Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Challenge 48 ~ “A dystopia.”


★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

I keep going over and over Pandemonium in my head to try and determine what I thought about it, but it’s not too easy to put into words. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great read – I mean, I read the whole thing in one evening – but in comparison to its prequel, Delirium, I struggled to enjoy it as much. In fact, I spent the majority of the novel waiting for them to reveal the return of Alex (because that was a. something I was pretty sure would happen, and b. something I definitely wanted to happen), and now that has happened on the very last page, I’m eager to read Requiem. However, maybe it was because of this that I missed what Pandemonium really had to offer, or maybe it was just an aspect of the plotline dragged out a little too far.

That whole last paragraph sounds pretty critical, but as I said, it’s pretty hard to put into words. I did enjoy the story – how else would I have read it in one day? – and it was beautifully written. For me, however, it just wasn’t what I was expecting, and I’m not sure if it was the logical next-step for the storyline. That doesn’t sound right, but what I’m saying is that after her assimilation into the wilds, I’m not sure a political encounter was right for the storyline. It felt a little clichéd and very much reminiscent of other dystopias (such as the Hunger Games trilogy). One of the prime strengths for me of the first novel was its simultaneous critique of the political environment, without transforming the entire plotline and character motivation into one solely on the politics.

Oliver commits her usual standard of excellence to the novel, however, with realistic characters, a well-balanced pace and a fantastic writing style. Even though I was not thrilled with the plotline choice for the second part, I was more than engaged and, as ever, wholly impressed by Oliver’s literary skills. Whilst I have still yet to collate a stable and cohesive set of thoughts on the novel, I am certain of my enjoyment of the book and an acknowledgement of its quality writing. As I write I am already seeking out the final in the trilogy, with the hope that this will justify some of my hesitations about Pandemonium and stabilise the trilogy’s position as a highly-ranked series.


Recommended for fans of:

  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  • The Death Cure by James Dashner
  • The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

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