Steph's Reviews > Pandemonium

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
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's review
Apr 14, 2015

liked it
bookshelves: 2012, reviewed
Read from February 27 to March 07, 2012

I have grown into somewhat of a diehard Lauren Oliver fan. I just like everything she does. That is basically my entire review for the novella Hana: I just like everything Lauren Oliver does. Guess what? That was a lie. I didn’t like this that much.

Okay, I liked it. That’s what a three star rating means to me: I liked it but there was something missing or something wrong. I expected better of this book. I spent a great deal of the book bored. It took me awhile to finish this. I felt completely detached from Lena’s story for most of the book. I really didn’t like the choice to split the book into Then and Now. I can see why she chose to tell the story that way, but it was like reading two completely different books, and I just kept finding myself annoyed that when I would finally get into what was happening in one section I had to read about the other.

I enjoyed all of the side characters in the Then story. I enjoyed reading about Lena’s interactions with them and the struggle of living among the Invalids. Oliver certainly knows how to make the feeling of grief tackle you from the pages of her story, dragging you down until you feel it right alongside her heroine. Much of Before was rife with emotion. Raven’s story in particular was especially harrowing and beautiful.

I enjoyed Now’s story much less. It felt too plain to me. It didn’t do anything to stand out from the many other dystopian novels on the shelves. There was just something about it that felt like I’d read it all before, and not even Lauren’s gorgeous prose could save it for me. I also didn’t buy the romance between Lena and Julian. I liked it only because Oliver seemed to be allowing Lena to move on instead of the usual in YA in which One True Love is all our heroine gets, but the relationship between them seemed to only be formed by proximity and chaos, and it didn’t feel entirely genuine to me. It seemed like Lena was falling for him when she wasn’t completely over Alex, instead of giving herself time to properly grieve and move on, which will only allow room for the (view spoiler) later on.

The book ended in a cliffhanger that I found predictable and very disappointing. I also have begun to grow a specific hatred for books that so obviously end in a cliffhanger this way, and it did nothing to improve my feelings toward the book. I really hope that the conclusion to this series is satisfying. If anyone can get it back on track it’s Lauren Oliver.
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Reading Progress

02/27/2012 page 46
12.0% "This cover is so different from my hardcover of Delirium. I wish the theme had stuck. I don't usually care about that, I swear! But I thought Delirium was so nice. The inside hardcover was really neat and not plain and Lena looked just like I imagined her. She wasn't quite so perfect." 1 comment
02/29/2012 page 100
27.0% "Kind of slow going so far? Meh. But the writing is lovely as ever."
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Anna Aww, so ultimately, not as good as Delirium? (Though I'm enjoying it quite a lot at this point.)

Steph Not for me, no :( But there was never a point when I was enjoying it a lot so that's a good sign on your end. I was kind of detached from it all the way through and I don't like cliffhanger endings so that didn't help.

Ms. Library well, thank you for telling me to wait to buy it, because we're usually on the same page with shit like that.
Man, that bums me out though.

Steph You might like it. I can see why people would. It just didn't work for me? The writing was still great but the plot fell short. There was a new love interest and it's not like I was super attached to Alex (though I prefer him) but I just never liked his character much and didn't buy the relationship or the way it bloomed. It was a big focus in the "now" section of the book. I think the flipping between "now" and "then" really threw me too. It felt like two different stories and since they shared a book they each felt incomplete to me. ESPECIALLY with a cliffhanger.

Anna See, so far (~60%), I've really enjoyed the Now vs. Then structure, and I think the two stories work well together. Some of the (intended) parallels between sections are a bit obvious, but others are quieter and interesting. I agree that the new love interest is less alluring than Alex, but I'm also not ready to throw in the towel and say that the romance doesn't make sense. Then again, we'll see what happens during the final 40% of the book.

Reynje I'm glad I'm not the only one who found the cliffhanger predictable and contrived. I do like Oliver's writing a lot, but this series just doesn't feel that strong, to me. Great review!

Maria i agree with your view on the Lena-Julian affair. i don't think it was needed. oh, well. i want more face time for Alex in book 3. i want to see him angry and hardened towards Lena. Ha! nice rev. :)

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