Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins

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 flame.  -

OMG!!  Where to begin.  How about with some questions?  Did I just wait impatiently for a year for this book to come out?  Yes, I did.  Did I have high expectations of this book since the first one was so phenomenal?  Certainly.  Did it live up to all my expectations and completely blow me out of the water?  Yes, yes, yes!!

Pandemonium was not only a fantastic sequel, picking up right where Delirium left off, but it took me to new places that I never expected to go.  I've read a lot of good sequels...ones where the author manages to keep my interest into a second book, moving his or her characters through new obstacles.  A great sequel, a great book in general even, has a special mixture that usually, for me, contains the following: 1. gradual growth of the characters, the kind of growth that doesn't change my opinion of them but actually makes me like them even more as I watch them learn and journey into new emotional territory, 2. new dangers and experiences that they must face and overcome, but not seeming as if they were thrown in just to give the characters a checklist of things they have to hurdle before they can say, "okay, can we be happy now?" 3. great writing that often makes me go, "wow, oh my lord, that was beautiful," 4. gut-wrenching moments that make me want to cry for them, and 5. a building momentum of energy that makes me fly through the pages, even as I can't get through them fast enough.  Pandemonium had all of this.

Lena changes, grows, and changes again.  She adapts to her new circumstances, and you can actually see it happening in such a gradual progression, and this is one of the things that makes Lauren Oliver's characters so compelling.  There are no skipped get to see it all and experience it with the characters where, at the end, you feel like you were there with them. 

Did things go perfectly?  Of course not.  A lot changes in this story that I didn't expect, including a little surprise twist to the love story that I thought I would hate, but ended up loving, despite myself.  Julian was such a wonderful addition to this story.  He was a great character struggling with much the same things that Lena did in Delirium, but with the added twist of his kind of being the son of one of the most powerful men in their world who is doing everything he can to ram the cure down everyone's throats.  I loved seeing Julian's progression from dutiful son to, well, not so dutiful son who thinks for himself.  I can't really say much more without some major spoilers here, but suffice it to say, I'm so very, very torn now.

This story was beautifully written, and Lauren Oliver has such a unique voice.  There were times that I had to go back and reread a passage just for its beauty.  This is a greatly talented writer, and my only disappointment was how it ended.  Because it had to end and now I have to wait a year for the third book to come out!!  This is going to be agony.  Awesome book!!

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