Friday, March 23, 2012

Pandemonium - Lauren Oliver

Resident teen blogger Ella is back to school after March Break, but she got in a lot of 'not school related' reading last week! Here's one of her picks....

"Pandemonium is the sequel to Delirium, a dystopian novel about a girl falling in illicit love with a hot guy who's of limits because the Man's iron, dictatorial fist and wacky rules are keeping them down. If this sounds familiar, you've either read Delirium or one of the multitude of other dystopian books with the same essential plot. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Delirium: the idea of treating love like a disease to be hated, feared and operated away is pretty cool. Still, I wasn't particularly blown away by it. When I picked up Pandemonium, I was expecting your typical middle-of-a-trilogy YA book: as good as or worse than the first one, mostly filler, love triangle, blah, blah, blah. I was very pleasantly surprised to find myself really liking it.

The book picks up really randomly, with Lena (the heroine) pretending to be a cured girl in a New York City school. The next chapter is a flashback to immediately after Delirium, with Lena joining the resistance in the Wilds, the unregulated country between the cities where people who oppose the cure have escaped to. The story continues like that, Lena's present with the past six months explained every other chapter. All lot of others have tried this in books I've been reading recently, but Oliver pulled it off really well. Amazing pacing and character development. I was really impressed with the way she dealt with the growth of Lena's character. In Delirium, she felt kind of average, but she gets really cool in Pandemonium. Grief can be a tough one to write in a dystopian YA book, but Lena's was flawless, as was her healing process. As she grows stronger, both physically and emotionally, it never stopped being believable. There's a new male protagonist, Julian, and her feelings for him were spot on, as was her loyalty and love for Alex, her first love, who is presumed dead. He's on the enemy's side, but their relationship never enters the irritating realm of star-crossed-lover cliches. My favourite part, though, was that Lena gets tough. She's strong physically, but more than that she's self-contained, independent. She can think for and take care of herself, but knows when to accept help. A lot of heroines try for this, but don't quite meet the mark. Yay Lena!

The requisite shocking-twist-ending/hook-to-leave-you-with-bated-breath was predictable, but shocking enough to Lena that I gasped along with her. All in all, a solid read.

I would definitely suggest it to any dystopian fan! I think you could probably read it as a stand alone, but reading Delirium first might be a good idea. Nice job Lauren Oliver!"

And nice job to you too Ella! I always enjoy your refreshing take on books.

Read an excerpt of Pandemonium. You can find Lauren Oliver on Facebook and on Twitter and at her blog.


bermudaonion said...

I don't read a lot of dystopia but Oliver sounds like an author I need to check out.

Shirley said...

I enjoyed Pandemonium too but thought her feelings for Julian came on a little too soon for my liking. Other than that, it was well-written. I definitely recommend it!

Alyce said...

I liked Pandemonium, but was disappointed with the surprise plot twist at the end. Save me from YA love triangles! Oliver's writing is fun to read though.

Alaska Fishing Lodge said...

What a fantastic review. I can't wait to read this. Like dying for my library to get it in.