Home » High School » Review: Thumbs Down to Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Review: Thumbs Down to Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

TITLE:Pandemonium

AUTHOR: Lauren Oliver

LENGTH: 384 pages

SUMMARY: (via Barnes&Noble.com)

I’m pushing aside
the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana
and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
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 ?ame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

REVIEW: Like the summary above, I felt like this second book in Oliver’s series didn’t give readers a whole lot to go on. I was so enamored of Lena and Alex and Hanna in Delirium and I was ultimately disappointed in Pandemonium. True to second book form, this felt more like a pathway to get us to the third installment than a stand-alone episode in the action. Oliver spends a significant amount of time setting up the relationships between Lena and the rebels and the story moves forward in fits and starts. Strangely, I found the more engaging story to be the flashbacks to The Wilds rather than Lena’s mission in the city with Julien. The chemistry between Julien and Lena felt more Stockholm Syndrome than Romeo & Juliet. In addition, Raven and Tack went to a lot of trouble to put their plan into motion only to do an amazingly fast about-face at the end of the book. And I’m still not sure how I feel about the twist at the end. I’m divided: half of me is excited to see where Oliver goes from here and half of me is all, “Really?! Really, LO? – Because that’s just a little too convenient for comfort, (tsk, tsk).”

Ultimately, I think the determination for the series lies with the final installment. Delirium was engrossing and created so many questions in the minds of readers. I feel like Pandemonium has fallen short of the mark in maintaining the fervor of the first book. Hopefully, the series will end with Delirium’s momentum and verve and leave Pandemonium to its namesake: a jumble of confusing and unsatisfying threads that (fingers crossed) Oliver will masterfully weave together in the third book to bring some sincere emotion and closure to Lena’s story.

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