Book Review : Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Alex is dead! Lena drags herself through barely existing in the wild. Finally, Lena grabs back onto life in the wild as a way to hang onto Alex. Raven acts as a mother to Lena and this small band of humanity trying to survive in the wild. Everything changes on the day Lena discovers the signal, RED. And, red means run.
Lena is undercover as part of the resistance with Raven and Tack living in New York. Her job is to observe, and to not let Julian, the son of the leader of the DFA, out of sight. In the confusion at the rally Lena almost loses Julian and barely makes it into a corridor witnessing him being kidnapped. And worse yet, she is kidnapped too with only her backpack, The Book of Shhh, a few granola bars and an umbrella. Julian believes he will be ransomed, but Lena knows no one will pay a ransom for her.
Adult Point of View
In ways Pandemonium looses it’s edge, but it still gives the reader some new things. We learn that there are at least two factions within the people who live in the wild, the resistance and the Scavangers. We also learn of the DFA (Deliria-Free America), a new extremist faction within the city. DFA’s moto is “CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS. SECURITY IS IN THE DETAILS. HAPPINESS IS IN THE METHOD.”(p.105) Julian has had brain cancer and has already had several operations, he is now the poster child for the cause of the DFA, that everyone should receive the Cure at an earlier age regardless of the risks. It is highly likely that he will die from having the Cure and his father wants to set the example, even if it means sacrificing his son. I liked seeing the growth in Julian as he came to accept that Lena was an invalid from the Wild.
Lena is no longer questioning authority like she did in Delirium, and her perspective has flipped completely around now seeing the city as “zombieland”. As Lena builds a relationship with Julius it feels too similar to the situation with Alex, and as you could guess is a set up for a love triangle. (I am silently screaming because I am so tired of love triangles.) I am really offended that once again Lena has her shirt off with the boy ogling her and she is okay with the situation. Is this realistic? I hope not. I was really glad to see that Lena takes a more active role in her own life, choosing to live, choosing to help Julian and being willing to leave the familiar if she felt like it was the right thing to do.
I also liked Raven, that she was tough on the exterior, but we discover it is just a way to mask the pain of everything she has lived through. Our natural inclination is to cheer for those that thumb their nose at society and seek freedom. Through Raven’s character we get a glimpse of the cost in hardship those who are free live with daily. Freedom is not cheap.
I didn’t originally like how the author was flipping back and forth from then and now, but as the two times became a reflection of each other I thought it added depth. As far as middle books go in trilogies this one is pretty good. I liked Delirium more, because everything was fresh, but Pandemonium was certainly not bland.
3 out of 5 stars
– the Mother
The teen will review this soon. I am going to let her read this series since she is nearly 15.