Monday, December 3, 2012

Review: 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.

You know, maybe the Delirium trilogy and I got off on the wrong foot.

Part of it, I believe, was overexposure. It came out just as the dystopian craze was hitting, and unfortunately, I had already read quite a few bad examples of the genre. By the time I thought about reading Delirium, quite a few bad reviews had come out, considerably hindering my interest. In addition to all that, I gave up on the book twice from sheer boredom before exam madness made me sit down and read it from cover to cover.

I had problems with it. I think I still do, though perhaps to a lesser extent now that I have read the sequel (again, because everyone I knew was squealing over how amazing it was).

Pandemonium, my friends, is the anti-sequel-syndrome book. Where Delirium had a slow-moving plot and almost complete lack of tension, Pandemonium moves at a break-neck pace, without sacrificing any of the introspection and character development. It not only introduces a whole new cast of characters, it also gives them dimension and heart. By the end of the book, you will not only be engaged in the story, but you would have also fallen in love with the characters.

But that’s not all: in addition to being a kick-ass book all on its own, Pandemonium also serves as a compliment to Delirium. One of my biggest complaints about Delirium has been that the world was not sufficiently developed, but I can see now that it was partially because of Lena.

See, Lena, our point-of-view character, started off in Delirium as a sheltered girl, terrified of everything and desperate to conform. Her inability to see the world as it was, to understand it’s flaws, to think critically instead of passively accepting what she’s being told, it’s a part of her character, and therefore, we see the world as she sees it. In Pandemonium, however, she learns more about the way things are run, she becomes a fighter, and I can see now that, while Delirium was an imperfect first book, it was necessary, because without the events from the first book Lena would have never become the badass she was in this book.

Also: Evil cliffie is evil.

That is all.

Note: Image and synopsis via Goodreads.

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