This review contains spoilers for the first book, Delirium. Read my review of Delirium here.
MY THOUGHTS -I read. I cried. I threw a fit.
This book makes me want to pull a squirt gun on the publishers, Dick Harper style, and yell, "GIVE ME YOUR ARC'S! GIVE ME YOUR ARC'S!"
I've said it before and I'll say it again. It's something that never gets old, and I don't believe it will ever change.
Lauren Oliver is Brilliant. With a capitol "B".
And because of that Brilliancy, we have Before I Fall, Delirium, and now Pandemonium. (I'm sure Liesl & Po is just as wonderful, but I have yet to read it.) If I had to pick a favorite between Delirium and Pandemonium, I'd pick the first book, but its sequel is so excellent I cannot deny my love for it. It is a Forever Favorite and will stay there for all time.
Once again - Lauren's writing is freaking GORGEOUS. It envelops you in warm, comforting arms and feeds you inspiration by the spoonful. Even after the story is over, it sticks with the reader for a long, long time.
CHARACTER NOTES -Lena Morgan Jones is my new hero. She's my role model. If I could be half as brave as this young woman, then I'd feel like a superhero. In Delirium, Alex is the one who causes her to bud into a beautiful, brave young woman. Pandemonium shows the continued growth, the building of a new Lena who strives to do right by her memory of Alex, of her mother.
Now, ahem, ALEX. No, he is not exactly in this book as a character, but his memory shines for him, real and encouraging - to the reader as well as to Lena. I loved the way Lena's thoughts of him, her motivation to make her life exactly what he'd died for her to have, practically brought him to life. Oh, how I miss him. I'm serious - I felt like I was Lena, aching for him, wishing for his strong guidance, but also pushing forward, fighting for another day, to live, breathe love. That is why I love Alex.
Julian Fineman. Can I just ask a question? HOW THE HECK DID YOU BECOME WONDERFUL AS WELL?!?!?! After gaining composure... Julian is...wow. I wasn't sure of him at first, but now I'm dead certain. What I'm certain of (besides his awesomeness) I have no idea. I just hope Lauren has something awesome in store for him. (Although, compared with Alex....he doesn't even compare. Ok, so, we're not comparing him with Alex right now. Sorry, I just can't help myself.)
Raven, Tack, Hunter, Sarah, etc. - these are the men and women and children of the wilds. They were all very clear and precise and consistent. I mean, come on, these are Lauren's characters I'm talking about here - what else would they be?!
STORY NOTES -I'm going to be honest: I missed 37 Brooks, Back Cove...Portland. I really did. But here, in Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver has built something just as real, just totally different - Brooklyn, NY. An entirely new setting, a new structure, a strong difference in her MC - and yet everything felt as though I'd experienced it my whole life. So natural, life-like.
I really liked the then and now idea - how they were different times but they still melted into each other, seamless. Lena's contrasted self was a beautiful thing to see, to be reminded of.
Wanna know what really blows me away? The love triangle. Yep, you heard me. I flipping love this love triangle. It's not giggling teenage girls with hunky men where all they want to do is make out. It's something totally different, out-of-this-world, mindboggling: it's mature. Yes, Lauren Oliver has succeeded in creating the mature and realistic love triangle I've ever read. Now, I have my biases. I'm a "first love" fan 1,000,000%. But honestly, I trust Lauren's expertise. What she says goes. I'm placing my already fragile heart in her hands. I trust she won't crush it. (Ok, just kidding. She's already crushed it and shredded it and mercilessly pounded it into the dirt a million times but...you get what I'm trying to say, right?)
On the topic of love, I must say the love story in this one was a bit less believable, because of who Lena is and what she's been through. I mean, with Delirium's slow-progressing romance, thick and delicious and wondrous, and with the world's best lit-man, nothing really compares now. Because of this, Pandemonium's romance seemed quite a bit fast. It was definitely beautiful, and still believable, but not as much as Lena and Alex's. I sure do hope this makes sense...
And then...WE ALL DIE BECAUSE OF THAT END. WHY?!?!?!! My mind seriously threatens to burst every time I even think about it because I can't even wrap my head around Lauren's brilliance!!!! She is the Queen of Cliffhangers and Heartbreakers. WHY do we have to wait till freaking NEXT YEAR to know what happens?!?!?!
It's just....pure genius. Pure. Genius.
SUMMING IT UP -You heard me - pure genius. From first page to last. Every word in between. Everything. I'm seriously freaking out right now!!
Requiem: I need you desperately, but you are worth the wait!!!
For the Parents -
A handful of s**t, brief strong language (2 F's, 2 GD's). Reference to "unnaturals" (two guys are apparently a couple). A male character asks to see Lena without a shirt on. She covers her breasts but he does get a peek at the rest. A passionate kiss, some description. They sleep in a bed together but nothing happens. Recommended to 16+