Love, the deadliest of all deadly things.
It kills you when you have it.
And when you don’t.
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.
This is the second book in Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series. There will be no spoilers for this book, but there may be for the first.
In America in the future the Government have found a cure for love. Everybody must go though the procedure that removes the capacity for love around the age of 18. Those who refuse are considered terrorists and locked up, children are kept separated so that they can’t succumb to the disease before they are cured. Lena grew up believing that this was right, that love was a terrible thing that damaged society, but that changed. Now she finds herself on the other side, a runaway, an invalid, she now lives in the wild with others who don’t believe in the governments cure. But life here is a constant struggle for survival and among these people lie the Resistance, those prepared to try and change the regime. No matter what the cost…
Pandemonium is a very different book to Delirium. The book talks of two different timelines in alternating chapters titled ‘Now’ and ‘Then’, with both strands told from Lena’s perspective. This technique really succeeds in ramping up the tension as you become engrossed in one aspect of the story only to be thrown into another. It’s also very successful in drip feeding the reader with essential information until the two threads are pulled together at the end and everything makes sense. The main character, Lena, is almost unrecognisable from the Lena we Knew in ‘Delirium’ in the ‘Now’ sections. The ‘Then’ sections fill in the gaps in her character development but make the reader see how she got there in a totally believable way.
Lauren Oliver’s exquisite writing shines all the way through, just as it did in Delirium, even with the change in how the book is put together. Incredibly descriptive it takes on an almost lyrical quality at times. I honestly think I could read anything written by her, whether I was interested in the subject matter or not.
Pandemonium very definitely fits with the Dystopian Genre. Although the Government does not play as big a role this time round it is still a dominant theme. It also looks at how any side will do whatever it takes to further their cause. But to me it is mainly a book of self discovery with the romantic elements of the first book taking more of a back seat.
As for the ending, wow! I was kind of expecting (hoping) for something along those lines, but I was not expecting it to be quite so brutal. I think Lauren Oliver must go down as the Queen of the cliffhanger ending.
Verdict: An incredibly beautifully written story of self discovery set against a dystopian backdrop. With an ending that leaves you desperate to find out what will happen next.
Reviewed by Alison