Pandemonium is the second book in the Delirium trilogy written by Lauren Oliver. You can read my take on the first book here. Let’s get started 🙂
Disclaimer: there will be spoilers.
In Pandemonium, the story starts off telling the tale of Lena in the Wilds: how she feels about Alex’s death, how she’s adapting and stuff like that. Alternately, there’s a separate story about what happens after Lena got out of the Wilds. So it’s like, one chapter it’s the past, and the next it’s the present, and after that it’s the past again, get it? I like how it’s told in that way ’cause sometimes midway reading through the book, I’d be like, can I not read about the past anymore? Lena’s life there is really… sad (I can’t think of a better word at the moment). Life in the Wilds is not at all what she’d envisioned it would be, when Alex brought her there the first time. It seemed magical to her even though they’re going to be living a much simpler life. But when Raven takes her in at the homestead and there are many more people cramming together under the same roof, and she had to eat with her hands and pee in a bucket, she’s starting to feel like an animal. Not my words, hers. There’s not much action going on in the past at the beginning, just more details into how Lena’s taking in her new life and such, so it’s not that interesting to read about, but at the same time it’s necessary. So the past and present thing going on chapter after chapter, it works. I personally prefer the present more ’cause there are more action involved.
In the present, Lena is on a mission to be as close to the head of the DFA (Deliria-Free America), Thomas Fineman as possible. Honestly, I forgot what the mission was about, but what I do remember is that it’s a trap. Lena goes to this DFA meeting before the big event where Thomas Fineman’s son, Julian Fineman would be cured despite risking death because he had a tumour in his head before (told you these people are crazy) so for the scientists to mess with his brain again, to be cured, it’s lethal. When Julian appeared, I had this feeling that he would join Lena, somehow be the force that tramples the DFA altogether. Well, it’s more or less that way. You’ll see later on.
The DFA event is then crashed by the Scavengers (who are also people who want the freedom to love, but they’re more aggressive and different from Lena and her group of Invalids) and at some point Lena and Julian gets kidnapped by them. They are both locked in a room together and at first Lena is disgusted with Julian, and he is too, with her, but as the days drag on, they start opening up–well, Julian starts to first–and that was when I started to like Julian. Like, even though he’s one of those crazies, the stories he told about himself somehow showed that he’s humane and unlike his father at all. I started feeling sorry for him and I also slowly gained a liking towards him too. He didn’t seem like such a bad guy after all, just overshadowed by his father (the actual, legit crazy) and the DFA.
After that, Lena and Julian manage to escape. I wouldn’t go into how they did it, but it was pretty cool. Then there’s a part in the sewage where the Scavengers find Lena and Julian escaping and they try to stop them, but they are saved by this person called the Rat-man instead. It was really weird to me, it’s like something that would happen in a cartoon, to be frank. At first, tons of rats appear out of nowhere and then the Rat-man comes out kicking the Scavengers’ butts. Not literally, but still. And then after Lena and Julian are saved, they are brought to this place where more “imperfect” people come to their aid, helping them heal their bruises and cuts and all. This lady with only half a face (the other half is disfigured) explains how she and her people are considered misfits to the world and have nowhere to go, so the underground is their home. That part, for me, even though it’s still a bit strange but their explanation is realistic enough to be acceptable. The Rat-man part though, I still find it too unrealistic. I know the whole trilogy about love being a disease itself is weird too, but at least the author made it realistic and believable, while Rat-man isn’t. To me.
Lena and Julian make it out of the “underground world” and they stop by this homestead Lena knew. At that point, they were starting to get close to each other. Actually even before that Lena seemed to be falling for him. It was hard for her to let herself fall in love again, not because she didn’t like Julian, but because she felt like she was betraying Alex. But when she finally came into terms that Alex is dead and she couldn’t let herself live with the past anymore, they kissed.
Cue the Team Alex-Team Julian fandoms.
(major spoiler alert!)
Wait, Alex is dead, right? Nope. He got thrown in the Crypts after he got caught, but he didn’t die. Lena just thinks he did, because well, he didn’t show up for months, so yeah she has a good reason to think that way. But yeah, at the last minute, when the chaos with the DFA and the kidnapping and all that stuff are over, Lena and her people along with Julian are to pack up and leave. During their time alone, Lena and Julian are promising each other that they would be together no matter what happens. That is when Alex shows up and says, “Don’t believe her.” Gosh, it was like the most epic ending ever. I literally put the book down and just sat there and thought for a minute about what just happened. It was literally the last page of the book, and it just had such a big effect on me. I was like, I don’t know if I want to read the third book now. Not because I hated that Alex came back, I was actually nervous to find out what could possibly go on between them in the final installment. Personally though, I liked Julian more than Alex (as of Pandemonium) so I was rooting for Julian at that time.
I don’t think I’ve read a better cliffhanger than this.
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