Hold onto your hearts…it’s Pandemonium

Pandemonium ( Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver

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. (Goodreads)

This review is going to get spoilery so if you haven’t read Delirium…get on it! It’s so good!

The Story:

Lena made it safely to The Wilds, but she’s tormented by dreams of Alex, memories of him bloodied and dying as she crossed that gate to freedom.  And her new life is anything but ideal.  Though she’s technically free, Lena’s daily concerns are about basic survival. There is no time for heartache, no time really for joy. The needs of scavenging food and shelter with other members of the Resistance fills virtually every moment. But deep under the layers of her now hardened facade the old Lena, the one from Portland, still loves. She thinks of her mom, of Grace and of Hannah. And always, always of Alex.

In order to survive, Lena pushes on and becomes an active force in Resistance. She goes undercover to NYC, tailing Julian, the new poster boy for the cure. Julian is the leader of the youth movement of the DFA (Deliria Free America) and is almost ready to have his own procedure. When both are kidnapped at a violent rally, they realize that they’re being used as pawns.

My Take:

I loved Delirium with all of my heart. Every moment. Every word. Pandemonium is an entirely different book, written with chapters titled “Then” (referencing Lena’s time in The Wilds) and “Now” (referring to her time undercover), and it is very well done.

The strength of the story still lies in Lena.  She has changed dramatically. And because her life is so hard now, there are even times that she looks back on her former life in Portland and wonders what would have happened if she’d stayed (WHHHAT??? I know). In the Wilds, her survival instincts have kicked in. Her pain over losing Alex and her contempt over the belief system that took him from her, feeds a festering discontent and reminds her that she is truly alone.

“Hatred is a high tower. In the Wilds, I start to build, and to climb.”

While she’s darker and edgier this time around, underneath it all there is still that soft willingness that led her to go to any lengths for what she believes. Lena is unafraid. And even though she has no exceptional physical strength, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Oliver’s writing style is still touching and bittersweet while conveying the raw pain that Lena experiences. It took me a little longer to get into this story, perhaps because this one is more about struggle and survival than the first, and thus there are less romantic moments— but I really liked it. And yes, there is love, although the circumstances are far different this time around.  As a huge fan of Alex, this broke my heart, but alas, life goes on.

And oh my goodness the end.  It made me want to scream and jump up and down. I have so many questions and such high hopes for the third book.

Crush Intensity: 4.75/5 Well done again, Ms. Oliver!  I loved it.

Soundtrack: Muse, The Resistance

Pandemonium is in stores February 28. Mega gigantic thanks to my girls Dixie and Maggie at Gone Pecan for sharing their ARC with me!