in a city under a different name with forged papers and “Then” when she had first escaped into the Wilds, picking up shortly after the end of Delirium. I likely would have preferred the story to be told chronologically, but this does keep you guessing and anticipating. I will admit choosing to reveal things in this fashion keeps things interesting, suspenseful, and skipping past time in a way that a chronological telling could not as easily do.

Plot: The story line allows us to find out what Lena does after her daring escape, and how she manages to survive in the Wilds without Alex while also letting the reader see how Lena’s life has moved on –both from Portland and the Wilds. It certainly wasn’t quite as I expected it to be while reading the first book, but by keeping the reader guessing we keep reading.

Character Development: Lena changes a lot in this book. She first grieves for Alex, then starts learning the ways of the Wilds, and finally becomes part of the resistance. By the end of the book, Lena has changed again and again, before finally discovering not so much who she is but who she wants to be.

Relationship: Lena is thrown together with a new boy, Julian. Her feelings start to grow for him as Lena has accepted that Alex is no longer in her life. She tries to never think of Alex, which helps her move on, but I cannot say I like Julian as much as I do Alex. I hoped through the entire novel that Lena and Julian would just end up as friends, and that some miracle would take place to allow Alex to enter back into Lena’s life

Character: Raven is a girl from the wilds, leader of the pack. I like her because she gets things done and helped Lena when she needed it most. However, there are times when Raven makes a decision that Lena doesn’t agree with and, as we are reading through Lena’s perspective, the feelings transfer to us. Some instances I was still rather unforgiving of Raven even as Lena accepted how things are.

Quote:  Love, the deadliest of all deadly things. Love, it kills you. Both when you have it…and when you don’t.

Verdict: I enjoyed reading this book more than my reread of Delirium as it was full of twists and turns. I must admit, though, that I was a little disappointed when things didn’t turn out the way I had hoped they might. I am still looking forward to the final book as there was a rather unexpected event at the end that I cannot wait to see unravel. I still have the smallest bit of hope of everything ending the way I expected from the beginning of my reading this trilogy.


Author: JaimeKristal

JaimeKristal is a freelance editor and writer. She started her book review blog "Tales of a Booklover" for the enjoyment of sharing her love of reading, writing, and editing.

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