Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (ARC) - WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoiled for you.
Love, the deadliest of all deadly things.
It kills you when you have it.
And when you don't.
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.
Pandemonium is a poignant, explosive, recklessly romantic and utterly heartbreaking novel. Like Delirium, the first in the compelling trilogy, it will take you to the very edge. That's all you need to know. We'll let Lena do the rest of the talking... From official blurb
As I write this review, I have literally just finished reading Pandemonium and I am completely reeling! It's incredible!
When I received my ARC for review, I didn't start reading immediately. I loved Delirium so much, I was worried about Pandemonium; what if it didn't match up? What if I didn't like it? Eventually, the other part of me demanding to know what happened next got too loud to ignore, so I picked it up, and... I don't really know what to say other than wow!
There isn't a huge amount I can say about the story of Pandemonium without spoiling it, because so much happens, but I'll do what I can. Pandemonium is written in alternating chapters of Now and Then; Then being what happened after Lena crossed the border into the Wilds, and Now being, well, several months after. It's almost like reading two stories. What's brilliant is that both stories are so exciting, that at various points in the book, you're desperate to read more Then rather than Now, and at other times the other way round. Sometimes, because there is Now, you worry less about Then as you know that whatever happens in the Then chapters, Lena gets to the point that starts as Now at the very beginning of the book. Yet at other times, it's almost like you forget that and need more Then. However, the story progressions of both are almost identical, so when you get to high emotional and dangerous points in one, you can be almost certain you'll be coming up to one in the other story. And it's fantastic!
The action has stepped up quite a bit in Pandemonium. It almost feels like Delirium, although absolutely incredible, was a set up book. Now we know pretty much everything about amor deliria nervosa and the cure, how Lena finds out it's actually amazing, realises her how life has been just so wrong, Pandemonium picks up with rebellion, because obviously, the cure can't be continually administered. But it's all baby steps. Then things start going badly wrong. Hence so much action it's incredible! Action-wise, I loved how although Lena thinks her way through things, uses what she's learnt and tries to plan, she hasn't suddenly become a soldier or warrior type. She's terrified, and still very much the Lena we know. She has doubts, she loses faith that things will work out at times, and feels powerless. She's a kick-ass heroine, but in a completely real way.
Despite all this, there are some beautiful, sweet moments, where Lena remembers what it is she's fighting for, and it's just wonderful. However, with all the action and danger and general crappyness of those who are in charge, there are the lows too. We discover more about what those in charge do that the general public doesn't know about, undercover and out of sight. There are some terribly sad moments that will bring tears to your eyes, and some terribly appalling moments that will leave you disgusted. But it will also make you think, as some of these things happen even in our own world, and shock you into realising just how awful we, the human race, can be.
As with any book written by Oliver, Pandemonium is written so beautifully! I have to say that I was so caught up in the actual story, that I'm sure I missed a fair amount of the beautiful writing as I didn't notice much. It will take me a second read to actually catch the almost poetic lines I missed, but those I did notice completely wowed me. As silly as it may sound, I came close to tears at some of Oliver's descriptions, they were so beautiful! The way this lady writes leaves me in complete awe!
There is a killer, killer cliffhanger, one that rivals that of Delirium, and I cannot believe Oliver has done it to us again! I am absolutely dying for Requiem! Oooh, it's going to be good, but I can't believe it will be the final book. It makes me so sad!
However, I have to mention the cover. I don't like it. I can't quite say why, it might be the colour, or the fact it doesn't seem to say anything about the book - though running is important for Lena in the book. It just doesn't do it for me. Just not a fan, really.
Overall, a fantastic book that asks the question, what would you give, what would you sacrifice, how much would you fight to be free to love?
Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for sending me a review copy.
Published: 1st March 2012
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Buy on Amazon US
Lauren Oliver's Website
Other reviews from the series:
Delirium (Delirium Book 1)