Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver


by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #2
Publication Date: 28 February 2012
HarperTeen, Hardcover, 375 pages
Source: Library

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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.

Rating: ★★★½

This is my second time reading Pandemonium – the first time I did, which was early last year, I just couldn’t get past the halfway-mark of the book. However, I recently felt this sudden urge to re-read the book, and I did manage to finish it successfully this time round. So here I am, writing my review of Pandemonium!

First off, I liked the way that the chapters were structured: they were all written from Lena’s point of view, except from ‘then’ and ‘now’. The different time frames that were used to tell the story was a little confusing initially, but it got better as the story developed. This structure blended well to show the contrast and changes in Lena’s character.

The story is centered mainly on Lena and Julian, and how Lena grows from a girl who’s both physically and emotionally weak and broken, to one that’s cold, hard and fearless. Personally, I’m glad that Lena is strong enough to be able to pick herself up and move on from Alex’s death. She was even able to fall in love again, though it seemed rather… hesitant? Reluctant? I suppose I can understand her fear of falling in love again – she had lost the people she loved as she chose to escape to the Wilds, and most importantly, she lost Alex.

I didn’t have much feelings towards Julian – he seemed pretty average to me. He was rather uptight, though, and he’s clearly brainwashed in wanting the procedure to prevent deliria. After all, his father is the head of the DFA.

As for the relationship between Lena and Julian… Well, I never understood it. Julian was like Lena’s rebound, in my opinion. It felt odd that by the end of Pandemonium, Lena was ready to love all over again. Julian was new to the whole concept of experiencing love… it just didn’t seem to fit. And like what many of my friends have commented, I agree that it’s like Lena is leading the relationship with Julian. I guess this mirrors what Alex had done in Delirium, with introducing someone, in this case Lena, who’s pro-procedure to the Wilds and love. I also knew that Alex would always be in Lena’s heart, even though she appears to have fully gotten over him towards the end of Pandemonium. I understood her confusion and her feeling lost between wanting to remain faithful to Alex even though he was dead, and wanting to fall in love with Julian. Here’s a quote from the book to show her emotions:

I squeeze my eyes shut, willing away the thought. But with my eyes closed, Julian and Alex melt together. Their faces merge and then separate, then collapse again, like images reflected in a stream, passing over each other until I am no longer sure which of them I am reaching for – in the dark, in my head.

As for Lena’s mother… yes, she did find her mom in Pandemonium, but didn’t realize it until the end. I do hope that there’ll be more of Lena and her mom in Requiem! It would be nice to see the both of them reunited.

So… That’s about all I have for my review on Pandemonium. I’m looking forward to reading Requiem, especially after Alex’s appearance! (Although I already know how Requiem‘s going to end – I gave myself tons spoilers for this trilogy.)

Yours truly



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