Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Reading Pandemonium not long after Delirium, there was quite a bit about the first book still fresh in my mind. That helped a good deal while reading Pandemonium because I truly remembered and understood just why Lena had taken so many risks to get away from Portland, and I knew why she was so depressed initially. I also understood why Lena fought so hard against any feelings she might develop for Julian; the specter of Alex was still too fresh. But in many ways, Pandemonium is a fuller, richer tale; Lena not only discovers her will to live, but her determination to fight, be it for the Resistance or for those she loves.
As with Delirium, Pandemonium starts a bit slowly, moving back and forth between timelines that show what happened to Lena immediately after her escape into the Wilds and approximately six months later, when she has become an active member of the Resistance. Lena's way into rebellion starts slowly, and she quickly learns that life in the Wilds is harsh, with starvation and raids constantly looming. And while I can understand Lena's reliance on the leader Raven, I never warmed up to her personality. Even so, I supported Lena's decision to "rejoin" the society she'd grown up in and try to get to Julian, the son of the leader of the DFA. When things begin to go seriously wrong, it was fairly easy to see how Lena could grow closer to the boy she seemed to despise; I loved their trek through the underground tunnels and the people they encountered along the way. But the sense of betrayal Lena feels is overwhelming as the climax of the story looms, and even the ultimate action still didn't redeem Raven fully to this reader. And that ending? Wow...even if you see it coming, it's still an electric moment, one that makes your jaw drop. This series is well written and involving, delivering action and emotion in equal amounts. If there are issues with the predictability, those can be forgiven for the way Lena's story is being woven out of equal parts of Then and Now. Good fun!