Pandemonium is the second book in Lauren Oliver’s Delirium trilogy and therefore this review will contain spoilers for the first book. You can read my review of Delirium here which will also explain a little more about the world.
Last time we saw Lena, she was running off into The Wilds, leaving Alex on the other side of the fence. Pandemonium alternates between “then” and “now” on a chapter by chapter basis. It starts with Lena in a classroom in a new life which leaves you a little confused as to what’s going on, especially if it’s been a while since the first book. Has she been captured? What happened to Alex? Why is she back in school when she should be living off roast squirrel and berries? But soon it switches back to the “then” which is all about how Lena survives in The Wilds.
I found the “now” storyline much more compelling. In The Wilds, there seem a few too many characters with very little development. For people who have lost everything in the name of love, they come across as rather devoid of emotion. I’m not sure how much it contributed to the plot and I suspect the few key moments were things being set up for the final instalment. Whilst the two plots do eventually meet up, I was repeatedly frustrated about being taken away from the “now”, in which Lena is an undercover agent for the invalids, dipping her toes into the politics of the world. She meets the poster boy for the cure and ends up in the clutches of who knows who.
If you read my review of Delirium, you will know that I wasn’t quite convinced by Lauren Oliver’s world. What Pandemonium does is explain that the whole thing is much more about controlling the people through fear and peer pressure than around a disease. If it weren’t for all the time wasted in The Wilds, I would have found this the better story. The “now” plot is fast paced and there is enough doubt in the love interest to be compelling. However I did role my eyes after reading the final page, it was going so well up until then but I’m sure the ending will leave fans clamouring for more.
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