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Pandemonium | Lauren Oliver | Reviewed by Ria

You may remember me reviewing Delirium last November, well I finally got off my ass and read its sequel Delirium! Here's my review...[with spoilers ahoy! You have been warned]
Pandemonium cover
Pandemonium picks up the moment Delirium leaves off. Our protagonist Lena is fighting her way through the Wilds in a haze of smoke and fighting for dear life, having left Alex behind. She's rescued by Raven, who welcomes her into the group of 'Invalids' and the hideout she calls home. There Lena is introduced to life without Deleria regulation. She deals with both trying to fit into this new lifestyle as well as coping with survivors guilt, as well as the mounting pressure of a potential rebellion against the 'Zombie-land' or the place Lena used to call home. 

Fast forward a couple of months, Lena is in New York with Raven and another 'invalid' boy called Tack. They're now part of the resistance, Lena as an observer. But like with all Dystopian novels, trouble is only just around the corner.

I would tell you the rest of the plot, but that's the trouble with trying to write a review of Pandemonium...I would be leading you into a review of an infinite amount of spoilers! 
The format of the story is no secret. Each chapter alternates between the past - which is Lena living in the woods with the other Invalids - and 'now' - which is Lena actively involved in the resistance movement.

There's brand new characters. Raven, a slightly mysterious leader of the 'Invalid' group that rescues Lena; Tack, another 'Invalid' working with Lena and Raven; and most importantly Julian Fineman, son of the leader of the Deleria-Free America movement. Not mention the dozens of other secondary character Lena meets along her journey. And then there's Lena of course, who is now hardened with grief, beaten, bruised and now with valid reasons to be angry at the injustice in their world. Her experience has made her bitter and cynical, which is a great comparison to the self-doubting Lena we saw in Delirium.
Pandemonium cover2
So what's my verdict?
Pandemonium for me was fast-paced,  bloodier and definitely less focused on love than Delirium. With less focus on the pure romance, the story feels richer and grounded firmer in reality. This slight change in tone mean Lena feels less annoying than she did in Delirium now that she's moving, keeping active and fighting for a real cause - well at least to me she did!
Another thing I really loved about Pandemonium was the introduction to a much more diverse range of characters, from the 'Invalids', to those using more violent methods of rebellion, other outcasts, the 'cured' and the ruling class. Not to mention complexity in the form of Julian Fineman, who by the end of the novel becomes an important secondary lead to Lena.
The one criticism of the book that I and most people had was the chapter split. As each chapter jumps continuously between time lines, it can be hard to keep up - especially when you consider just how much happens in each chapter. However, when I tried to imagine the whole story unfolding consecutively...I just couldn't see the book as engaging as it was. Part of what made Pandemonium more engaging than Delirium was its pace and constant flow of information. My only gripe would be that there seemed to be whole chunks of the story missing when it did switch time lines.
All in all, a good sequel and I can't wait till Requiem come out!

Soundtrack:
Home: Daughter; City of Delusion: Muse; Permafrost: Laurena; Alibi: 30 Seconds To Mars; All You Need Is Love: The Beatles; Too Close: Alex Clare; Hear Me: Kelly Clarkson

For lovers of...Delirium, Mockingjay, Divergent and other rebellion based dystopian novels.

*all images (c)Ria Cagampang

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