Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium (Lauren Oliver)

by Lauren Oliver
Delirium #2
Publication date: 28 Feb 2012
HarperTeen, Hardcover, 375 pages
Source: Library

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“So what was your name before?” I say, and she freezes, her back to me. “Before you came to the Wilds, I mean.”

For a moment she stands there.

Then she turns around.

“You might as well get used to it now,” she says with quite intensity.

“Everything you were, the life you had, the people you knew… dust.”

She shakes her head and says, a little more firmly, “There is no before. There is only now, and what comes next.”

After falling in love, Lena and Alex flee their oppressive society where love is outlawed and everyone must receive the “cure” – an operation that makes them immune to the delirium of love – but Lena alone manages to find her way to a community of resistance fighters. Although she is bereft without the boy she loves, her struggles seem to be leading her toward a new love.

Rating: ★★★½

Dee here. This is the continuation from my previous post, the review for Lauren Oliver’s Delirium (Book #1 in the Delirium trilogy).

Yes, on to Pandemonium now. I was half-disappointed, half-pleased and impressed. Not because the book was entirely bad, but the cons just seemed to be playing tug-of-war with the pros.

Firstly, I liked – no- loved the structure of the novel, it was fresh, something authors don’t really dare to experiment with, lest they reveal too much about how the story would end up, and the plot too easily given away. Lauren Oliver definitely gave more thought to the structure of the novel than just the plain dose of uniqueness – rather, her choice of presenting the chapters was fascinating and fresh, and the deeper I ventured into the novel, the more the pieces of the puzzle clicked into place – the more I understood about Lena.

You see, Lauren Oliver’s chapter arrangement indirectly translates to Lena’s journey without her (and our) beloved Alex. We see a sharp contrast between the “old” Lena Haloway and the “new” Lena Haloway in the first two chapters, and we wonder “what on earth is going on? ” (Neat trick you got there, Lauren Oliver, I applaud you for that!) She uses the structure to play with the reader’s emotions, to “manipulate” our thoughts (in a good way, of course) and to make us think. The overlapping chapters give insight to Lena herself – the shuffling, structure of the book represents her as a lost, broken individual, seeking to find refuge in a place which she can hardly come home (the Wilds), without anyone to guide her. Her future – fragmented, her path – fragmented, her heart – fragmented.

Just like the chapters – fragmented.

Anyway, the story begins where Delirium stops – her journey without Alex. Then Julian comes into the picture a little too sooner than I had hoped. Julian is a good guy, no doubt about that, but he’s a little too polished for Lena – in fact, he was EXACTLY like Lena before she met Alex. Now in Pandemonium, Lena’s is taking Alex’s role and introducing Julian to the world of the Invalids and Uncureds. It’s all too similar for my liking. And I believe that Lena needs someone more roughened at the edges, someone to lead her into the relationship, not for her to be the person leading another into one. (It’s just Alex. I’m just being incredibly biased LOL.) It’s just odd. Lena – the shy, dependent girl – taking the first step in a relationship? Not quite what I had in mind.

The romance that sparks between Julian and Lena is more of an obligation than a relationship. Two people, thrown into a secret world under chaos and politics, eventually fall in love after facing a common enemy and overcoming adversity together. Hands up, who thinks this is not clichéd? This kind of romance would certainly work for some novels, but not Delirium/Pandemonium. I mean, who needs a Julian when you got an Alex? AND LENA, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU AND ALEX?

It’s a forced relationship, I’d say. It feels so pseudo-genuine, so infatuation-like. Nothing as deep as what was established by Alex and Lena together, especially since it was Alex who helped Lena find out more about her mother, and hence a deeper level of understanding and maturity in their relationship. I think it’s unfair to dedicate so much time with Julian, for Lena. Because you’d be forcing a wedge between Alex and Lena, and its darn obvious who Lena would end up with. Its sadistic to even have to make her choose.

And let’s just admit it. Julian and Lena are not meant to be together. Too many awkward moments. I’ll take Alex. Why use Julian as Lena’s rebound? Her heart still goes out to Alex, right? I pity Julian.

So there we have it. Two books, one ‘dedicated’ to exploring Lena’s relationship with each guy she chances upon. Sounds a bit desperate, doesn’t she? Who’ll be the next Tom/Dick/Harry she falls in love with next?

I’ll just say: I hope that Requiem would be a book good enough to redeem the flaws of Delirium and Pandemonium. I’ll be waiting – expectantly. (Anyway, Requiem‘s gonna be out this year!)



2 thoughts on “Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

  1. Pingback: Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver | A Page of Heaven

  2. Pingback: Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver | A Page of Heaven


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