Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

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Lena contracted the deadliest of deadly diseases; amor deliria nervosa. For that, Lena had two choices; be cured of her ability to love or run. She and Alex chose to run. Now Alex is dead and Lena is on the other side of the fence nearly dead. She is taken in by some Invalid homesteaders who teach her how to survive in the Wilds. In return, they ask her to join the resistance and place her back inside the fence, where she might find someone else worth loving.

I don’t like Julian. He’s just a sob story with no personality. He has no inner conflict. He’s a product of abuse and a flawed system, and he’s just broken. Julian does not find any healing, and he doesn’t find any anger. He has no willingness to fight back or change. He just wants to lay down and give up, and if that ever does change for him, we don’t get to see it. On a side note, am I the only one concerned about what happens if/when Julian’s cancer comes back and he’s wandering through the middle of the forest? Yeah? Okay.

Lena learning the rules in the Wilds is infinitely more interesting than watching her inside the fence again. She’s learning her place in the Wilds, and she’s building a new Lena. A Lena who knows love and loss and embraces those emotions. The new Lena knows compassion and tough love. She recognizes that the difference between her and the Zombies is her ability to act based on these emotions. This Lena also knows anger and hatred in a way the old Lena never had an opportunity to. She knows how to use it to fuel her, and she knows how to channel it to help her accomplish her goals.

It’s the same story in Manhatten as it was in Portland: conceal, don’t feel, don’t let it show. Lena Morgan Jones is cured, and so she is held to a higher standard of apathy. In a way, that makes it easier, I think. This new Lena, the one that has come out of the Wilds, has lost everything, and rebuilt herself back up. She doesn’t know anybody inside these walls, she only has her mission to worry about and her faith in the resistance to keep her moving forward.

The breakout scene was reminiscent of Lena’s first evaluation from Delirium. Lena is the Invalid this time, watching from the balcony as all hell breaks loose in the lab room below. It’s ironic; she is very much the Alex of this novel. She’s, like Alex did for her, is showing Julian about love and the freedom to feel it. She’s showing him that it’s not a disease, and that the people inside the fence are just looking for control. Alex helped Lena escape a Valid community, and now Lena is doing the same for Julian. Things have come full circle.

The ending is a disaster. Way to let me know that this entire book was just filler for the third book. Where we will have to sit through a horrible, mind-numbing, inconsequential love triangle that we all know the end to. Thanks. Really.

TL;DR

  • 3/5 stars
  • Did you catch the Frozen reference?
  • Julian is very thin, lacks substance
  • The ending? Really?
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