April 16, 2012

I'd Join the Resistance for You

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Release Date: February 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 375
Source & Format: Purchased; Kindle e-book
Series: Delirium #2
Amazon | Goodreads

Word of Warning: You might not want to read this review if you haven't read Delirium yet. There will likely be spoilers for the first book.

Sum It Up
Delirium ends as Lena makes it past the fence, leaving Alex behind to face certain death at the hands of the Regulators. Pandemonium opens with "Then" - showing Lena immediately after entering the Wilds as she attempts to survive on her own and deal with her grief. Interspersed between these flashback chapters are snippets of "Now." Lena is a member of the Resistance, and she's ready to fight back. On her first assignment, things don't go according to plan and she finds herself facing an unknown enemy... and the possibility of a completely different future.

By Its Cover: The Fierce Face
The second book in this series uses the same model for another giant face cover. Again, I'm kind of in the middle on this one. I guess the last cover was supposed to say, "I'm pretty and peaceful." And this one is saying, "I'm pretty and fierce." There's definitely some anger in her eyes, which I think hints nicely at what's to come.

Amen, Sister Friend: Yes, But She Doesn't Need Me
This Lena is fierce. I mean, seriously y'all. Gone is the quiet, rule follower that that was easily influenced. In her place is a hardened and braver version of herself. Her first test was going beyond the fence, and now she spends two years learning the truth about life on the outside. She's a new Lena, hardened by the journey she's taken.

Let me just say, I really liked this Lena. You can still see remnants of her former self, but she's definitely changed. And while I'd totally want to be friends with her, I'm pretty sure she'd push me away. I don't think she really needed anyone like she needed Hana in the first book. I'd probably try to befriend her, but I have a feeling she wouldn't be too keen on becoming close. However, watching her interact with Julian may prove that under her tough girl persona she still needs someone to comfort her. Either way, I was digging her in this book.

Literary Love: Took Me By Surprise
Oh, hello Julian. I was determined not to like you but ended up pretty much loving. Now I can't even remember why I supposed to be sad about Alex's death because you've totally taken up residence in my mind. Look, I really like what you bring to the table. And I liked how Lena was your introduction to a whole different world - kind of like Alex was for her. I think we saw a different side of her with you around, and I have to admit that I was really intrigued.

And Lena, I did start thinking that maybe you throw the world love around a little too easily. I mean, seriously girl, you just can't go falling in love with every boy you meet. However, a lovely little review from S. Krishna helped me realize that you probably use the word love because that's the only way you know how to describe the way you feel. In a society where love is forbidden, you haven't gotten a good lecture on all the feelings leading up to love. So, maybe you jumped the gun a little on the l-word, but I'm totally cool with it now.

Word Nerd: Descriptive & Thrilling
Lauren Oliver continues to impress me with her writing. Not only does she amp up the action in this book, but she still manages to include some absolutely gorgeous descriptions. I mean, I love writing that can be both lyrical and action-packed. Give me more!

This book is told in alternating chapters - Then and Now. I thought this would drive me crazy, but leave it to Lauren to totally work it! I wasn't confused at all, and I actually kind of enjoyed the use of this device.

Then follows Lena immediately after she first enters the Wilds. You see her confusion, her damage and how she's slightly lost in her surroundings. You see her focus and determination to survive and contribute. And, you see her grief. She struggles with the loss of Alex, and you watch her cope with that while surrounded by people she barely knows.

Now is set in the present (for Lena). Lena is a part of the resistance, and she has really come into her own. She's a fighter. She is no longer naive and innocent - she's fully aware of the cost of her actions and can navigate the world around her with ease.

Lauren had me on the edge of my seat in this one, and I am so in love with her gift for storytelling.

Extra, Extra: The Wilds
I really enjoyed learning about the Wilds, especially as we're introduced to a new cast of characters. Meeting all of the inhabitants of the camp was cool, and I really liked hearing a little bit about how they all met and ended up together.

It was really cool to go from a book completely dominated by Society in the first book to one where the Wilds play a huge role. Even though the portions in the Wild were technically flashbacks, I think it really helped broaden my understanding of this world at large.

Extra, Extra: Tunnel People
Okay, I really sorry but the people that live in the subway system totally reminded me of that scene in Felicity where the subway stops working and Felicity looks out the window and see her crazy-ass roommate with all the "mole people." Do you know what I'm talking about? No? Oh well. I started laughing in this portion of the book because I was imagining that scene. And I'm pretty sure it was supposed to be a serious moment in the book.

*And if you're wondering, Ben. Always Ben. If you're not wondering, you should be.

Extra, Extra: Abandoned Cabins
I mostly just really liked the moments set here, and that's all I'll say about that. Except, hello, what would you be up to in a deserted building if you were with a hottie?

Extra, Extra: omg ending!
I might have seen it coming, but still... WOW. I'm seriously dying for book three. And it's not out until next year!! How am I supposed to wait that long?!

So Quotable
"Grief is like sinking, like being buried. I am in water the tawny color of kicked-up dirt. Every breath is full of choking. There is nothing to hold on to, no sides, no way to claw myself up. There is nothing to do but let go. Let go. Feel the weight all around you, feel the squeezing of your lungs, the slow, low pressure. Let yourself go deeper. There is nothing but bottom. There is nothing but the taste of metal, and the echoes of old things, and days that look like darkness."

"But forbidden books are so much more. Some of them are webs; you can feel your way along their threads, but just barely, into strange and dark corners. Some of them are balloons bobbing up through the sky: totally self-contained, and unreachable, but beautiful to watch. And some of them - the best ones - are doors."

Bottom Line: Read Delirium First & Move On To This Immediately
In case you can't already tell, I really enjoyed this book. I'm not sure if I liked it more than the first, but it definitely didn't suffer from middle book syndrome. Aside from a few things that were just setting it up for the third book, I had very few complaints. If you liked Delirium, you'll be in heaven reading this one. Just don't forget to pick your jaw up off the floor once you're done.

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