Friday, January 27, 2012

ARC review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

When Lena left her life behind in Portland, she left the old Lena behind too. Now that she resides in the wilds, she is no longer the girl we knew from Delirium. She must fight and push to survive and imagine a life without Alex - which for her to cope, she must pretend he never existed.

As she creates a new life for herself in the wilds, something sinister is afoot on the other side of the fence, which results in the need for the resistance to rise up and make themselves known rather than simply acting in passive defiance within the confines of the oppressive government as they have done in the past. Now is the time for action.

In the process of being part of such resistance, Lena finds herself in new dangers that she had not experienced before, and meets new obstacles in the form of a new love interest that attempts to help her forget about Alex. Is it possible to forget the great love of her life? Can she be reborn again? Or will the ghosts of her past continue to haunt her?

I have said it before, but I can't help but continue to say it over and over again: Lauren Oliver's prose is so beautiful in its simplicity it's almost painful. You read her sentences and think: how can something so simple be so enchanting? This woman can write about surviving in the wilds and make it so descriptive, I can almost taste the food Lena is eating:

I sip from this bowl of broth more slowly, savoring its strange, earthy quality: as though it has been stewed with stones.

I mean, it's not like this broth sounds like a five star meal, but as a foodie, I am so intrigued by the idea of this strange, earthy broth that  I really do want to see what it tastes like. Yes. That just happened. Lauren Oliver actually made me want to eat survival provisions.

Something else I adored about this book and her other books is the fact that Oliver does not dumb down her stories for her teenage audience. She uses the same literary devices of the great classics taught in schools today, but she clearly makes them more accessible to her readers. The motif of rebirth runs rampant throughout the entire novel and even the most literal of thinkers could pick up on this.  As someone who really struggled through abstract and archaic texts in high school, this book is just another example of why teachers and schoolboards today need to realize that you can learn the same literary concepts through contemporary texts, not just classics. Lauren Oliver is a YA author who should be taught with regularity in high schools.

Pandemonium is a very different book from Delirium. Oliver even said this herself. She worried that people would be upset and disappointed. For me it was just the opposite. This book was definitely more tense and filled with anxiety than the previous book, but it was just as well-written and engrossing as the first. The only bad thing about getting to read the book early is now I have to wait that much longer for the third book and oh boy is it going to be a doozy. Despite the fact that I knew how this book was going to end midway through, it was still quite dramatic and chill inducing. I would say more but I don't want to spoil anything by saying too much. Just know that Requiem is going to be one heck of a closer to the series.

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #2
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 384
Genre: Dystopian
Audience: Young Adult

Check out my current ARC giveaway of Pandemonium


  1. Wow. I haven't read these but you've got my interest.

  2. Same here. I'm going to have to add this series to my to-read list.

  3. I love this review! I wish this was MY review! You basically have said everything I wanted to say! Lovely! :)

  4. I really want to read this but I haven't read the first one yet.

  5. hmmmm, see and up until this moment I haven't been excited for Pandemonium! hahaha, but now you're selling me. I'm not sure about stone soup though, there's an awful lot of dogs in my neighborhood- I'm guessing there would pee in there somewhere.

  6. I already wanted to read this but jeez, you really knocked it over the top! Her writing is so beautiful! That rock soup sounds intriguing...

  7. Hmm...stone soup. Not so sure about it, but if it is a question of survival or not then it would be pretty welcome I am sure.

  8. Oh, this review pains me. Because now I'm so much more anxious to read this sequel. I like the idea that this one is going to feature a lot change and differences.

    And I totally agree with you about contemporary texts being great tools for learning similar messages as the classics. My English teacher is working to incorporate this concept.

  9. I think this is exactly how I felt with this book - definitely a lot better than Delirium in my opinion :) Great review :)