Monday, September 17, 2012


Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (This has many spoilers about both books in the series.)

First off, I enjoyed Delirium (which is the first book in the series). I thought it was an interesting view on a fundamental of society, love, and all of the negativity that surrounds it. The society acts as a jaded spinster with a philosophy of "If I can't be happy, no one can be happy," except replace happy with love. Give the spinster science that takes away love and then put her in charge of government.

BAM! Delirium.

Lena enters the scene and has a lot of experience with the delirium already. Her mother could not be cured and committed suicide, her father's dead, her older sister was infected and then cured, and she lives with an Aunt and Uncle who are very dull (and cured). The cure seems to make everyone dull and like robots or unnecessarily cruel. Anyways, Lena has her enabler crazy friend Hana who seems to be on the same page with her against Delirium) before she says some not so with the program things. Hana starts to delve into the forbidden music/texts that seems to encourage the uncured towards love.

And then there's Alex. He's cured of Deliria and so Lena spends a lot of time with him, and might fall in love. Now Pandemonium starts where Delirium left off, so sadly I need to spoil a bit of Delirium. In the end Alex and Lena try to escape from society and into the wilds so they can love each other and have a harsh freedom.

Except, Alex doesn't make it and Lena watches him be shot and become a bloody mess before his last shouts to run sink and she bolts into the woods.

Now Pandemonium explores Lena's life in the wilds and shows how a different kind of cruelty exists. It shoes the cruelty of nature and illustrates just how warped "society" or as they refer to it as Zombieland is.

In Pandemonium though, the first part of the book we have chapters that take place in the present and chapters that take place in the wilds. It's a little disorienting because the chapters in the wilds holds an air of 'Will Lena live?' even though we know she does because we see her living in New York City. But the same goes for all the characters we see in the wilds. We know a handful of them live at least because they appear in the city chapters. Because I was already offered the knowledge of knowing some of who lived, I found it excessively difficult to try and be emotionally invested in the wilds chapters. Yes, I found it interesting to see how Lena recovered and changed in the wilds and to understand how people survived but I found myself getting bored with the Wilds, especially as it didn't directly relate to the city. It was harder to read the Wild chapters as it left me in suspense of what was happening in the city.

Yes, it is important to understand everything that Lena went through in the wilds to understand how she was functioning in the city. However, I think the book would have had more cohesion if it was written chronologically and did not skip back and forth in the beginning.

Alternatively, when we finally got city chapters and only city chapters, I started to get annoyed with Lena because she became a 'everything's HARD' character. Yes, she persevered through a lot but this hard, strong personality that she was proud of having developed in the wild and then refined with her time in the city started to melt away. She openly admits at one point that she's becoming the old Lena again. This is also the time that she gets confused and begins to remember her love for Alex rather than feel it. She also begins to fall in love with Julian who is a focal point of a crusade against being uncured and a big deal in politics (figures).

Could this be a point of Deliria though? Is this a statement that Deliria renders you to be who you are rather than who you should be or want to be?

We witnessed Lena become strong enough to leave her home/safety/security/society because of her love of Alex in Delirium. In Pandemonium, we witness her to be this very tough, strong person because of her love for Alex. Because she loved him so much, she had to continue for him.

But as she begins to love Julian and remember Alex, she gets a case of the 'Too HARD' while she's underground with him but becomes strong again for him later.

So the question can be raised that does love (Deliria) make you weak in the beginning and then stronger? Also, the author seemed to get a little bored with politics and used the politics to get the characters into situations that as the situation continued, the political implications of them disappeared.

And then there's a Santa Claus type of moment where it's all made to be clear and everything wraps up like a Scooby Doo mystery.

Overall, I was not as impressed with Pandemonium as I was with Delirium as Pandemonium came across as the same story, just a different book. However, I will pick up the third book in the trilogy in the seeking of Pandemonium's redemption and the hopes of seeing more about the world of Delirium and Pandemonium with Lena as the guiding catalyst rather than a stagnant, "This is a common incident" feeling that she gave off in the end.

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