Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

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.

In this electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller Delirium, Lauren Oliver sets Lena on a dangerous course that hurtles through the unregulated Wilds and into the heart of a growing resistance movement.  This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

No.  Just no.  Lauren Oliver, why did you have to go for the love triangle?  Hasn’t that been done enough already in YA?  I know it generates excitement amongst fans, but really?  Really?  That wasn’t necessary, you know.

My personal cliché gripes aside, Pandemonium was actually a pretty good sequel.  There were some great plot twists, a decent amount of character development and some world-building expansion, but there wasn’t that wow-factor some sequels have.  Lena changed quite a bit from her old, soft city self and into the harder but still emotionally vulnerable girl from the Wilds.  She’s also learned to hide her emotions better, which makes her interactions with Julian Fineman interesting.  Seeing her feelings develop for him and the confusion she feels over Alex’s alleged death makes for quite a bit of internal conflict, but at times it felt manufactured.

What I did like (although it took a little getting used to) was the flipping back each chapter between ‘then’ and ‘now’, Lena’s time in the Wilds and her current undercover mission in the city, respectively.  Not only did it convey background information without info-dumping, it led to very suspenseful moments, especially near the end.  And the plot twists, wow!  I saw the very last one coming, but the others?  For the most part, no.  Despite the love triangle (ugh) I actually like where the trilogy is going.

So there was decent character development, especially in Julian as odd as it sounds, a fast-paced plot and a fascinating cliffhanger.  Overall, Pandemonium was a good sequel, but I wouldn’t call it a great one.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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