Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: Feb 2012
Classification: YA Novel
Summary from Goodreads:
I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.
Since I just finished this book a few minutes ago and I’m still in a state of shock I have no clue how crazy this review is going to sound because I’m going to ramble on about my feelings for the book while trying to give nothing away! Wish me luck…
Of course after the cliffhanger ending in Delirium everyone was dying to know what happened with Lena and the big question of, is Alex still alive. Obviously if you have ever watched any movie or anything you should well know by now that a main character can not just die before their storyline is reached. I mean we always knew that Harry Potter was not going to die in the last epic battle so while I was upset that Lena didn’t have Alex by her side I knew there was no way in hell he could be dead, it just wouldn’t fit the purpose of the storyline.
So while Alex was missing for the story I really liked how Oliver showed the readers different perspectives of Lena’s life through chapters of Then and Now. During the Then portions Lena is just barely getting into the Wilds and figuring out how to live there with a band of Invalids that took her in when they found her half dead in the woods. In the Now portions Lena is already hardened to the world around her, nothing gets through to her anymore as she is now part of the resistance and she has a job to do. Her job involves Julian, who is the son of the leader to a major organization that is trying to get the cure out to people as quickly and as soon as possible, their end goal is to allow kids to get cured well before the age of 18.
Personally I liked watching Lena struggle during the Then sections and I liked watching as she grew up. The setting of Pandemonium was not the happy go lucky smoke and mirrors world that Lena had grown up in during Delirium. This time around she is living in the Wilds where everything is harsh, cold, and only the fit survive with a bit of luck and help from the outside world. Lena keeps Alex in her heart during these times but you can tell she has to learn to live a life that is completely different from everything she has ever known. Gone are the words of love and encouragement that Alex once gave her, we are now in a darker world. I also liked seeing what Lena was up to in the Now sections because we get to see this strong girl but underneath we still get glimpses that she is still the same Lena that she once was, the Lena that Alex fell in love with.
Overall, I know I’m telling you pieces of the plot in my review but I felt it was important to discuss the Then and Now sections because they really focus in on bringing Lena to life in a way we never saw her before. Before she was ok to lean on Alex and others for help and finally we see her in Pandemonium as a woman who has come to believe she has to survive in a world that is not sympathetic to the love she has in her heart. I loved that this story had major plot lines that were missing from Delirium. I liked that this tale was a little darker, that Lena has woken up to what is really going on in the world. It is almost as if Oliver gives readers a new history to believe in because her world is rather complex for something she made up on her own. I love that readers everywhere can read about Lena’s struggles and while she didn’t seem so kick ass in Delirium I would say she has certainly grown to be put up there with Katniss from The Hunger Games. I personally am dying to see where Lena and her group of Invalids end up next. I tell you after the cliffhanger ending in this book I can’t wait to read the third book in this series. I must have more!