Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (Book 2 – Delirium Trilogy)
HarperCollins
Paperback
Released 2012
ISBN – 978-1-444-72296-3
“Alex and I are lying together on a blanket in the back yard of 37 Brooks.”

Synopsis

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.

My Thoughts

I always dread the second book in a series. They have this tendency to have “middle book syndrome” and drudge through towards the grand finale. It has become a running joke between friends that the second book is both cursed and a curse. They are awful, but you can’t not read them. 
After reading, and enjoying, Delirium, I dreaded finding that Pandemonium had the curse. 
Sadly I cannot say that it doesn’t. But, only in small parts! The book does have some moments near the beginning that feel slow, but they do make sense. 
The events at the end of the first book leave Lena destroyed. She is broken down to nothing at all and needs to regrow as the new Lena and to find herself with the help of her new ‘Wilds’ family.
Lauren Oliver shows this growth in a really unique way – in the dual perspectives of both the broken down Lena and from the regrown, stronger Lena of many months later. The story flips between the two timelines fantastically. I am not usually a fan of dual anything, but this worked so well. It was well paced and kept the story exciting. 
I quickly fell in love with some of the new characters. Raven becoming a firm favourite from the very beginning because she was so mysterious. 
We learn her backstory so slowly that it feels like we really get to know her before she lets down her guard and spills her secrets. I loved the realism of the timing and that we were really bonding with her alongside Lena as the story moved along. 
I also found it very realistic how the group of ‘uncureds’ changed as the story moved forward. We lost track of group members during action and found new people, just as I would expect. 
Oliver is a very talented writer who does not expect her readers to suspend reality as they read. She weaves and intertwines threads of storyline in such a way that you feel as though she is sewing you into the story. 
In Pandemonium I loved that the twists were dangled in front of us all of the time. As a reader I suspected many of them, but didn’t expect them when they did arrive, or that they would be as amazing as they were. 
The only negative for me was the romance between Lena and Julian. Even though it flowed well I felt as though it was setting up for a love triangle and I really dislike them. 
All in all I adored this book as much, if not more than the first. The writing is poetic and amazing, with the exception of a couple of repeated phrases (I forgive you Lauren) and I really did not want it to end. Good luck Requiem, you have some big shoes to fill.

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