Pandemonium is the sequel to the hugely popular Delerium set in a dystopian world where love is a disease. I have to admit that when I read Delerium last year I wasn’t overstruck by it; I enjoyed reading it and definitely wanted to read the sequel after that ending, but as there were a few ‘love is bad’ books around, I don’t think I gave it enough a chance in hindsight – when I scanned through it before starting Pandemonium, I realised it was actually really good. Pandemonium however, blew me away from the moment I started reading it.
After the dramatic ending and separation of Alex and Lena in Delerium, Pandemonium takes place in two separate strands of time titled then and now. This really effectively conveyed Lena’s grieving process for Alex and how she came to be involved in rebel efforts. I did enjoy the then section purely for Lena’s character development and how she came to be who she was at the start of the book, however the sections ‘now’ were my personal favourite in terms of plot. There is a lot I could discuss in terms of plot and specific moments, but I feel that I would be openly spoiling the book for those who haven’t read it yet.
The new characters were interesting and I particularly loved the significance of one minor character that I hope will be explored further in the final installment. My favourite of the new cast was Julian as he developed so well throughout the course of the book and I thought his internal conflicts were really well done and mirrored Lena’s in Delerium.
Lauren Oliver’s writing is tight, full of wonderful metaphors and language and pulled me into Lena’s world. The emotions are raw, visceral and the opening section of then when she is running in the wilds was utterly heartbreaking. I dare you not to be moved by it. Oliver has a gift for simple, beautiful images and her words are clearly carefully chosen. This is the sort of book that can be shelved in the young adult or the adult section and has a mature, but not pompous, narrative style. I recommend a book like this for people who say YA is poor writing so they can see how wrong they are.
It is rare for a second book to exceed its predecessor in a series, but in this case, Pandemonium for me was the exception to this rule. I absolutely adored this book and could not put it down! I highly recommend it to all YA fans and readers.
The ending, as in Delerium, is one that leaves you desperate for the next book. I think I actually may have squeaked out a little mini-scream when I read it because I need to know what happens next. I think as a reader, you will either love or hate these endings. I feel a little bit of resentment, I have to admit, for having to wait, but when I consider other popular YA series, such as the Hunger Games, the second book generally has ended on a significant cliffhanger of sorts so this seems to be standard for trilogy. I received this book for free from Hodder & Stoughton to review. As ever my review has not been affected by this.