Sunday, April 21, 2013

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2) by Lauren Oliver

'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 you lungs, the slow, low pressure. Let your self 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.'

Lena is now in the Wilds, but nothing is how she thought it would be or how she and Alex had planned. After watching Alex get gunned down right before her eyes, she ran and ran until she could go no further and passed out from the pain, exhaustion, and grief. When she came to, she was in a homestead and received her first real introduction to life in the Wilds.

"Everything you were, the life you had, the people you knew...dust."(...)" There is no before. There is only now, and what comes next."

The Wilds isn't pretty, it isn't cozy, truth be told, it's rather harsh, but Lena is free to be who she wants to be, be with who she wants to be and not what society dictates. She'll be forced to make her own way, a new life, and will question if she made the right choice in leaving. She'll find out what she's capable of and find herself, but most importantly, she'll learn to go on and  learn to love again.

'You can build a future out of anything. A scrap, a flicker. The desire to go forward, slowly, one foot at a time.'


This was another great book in the Delirium series. In Delirium, Lena caught the deliria and decided to run away with Alex to the Wilds. Alex was gunned down before he could escape, sacrificing himself so Lena could get away safely. Now Lena is in unknown territory, but she's taken in by a group of Invalids. She learns more about their society and her own.

The book is divided into two parts, the 'Then' and the 'Now' which alternate. The 'Then' section refers to the time when Lena first arrived in the Wilds and the 'Now' is several months later. As the story progresses, you can see the differences and similarities between the two periods of time. In the 'Now' Lena, Raven, and Tack have infiltrated society under aliases. I found the first chapter a bit confusing and wondered if the author did it on purpose to make us feel as confused as Lena when she first awoke in the Wilds. If so, it worked like a charm.

In the 'Now', Lena meets Julian, he's the teen spokesperson for the DFA. He's a very persuasive speaker and has a lot of followers. Lena and he are thrust together when they are both kidnapped and held captive. Being kept in close quarters combined with the stress of being held captive the two start to bond. As they make a daring escape that bond grows as they need to rely upon each other to make it out safely.

I must admit, at first I didn't like the 'Now' and 'Then' division, but as the story progressed, I liked seeing the contrast between the 'old' Lena and the 'new' one. In Delirium, Lena leaned on Alex. If not for him she'd never have left for the Wilds. When she finds herself alone in the Wilds without Alex, she needs to rely on herself and she starts to question things and think for herself. She grows into an independent woman who has opinions and who sees what the society she lived in didn't want her to see. The loveless utopia she was led to believe she lived in wasn't so perfect. A lot was hidden from people.

***MINOR SPOILER ALERT***Sidenote: I'm pointing this out because I think a lot of people will miss this unless someone does point it out.
Additionally, toward the end of the book, the author finally gives us an idea of why she divided the book up as she did. At one point, when Lena starts to fall for Julian, she starts to get images of the two, Alex and Julian, merging together as she tries to reconcile the feelings she had for Alex in the past with the new feelings she's beginning to have for Julian in the present. Additionally, she states, 'I have the feeling of looking at two mirrors that have been placed face-to-face, of being pushed from the past to the now and back again.' In a way, the past and present do sort of overlay and merge with each other at the end, and I liked how the author did this.

Why is the book entitled Pandemonium? Well, the definition of pandemonium is a wild and noisy disorder or confusion; uproar. That suits the book well. Things start out and end in a very confusing and seemingly disorderly manner. Additionally, there is panic that the deliria is spreading and reaching 'pandemic' proportions which leads to the pandemonium in society.

Overall, I gave this book 5 out of 5 roses. I love the author's poetic writing style and the smart and clever way she put this story together. Plus, I loved the twist at the end which was unexpected and an awesome way to lend a book in a cliffhanger. I must confess, however, if I had read the series as the books came out instead of one right after the other, I'd probably be upset about not to knowing what happened next sooner. A very fun and well thought out series.

Order of the series:

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