Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium #2)

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium #2)
Pages: 375
Release Date:  February 28th, 2012
Date Read:  2012, March 2nd-4th
Received:  OWN
Rating:  5/5 stars
Recommended to:  16+

This review contains spoilers for the first book, Delirium.  Read my review of Delirium here.

Lena Holoway is old, dead, and buried.  Lena Morgan Jones is new, reborn, and ready to fight at whatever the cost.  The memory of Alex, of Grace and her mother, are all she has left of her life before.  Her new life is with Raven and Tack, after a grueling time in the Wilds; she lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she is a student, a cured, a Zombie.  She has been charged with trailing Julian Fineman, son of prominent leader of the Deliria Free America.  When the two are thrown into an adventure they never bargained for, they must put aside their differences - and fight a forbidden love that can never be fostered.

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.

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  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?!

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 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.

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+


  1. YES. Yes, yes, yes, yes!! This is one of those reviews I could copy and paste because it describes how I was feeling while reading this book EXACTLY. Being blown away by LO's brilliance, adoring how strong Lena becomes through her journey, aching for Alex all over again, and falling for Julian even though we never could've expected to... I couldn't have described it any better!

    Perfect and heartbreaking and  beautiful review, Sierra! <3 We are officially Lauren Oliver loving twins who are desperately trying not to harass the publishers for a chance to read Requiem extra-early! x)

    P.S. You definitely have to read Liesl & Po! It's super sweet! :)

  2. OH YAY!!! :D  So glad you feel the same way!! :D  Let's always be LO twins and always be pining for more, ok? haha Did you see the Goodreads page for her new and debut adult novel coming out in 2014???  I'm already dying for it!!!!  I need more LO noooooowwwww so hopefully Liesl & Po will keep me satisfied while I wait for The Spindlers and Requiem...GASP!!!

  3. So would you recomend reading it before the next one comes out? Is the cliff hanger the kind that makes you want to rip your hair out? 

  4. Ummm yes and no.  It depends on the mood you're in.  LOL I definitely wanted to rip my hair out.  I'm pretty sure everyone did.  I think I could actually use stronger terms to describe how I felt LOL like my sister walked into my room when I was still half crying/half sulking and I just wanted to glare at her until she left me in peace...hahaha ;)  You should DEFINITELY read it...but when is up to your mood.

  5. Oh my gosh, I love this review. No, sorry, I didn't mean that. I meant to say that I LOVE this review! Aaaah! You completely described how I felt too! Portland, Julian, the ending - I felt the exact same way. And now I'm just DYING to get my hands on Requiem. Just knowing it's out there, somewhere, complete yet totally unavailable KILLS me. It might be worth the wait, but I don't think I'll even survive the wait. Need. It. NOW!

  6. For me, Pandemonium far exceeded the awesomeness of Delirium, and it was so shocking, so intense, so wrenching that I couldn't even cry, because I was so shocked and wonderfully drained and, honestly, I felt like I'd been stabbed in the gut, the heart. You're STILL IN LOVE WITH ALEX?!? *flashes Team Julian t-shirt* I feel like Alex was the one to help her grow, but Julian was meant for this new person she's become. I'm going to fall apart in Requiem. I can feel it in the bones.

  7. YAY!!! :D So glad this review is good and that everyone agrees with it!  I enjoyed writing it... ;)
    SERIOUSLY ITS NOT FAIR YOU LAZY PUBLISHERS!!  Get your butts in gear and give us the next book NOW! ;)

    Thanks for the comment, Lauz.  Oh, and by the way...reminds me I need to email you about  a special fun idea I had....

  8. ahahahaha sorry, yes, I'm still madly in love with Alex.  Always will be.  But that's awesome that you liked Pandemonium even more! :D  We will have to see what happens in the next book!! I'm sure we'll all be screaming/crying/angry/happy...all at once. ;)

    Thanks for the comment!

  9. I seriously need to re-read this book. The first time through I was SO disappointed!

  10. Really??  What a bummer!  Hope you like it the 2nd time!

  11. Pandemonium is amazing! I read it in one sitting! I enjoyed it more than the first book. But I have to say the hangover is killing me! xD