Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Sky, the Sea, and the PANDEMONIUM

By: Lauren Oliver
Reported by: Julianna Helms
Source: Trade with friend
Release date: February 28th, 2012

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
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.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

-Summary from Goodreads
Published by: HarperTeen
Pre-order: Barnes&Noble||Amazon||The Book Depository

Look at the sun and see the clouds and the faces in the sky; what do you see? There are glowing animals and sharpened weapons, an eternity of possibilities buried within our own imagination. Pandemonium is the sky, and its cloud burn with a passion.

The beginning of Pandemonium is slow. Slow with a trail of beautiful words obscuring its monotonous events. I had no simple wish of knowing the number of jars on a counter, of what sort of absurdity they contained, since they held no pertinence to the story except to express an obvious poorness. It was dragging on and on, and though yes, I needed to understand and adjust to the Wilds, I had no wish for an abundance of gorgeous, plot-less language.

Enter page 165. This one quote (note, it's from the ARC, so it may be altered in the final copy) finally grounded me into the story... and from there on, Lauren Oliver captivated me once again.

"Her eyes have softened now, and I see how tired she is, and must always have been--to live for years and years and years this way, having to rip and shred just for a space to breathe."
After that halfway mark, you could hear a pin drop in the entire pandemonium of everything and everyone (pun intended).  There were times when chills swallowed me whole, and I couldn't breathe. There were times when I wanted to smash the words apart, to rip the boundaries of fiction and reality and charge in for vengeance. Yet, as the action skyrocketed beyond expectation, and stakes reached above the edge of our sight, a subtle but constant annoyance slowly peaked within me.


There was nothing specifically wrong with Lena. I could understand her motivation and intentions fairly well, and I can't exactly blame her for her choices--they had to be made. Except for one choice: and that is the one you see precariously inserted in the summary, that she may just fall in love again.

That, my dear friends, is my biggest problem. Oh, Lena, I know you thought your old love was dead. I know that things have been terribly hard and obscenely intense and staggeringly scarring, but were you really so desperate you could not help but fall in love with someone who couldn't possibly compete with what your old love did for you? I know love is a hopeless trap you can't claw your way out of once you fall in, but why oh why did you fall in in the first place? Did you forget? I know not everyone feels this way--quite the number of my friends certainly preferred Lena's new choice over her old one, but I'm sorry, I just can't see it. I'm torn between sympathy and understanding for Lena and fury at her for forgetting the most important thing of all. I suppose, then, that I will have to make my mind up in Requiem. Oh, please, will someone hand that aesthetic to me? Now?

Pandemonium is well worth its name. Its roads have diverged into the then and now, and without the fantastic imagination of the mind-blowing Lauren Oliver, it could have easily drowned in the deadly sea of second-books-that-suck-in-a-trilogy.

Even if it did--and it didn't--no matter. Lauren Oliver is known for her life rafts.


  1. This is a lovely review! I never really had a desire to read Delirium (yeah, I know. I was a fan of Liesl & Po but wasn't too keen on Before I Fall) but this review makes me want to change my mind. I love the way you described how this book made you feel, it's very rare when a book gets to you like that.

    novel sounds


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