Originally published at Winged Reviews
Even after the intense ending of Delirium, Lauren Oliver exceeded my expectations with this book and more. Word circulated that Pandemonium was a lot better than Delirium and I agree wholeheartedly. Not only is it filled with gritty action and true emotion, it also introduced a boy that I love a whole lot better.
Pandemonium starts a while after Delirium, but also immediately after. It’s told from Lena’s ‘Now’ and ‘Then’ point of views, the ‘Now’ being the current timeline and the ‘Then’ flashing right back to the events after Delirium and Lena’s start in the Wilds. Lena is now part of the resistance in New York City, with a fake identity as an active member of Deliria-Free America (DFA) in order to bring the organisation down from the inside and to keep an eye on its poster boy, Julian Fineman.
I fell in love with Oliver’s writing once again, especially when she describes Lena’s sorrow. The ‘Then’ point of view was so heart-breaking. Lena struggled with survival, fitting in, adjusting to life now that her whole world and beliefs had been cast aside. She was also wracked with guilt, believing that she was responsible for Alex’s death.
As much as I enjoyed the beauty in her sorrow though, it was the ‘Now’ timeline that I raced through the book for. From Lena attending her first DFA meeting and throughout Lena and Alex’s imprisonment and escape, everything that happened was heart-poundingly exciting. When the book built up to the amazing climax, it really was impossible to put down. My heartbeat was racing, my palms were sweaty and I certainly felt like I was up against my own clock. My mind was screaming at Lena, as I wanted her to pull of her greatest feat yet.
I really admired Lena throughout Pandemonium, as she really came full-circle. From someone who was shown and taught throughout the majority of the story thus far, she has turned from being saved to becoming a saviour. I love the parallels between what Alex did for Lena in Delirium and what Lena did for Julian. I respected her so much for sticking to her conviction, for pulling off some amazing escapes, and also (in the immortal words of Demi Lovato) for giving her heart a break. Her emotions were killing her and I was so glad to see her slowly forgiving herself.
My absolute favourite thing about the book though was Lena and Julian’s chemistry and slow acceptance of each other. Julian really surprised me a lot as a character. I genuinely thought that his imprisonment with Lena was some sort of ruse by the DFA to get one up on the resistance (boy was I wrong about whose ruse it turned out to be). His quiet determination and innocence was very attractive. It was great to see his character develop as everything he knew to be true fell apart. He struggled a lot with the idea of Lena, and I thought he showed great bravery accepting everything that was thrown his way. I was really happy when Lena finally gave in to Julian’s love.
Best of all, WHAT AN ENDING. Oliver is again the master of the cliffhanger and has killed me dead. All in all, I loved this book so much for two reasons: a more kick-ass Lena and a much better male protagonist in Julian. Bring on Requiem!