Pandemonium, by Lauren Oliver (HarperTeen, 2012)

I blame The Hunger Games for my heartbreaking relationship with trilogies. I read the whole trilogy last summer. Yes, I jumped on the bandwagon a year after Mockingjay hit shelves, but it was to my benefit because I devoured all three books in a week. No cliffhangers to keep me waiting for a year.

Enter Lauren Oliver and the Delirium trilogy. SPOILER ALERT. Do not read any further if you have not read Delirium. I will do my best to keep this spoiler free for Pandemonium, but since this is book two, I will assume that if you are continuing to read this post that you have read Delirium (book #1) and will not berate me for ruining it for you.

There we go. Disclaimer stated. Butt covered. Now we can discuss the pain of having to wait another year to see how it all ends!

I sobbed at the end of Oliver’s beautifully written Delirium. I fell in love with Alex along with Lena and then again when he sacrificed himself for her freedom. A world without love is painful, but is the alternative better–freedom to love but also to lose? Absolutely, and this is what Lena has to learn throughout Pandemonium.

I enjoyed the pacing of book two. Oliver alternates between different periods in Lena’s life as an invalid. The Then chapters chronicle her experience of making it over the fence and into the wilds while the Now chapters follow her in her attempt to become part of the resistance. Even in freedom, there is still a price to pay; there are still losses to bear. Lena often shows regret for her decision to run to the wilds. After all, she’s only seen pain and loss since making it to freedom, but Oliver’s build-up to a fabulous cliffhanger continually uncovers the hidden ugliness in a world without passion. Parents have obligations to their children but do not love them or mourn their deaths. Husband and wife kiss for the first time at their wedding, the  one time it is legal to kiss in public. Attraction is a non issue, though, once you are cured, so there is no danger of illegal PDA. Every time Lena comes face-to-face with the truth behind a deliria free world, she becomes stronger in her resolve. She becomes stronger physically. She becomes strong enough to open her heart again to the possibility of love even if it means the possibility of loss.

There. Spoiler free. If you loved Delirium and the beauty of Oliver’s writing, she offers nothing less in Pandemonium. This time there is more action, more twists, and GAH! An ending that will drive you crazy for a year! In a good way…really. Much to discuss if you’ve read, but please no spoilers in comments!

Currently reading The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen, which shows I’ve learned nothing because this book (fantastic so far) is, you guessed it, #1 in a BRAND NEW trilogy.

 

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