Warning: Unavoidable spoilers to those who have yet to read the first book, Delirium.
I absolutely loved Delirium (read review here), so when I read other reviews for Pandemonium (Oh, how I envy those lucky people who get advanced copies!), I was slightly disappointed when I heard how she’s now alone in the wilds. My first thought was, is this going to be like New Moon by Stephanie Meyer? When Edward Cullen disappears after the first chapter and I found myself frantically flipping through the book trying to find a mention of his name, thinking when is Edward coming back?!? I had that same sense of panic with Pandemonium. Alex can’t be gone. He can’t be dead! From the very beginning I held onto the hope that Alex HAD to come back, no matter what Lauren Oliver had to pull out of her hat. I don’t care if he comes back as a zombie. I need Alex to come back, for Lena’s sake.
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver is an amazing sequel. It will suck you in. It will take your breath away, and not give it back. It will consume you; every thought, feeling, and emotion Lena feels, you will feel just as deep. It will become real to you. It will hurt a little, okay maybe a lot, but that’s what makes this novel so good. Oliver reaches into the very heart of her readers and squeezes, draining the heart dry, only to fill it back up again.
I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
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.
I feel as if I’ve been through an emotional reawakening. Oliver’s writing is so beautiful. It paints beautiful and tragic pictures. I loved the depth of Lena as a character. The emotions were so real and so raw. I am right. there. with. her. With the help of Oliver’s hand, I felt every emotion at my very core. Oliver captivates the reader with her beautiful prose, where emotions become tangible objects. Here’s an example: “Hatred is a high tower. In the Wilds, I start to build, and to climb.” As I read those words, I felt my own hatred build — for what I’m not sure — and I started to climb. For a sentence to have that kind of effect, it just blew me away.
Oliver is amazing because she never loses her reader. I started reading with a defensive mindset; I didn’t want her to leave Lena all alone, yet Oliver drew me in with the very first page. I will never doubt her again.
I’m convinced Oliver is a literary goddess. She created an amazingly crafted story and I loved the back and forth sequence between Now and Then in the chapters. Each emotion or stream of thought flowed seamlessly between the different moments in time. I’m in awe of this genius. I can see that this took a lot of work to put together so effortlessly.
Lena is such a real person to me. I can relate to her love of running, to where running becomes therapeutic to push through the pain both physical and mental, and use the fact that after the run you are not dead, and therefore, if the physical pain from the run won’t kill you then maybe you can hold on to the belief that the emotional pain won’t kill you either. It was a very impactful tie between physical and mental, reader and character.
I absolutely love Lauren Oliver. There is something about her writing that touches me. It creates that feeling that feeds my love of reading. She stirs emotions and creates excitement. I literally thought I was going to have a heart attack when I finished this book. There is a twist at the end that surpasses all twists. I was hanging on Oliver’s every word, eating out of her hand when BAM!, punch to the gut. She leaves the reader with the most tragic dilemma. What in the world is Lena gonna do!?! What am I gonna do?; I have to wait until February 2013 for the third and final book, Requiem!
I do not just highly recommend this book. I COMMAND everyone to read this series!