Also check out our review of Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver.
Lena Haloway contracted the Deliria. She ran away from Portland and her identity has been Invalidated. Lena Halowey has never existed according to the people in charge. But a new Lena was born when the old Lena was erased. And now Lena Haloway has to go home.
Hanna Tate reported her best friend when she contracted the Deliria. She’s the reason Lena left and the reason Alex is dead. When the Lena ordeal is over, she gets to go back to her life engaged to the future mayor. But maybe Hanna should be more worried about Frank’s past than his future.
Oliver seems to struggle with resolutions, which is fine when the series is continuing, but not so much in a book meant to conclude a story line. I would like to see what comes next for Lena and the resisters. What comes after they’ve torn down that wall? I guarantee it’s not the end of the war; the government’s not going to give up that easy. And what about the people who were already cured? Is there a way for them to be uncured?
The entire second book was a waste of paper. It was filler that was designed to string the reader along to the ending of that book so the main conflict of the final installment could be established. You’d
hope think that the main conflict in a story about a Resistance fighter would be said Resistance’ struggle against the DFA and the Scavengers and the fascist and corrupt government. You’d be wrong. The main conflict of this story is a love triangle.
It’s not even a great love triangle either. Is it really a competition when one of your suitors is bland and boring, barely speaking a full paragraph in the entire novel? Where’s the fun in a love triangle where the main character has to choose between a boy who annoys her more every day she’s with him and a boy she can’t take her mind off of? What is supposed to convince us that she’s going to choose Julian? The fact that she should? The fact that she rescued him from the DFA in New York and brought him into the Wilds, where he has no clue how to survive? That’s laughable, because if there’s one thing Lena’s learned in the Wilds, it’s that should doesn’t mean anything. Lena’s choice was obvious before she even had a chance to make it.
It was great to see Hanna again, and watching her struggle in her new life was the most compelling part of this novel (though I am completely confused at to why Oliver thinks splitting the narrative this way is the only way to write a good story. It didn’t work on Glee, and it’s barely working here.). Frank is the epitome of everything Resistance is fighting against. He’s a dictator trying to maintain control Portland by restricting the rights and privileged of those he’s deemed wrong. He’s willing to let people die as long as it helps him maintain his precious order.
Hanna’s story is so much more compelling because she’s supposed to be safe. She’s fully committed to the ideals of this society. She’s gotten the cure, she’s set to be married to the mayor, she’s forgone her education and any possible career she had so she could marry Frank and be a good wife. And her society is failing her. Her cure didn’t take as expected, something that isn’t her fault, but that she’d surely be punished for. Her husband is psychotic, with some insane new ideas about how to rule Portland with an iron fist. Her city is being attacked by the resistance, who her best friend ran off to join. And somehow, Hanna manages to keep going. It’s remarkable, and indicative of her resilience.
- Ending was unsatisfying
- Poor attempt at a love triangle
- STOP. SPLITTING. THE. NARRATIVE.
- Hanna Tate has still got some fight left in her