As I mentioned yesterday, I won a copy of Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver from the Hush Hush Fansite. And now I'm giving my copy away, so if you want to enter to win it, you can head over to this post.
Anyway, I have SO much to say about this book and I'm dying to discuss it with other people. However, I know a lot of you haven't read it yet, so I'm going to divide this review parts. First, I'll post something for the people who haven't read it yet. I'll tell you why I think you should. Second, I'm going to write a bit more in-depth discussion for people who have read it and, like me, are dying to share thoughts about it. Okay, let's go!
For those who haven't read it
What are you waiting for!? Read it! Seriously. Anyway, it's a really excellent follow up. I don't think it really has any of the problems that normally plague second books in a trilogy - it doesn't feel like one giant set up for the third book. It honestly could almost be a stand-alone novel, with just a tiny bit more background information. It feels totally different from Delirium. Lena has definitely changed and grown up more,but I personally liked that it was so different. It felt new and fresh. Also, the novel shows her transformation, so it didn't feel to sudden.
I should mention, I guess, that the novel jumps back and forth, divided into "Then" (what follows immediately after Lena jumps the fence) and "Now" (several months later). You might have seen that if you saw the sneak peak at the end of Delirium. Anyway, I was worried, when I saw the sneak peak, that all the back-story, "Then" parts would bore me. After reading it, I have mixed feelings about the back-story. I felt, in the beginning, it was useful and interesting, but I think, towards the middle and end, it became less interesting. I was more caught up in the "Now" story and found myself skimming through the "Then" parts. BUT, that could be in part because the "Now" part was incredibly gripping.
Which brings me to my next point - Holy crap. I couldn't put the book down. Yes, the "Then" parts felt slow to me sometimes (but not all the time), but man - Lauren Oliver knows how to end a chapter on a cliff-hanger, so that you just have to keep flipping through. The novel contained so many unexpected twists, which I loved, because it kept things exciting. It was completely action-packed. And, as I said before, Lena grows up a lot, and she's a much stronger heroine in this book, which I loved. Overall - it's a great read. Pick it up soon! Once again, you can enter to win it here.
Okay, and now on to the spoiler-containing parts. If you haven't read it, you might want to stop reading now. This picture will act as a buffer.
|Warning: Spoilers beyond this point|
For those who have read it
Wow, I don't even know where to start!!
First of all, what did you guys think of Julian? I loved him and I think it was such a good idea to introduce a character like him. I seriously did not anticipate that he and Lena would end up falling for each other, and I thought that was such a good twist. I loved how he had a hidden life, so much below the surface. After hearing about his life, and his dad, I really began to sympathize with him. And I think it's such a cool idea -- that Lena could find something in common with someone who she had thought was her enemy. That maybe she doesn't really know who her enemy is. I always like it in books when warring sides come together.
I also liked how Lena ended up introducing him into the whole underground world. It was kind of role-reversal for Lena, since Alex had done that for her. And now here she was, doing it for someone else. Which brings me to another thing I liked about this book - I liked how empowered Lena was. She had so much strength. That was really cool to see. But at the same time, she still retained some of her old personality. I have to say though, sometimes I did question her transformation. I wondered if she would really change that much. But for the most part, I bought it. I thought the "Then" parts helped me to see how she could undergo this transformation. Also, she was, in some ways, poised to make a transformation at the end of the previous book, since she had pretty much nothing to lose and had nowhere to go but up. I guess I would say I went back and forth. Sometimes I believed it -- most of the time, I did -- but every once in a while I questioned it.
I also really liked the theme of tunnels in the novel - of people being complicated like tunnels, hard to navigate, and of people having tunnels within themselves -- all these webs within ourselves that we could just lose ourselves in. Oh, and of people sort of digging tunnels to each other, forging connections, like how Julian somehow dug his way into Lena's heart. I loved all that, and I loved how Lauren Oliver physically manifested this theme by having Lena literally be lost in a tunnel.
I also thought Lauren Oliver did a really good job of keep Alex present in Lena's life, despite his total absence from the action of the story. He was always in her thoughts, and things reminded her of him. I thought that was very realistic. And, as an added bonus, it kept him in the mind and memory of the reader, which was necessary for the CRAZY ending to have its full effect (more on that in a minute).
I didn't really like the fact that the Invalids had planned on Lena ending up in jail with Julian. Well, it's not that I didn't like it, per say, just that I didn't buy it. I mean, the entire plan was contingent on Lena following Julian into the tunnel, and they couldn't be sure she would do that. They couldn't even be sure that Lena would see him being taken into the tunnel. I mean, she did, but...you know...to me, that just seems like something way too unpredictable. Would they really base this entire, huge plan upon something so uncontrollable? I'm just not sure I buy it. And wouldn't there be another way for them to get Julian on their side? I don't know. In my opinion, this particular plot twist wasn't very well thought-out. To me, it seemed like something she just stuck in there, just to add another twist at the end.
Also, I said this after I read Delirium, but I'm still confused about why exactly the government wants to cure people of love. That wasn't explained in Delirium, and Pandemonium doesn't offer much explanation either. It was hinted in Pandemonium, I think, that the government does it so that they can deprive people of goods without the people revolting, but it was only briefly hinted at. I want more explanation! Maybe we'll get that in the next one.
And speaking of the next one - Oh my God. What about that ending? Crazy, huh? It was such a dramatic moment! I loved that. I mean, it was painful to watch, but I was also like, "Oh, this is gonna be good." If only the book hadn't ended right there! Darn it! But anyway, who do you guys think she'll end up with? I honestly have no idea, and I don't really have a preference for one boy over the other. Normally, in love triangles, I have a definite favorite, but in this case, I just can't choose! Well, then again, we haven't heard from Alex in a while, so it's possible he's changed. But I doubt it. I also wonder if maybe Lena is too different to still be compatible with Alex but, again, I kind of doubt it. He's so wonderful! But so is Julian! Ah, I can't pick. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what Lauren Oliver decides to do with the characters. I'm starting the countdown to Requiem now!