If you like: resistance fighting * survival * love
Pandemonium picks up shortly after Delirium left off. (See my review of Delirium here.) We follow Lena as she searches out other survivors in the Wilds. Lena meets up with a group who survive with limited supplies by being shrewd with all resources. Their leader, Raven, lives with a compulsive efficiency. As winter comes, the group relocates to avoid the harsh New England winter. During the course of their journey, they meet up with members of the resistance and Lena, along with Raven and a few others, reintegrate into society in order to act out against the establishment. As the newest member to the group, Lena is uninformed and believes she has the smallest of roles to play. As the demonstration manifests, she learns that she is pivotal to the outcome of the plan.
Pandemonium differs in many ways from its predecessor. Gone are the introductory proverbs and much of the mystery that shrouded Delirium. Now that we are familiar with this world, it has lost some of its magic. Pandemonium is much more of a book about fighting oppression than developing a sense of self. Lena is given sage advice from the other survivors she meets, but she does not have the open relationship with any character that she had with Hana or Alex in Delirium. Pandemonium also differs from Delirium in its chronology, alternating between the present and the recent past. In some ways this does a disservice to the plot, as we know characters in peril survive unharmed in the present.
Pandemonium was not the book that I wanted it to be. I was looking forward to following Lena's journey as she met up with the survivors Alex had introduced her to in the first book. Outside of the heavily regulated safe zone, I thought Lena would finally discover who she was. Instead, Lena finds herself in a different sort of dictatorship, where she is forced into joining the resistance by default. I think seeking out and choosing to join the resistance on her own would have been a much more powerful story for Lena. In fact, Lena seems almost powerless as an antagonist. In her early life, she believed what she was told by society. After having that world shattered, she immediately falls in step with the resistance. In Delirium, Lena is motivated by her love for Alex. In Pandemonium, Lena is driven by her infatuation with Julian. I want want a heroine who serves herself, not one who is constantly bound to a romantic partner. After learning that everything she has been told her whole life is a lie, Lena should be more discerning and not just submit to everyone she meets.
If you have just walked sixty miles and are looking for some sanctuary, read Pandemonium.
Oliver, Lauren. Pandemonium. New York: HarperCollins ebooks, 2012. Kindle Edition.