13 March 2014

Audiobook Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Pandemonium
Author(s): Lauren Oliver
Genre(s): Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publisher/Release Date: HarperCollins / February 28, 2013
Series: Delirium (Book #2)
Grief is like sinking, like being buried. I am in water the tawny color of kicked-up dirt. Every breath is full of choking. There is nothing to hold on to, no sides, no way to claw myself up. There is nothing to do but let go. Let go. Feel the weight all around you, feel the squeezing of your lungs, the slow, low pressure. Let yourself go deeper. There is nothing but bottom. There is nothing but the taste of metal, and the echoes of old things, and days that look like darkness.” -Magdalena Haloway-Tiddle

Warning: This review may contain spoilers concerning Delirium

 Case Study
I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare, pushing aside thoughts of Alex, pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school, push, push, push, 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. (synopsis from Goodreads)

The Game's Afoot
You guys, I am totally hooked on Lauren Oliver's Delirium series. So intense. So many emotions!

Pandemonium begins immediately after the events of Delirium with Lena's daring escape in to the Wilds... without Alex. While Delirium had the whimsy factor, Pandemonium was all about the action... and drama. Pandemonium reminded me of Catching Fire in a way --- the plot lines are similar but the stakes are higher, the revelations, bigger and bolder. Delirium introduces us to Lena but Pandemonium opens us up to so much more of her world and the politics behind it. Basically, they're headed for all out war.
The book is told in two sections, Now and Then and the contrast between past and present is effective in building the tension in the story. It's never confusing or boring and it really highlights the growth of these characters while providing a constant sense of intrigue. And if that's not enough to keep you reading, Oliver's beautiful prose will. True to form, every word has its place, every sentence, its purpose. No word or chapter is wasted. Every page leaves its mark. And this is why I am and will be a forever fan.

One of the most remarkable things about this book is Lena's personal journey and growth. She experiences the aftermath of losing her one and only love and is forced to deal with survivor's guilt. She has to start anew and rebuild her life in the Wilds. And that's another thing I loved, seeing the infamous Wilds. Things are hard for Lena, life there is hard in general. It's not the fantasy world that Lena originally imagined. People suffer and people die. But after spending some time in the Wilds, Lena learns to become a fighter. Her transformation is earnest, believable and not without its share of hardships. She's not handed anything and her friend and savior, Raven, sees to that. Lena earns her place with Raven and the gang and that's really rewarding to see.

I wasn't a huge fan of the romance in Pandemonium, as admittedly, I am a Lena-Alex shipper. Lena and Julian progress slowly, in a very natural sort of way, from overt wariness to gradual friendship then to something more. It's a slow, simmering sort of burn. Don't get me wrong, I understood the development of her feelings for Julian, but that doesn't mean I have to like them. It's interesting that Lena and Julian's relationship mimics the path that Lena and Alex took when they first met, only the roles are very much reversed. Lena is to Julian in Pandemonium what Alex was to Lena in Delirium. Eventually, Julian experiences the same progression that Lena did with concern to delira amor nervosa and he turns out to be a great character. He's one of those people who was initially shaped by his environment but as soon as you take him away from that, he really flourishes. Then there's Lena, who went from this scrappy, lost girl to this bad-ass, hard-edged, self-sufficient woman. She's a fighter. She fights for who she loves, what she believes in and for, well, love itself. 

And you've got to admire a girl like that.

Summary Prognosis
Pandemonium is everything you could want and love in a series sequel. With serious character growth, amped up stakes and lots of dramatic tension, it had me hooked from the first page. And trust me, you're gonna want to stick around for that ending --- holy cliffhanger, Batman! I think, deep down, I knew it was coming but no amount of preparation could lessen the shock of it. It's a beautiful story and has solidified itself as one of my top book series EVER. 

Rating: ★★★★½

Read It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Discuss It: Goodreads | Author's Website 


  1. I did not like Pandemonium as much as Delirium. I too am an Alex fan 100% and I think that is why I didn't like this book as much. (I did still really enjoy it.) I felt like that since Alex was the reason she runs, the reason she goes against society, risks her life, etc. in the first book, that she wouldn't have feelings for anyone else so soon after Alex gets left behind, whether or not she thinks he is probably dead. Ugh. I mean they are meant to be together and the whole basis is about love. (I know that isn't exactly what it is about so much as freedom and what not, but still.) I'm glad you enjoyed this one more than I did and that this series is really making you happy. Those are the best kind of reads. :) Sorry for my ramble. I hope you enjoy the last book! I thought it was good, better than the second if I remember correctly. Happy reading!

  2. Of the two, I have to agree with you on Delirium being the better book, however, I also understand where Lena was coming from with Julian (even I'd I didn't like it). The world-building and the prose hooked me in Delirium and the action of Pandemonium kept me intrigued. I know a lot of people weren't happy with the way Requiem ended but I was actually pleased with it overall. I haven't been this captivated with a series probably since I read The Hunger Games, like, 2 years ago. Loved it!

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