Cover of Pandemonium, with a white girl's face surrounded by yellow and green plants

About the Book

Title: Pandemonium (Delirium #2)
Published: 2012
Series: Delirium
Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Cover Story: The Garden Of BIG FACE
BFF Charm: Platinum
Talky Talk: Pretty… Pretty Intense!
Bonus Factors: Undercover Mission, High School Fantasy Realized
Relationship Status: Incurable Deliria

Cover Story: The Garden Of BIG FACE

Obviously, this cover was made to mirror the paperback of Delirium, which also features a BIG FACE surrounded by plants. I’m guessing this is a nod to Lena being in the Wild, but… WHY? WHYYYYY? Big faces on covers always freak me out, but this is like Lena pulling a “Heeeere’s JOHNNY!” a la The Shining through a flower bush. All bad covers and no good covers make Sarah an annoyed girl.

The Deal:

If you haven’t read Delirium, the first book in this trilogy, stop now! There be spoilers ahead! And if you have read Delirium, please note that I’ve kept my report purposefully vague. Trust me, you want to be surprised.

Even though we’ve had to wait an entire effing year to find out what happened after the end of Delirum, for Lena, only a few moments have passed. After Alex was shot at the border fence, she was forced to keep running, deeper and deeper into the Wilds, until she was luckily rescued by a group of Invalids, aka people who refuse to be cured. The first half of the book alternates between Lena’s slow recovery in the Wilds and her subsequent undercover mission in New York City, where she poses as a devoted member of Deliria-Free-America (DFA). Beyond listening and observing, Lena’s not sure what she’s supposed to do, until the day she’s told to follow Julian Fineman, the DFA founder’s son. And then… all hell breaks loose.

BFF Charm: Upgrade To Platinum

BFF platinum charm

Lena! Girl! MY how you’ve grown! It seems like only yesterday that you were a wussy goody goody on the cusp of becoming brave, and now, look at you! You’re a total badass! After losing Alex and almost dying in the Wild, you freaking picked yourself up off the ground, put one foot in front of the other and WORKED. IT. OUT. I’m so impressed by your courage and your determination (and your catlike reflexes!), but I’m glad to see that you haven’t hardened your heart too much. You’re still Lena the girl, not Lena the robot, and your warmth and compassion remain intact. I’m honored to ride alongside you on this emotional roller coaster, although, um, I really need to take a breather before we hop on the next one. Wanna split a funnel cake?

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

HOT TAMALE! Lauren Oliver really outdid herself with this one. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I really liked Alex, but JULIAN! Dang, boy! Your last name is NOT A LIE. On top of Julian’s hotness, Oliver added a sizzling layer of forbidden attraction, since Lena and Julian are natural enemies. (Do we have a phrase for that kind of thing yet? We really should. Enemy-traction? Enemistry?) Through a situation I shall not spoil for you, Lena and Julian are forced to get to know each other in a deliciously torturous manner, and the fact that Lena is more experienced in the ways of deliria than Julian ups the SEXAY to smoldering levels.

Talky Talk: Pretty… Pretty Intense!

If you’ve read Before I Fall or Delirium, you already know that Oliver’s style is achingly emotional and gorgeously compelling. Her words float up from the page and surround you until you feel like you’ve actually become a physical part of the book. But while her writing remains beautiful, Oliver really picked up the pace for Pandemonium, resulting in a seriously heart-pounding whirlwind of action and suspense. If you felt like Delirium was a little bit slow, you’ll be relieved to know that its sequel WON’T STOP TIL YOU GET ENOUGH. The chapters that take place during Lena’s recovery are naturally a bit quiet, but once she begins her mission in New York, it was really hard to resist the urge to speed read because I NEEDED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.

The only problem is that sometimes–ok, a LOT of the time–I totally saw what was going to happen from a mile away. (Esp. the end of the book. GAH THE END OF THE BOOK.) That didn’t make the story any less juicy, but it did make me roll my eyes a few times.

Bonus Factor: Undercover Mission

I LOVE it when characters have to go undercover. It’s so scary and intense and thrilling and OMG WHAT IF THEIR IDENTITY IS COMPROMISED? Oliver’s undercover storyline for Lena was a genius move, allowing us, the readers, further insight into the dystopian society while revealing Lena’s newfound badassery.

Bonus Factor: High School Fantasy Realized

I don’t really want to explain what this means, because I don’t want to spoil it for you guys, but you know how, in high school, you fantasized about getting trapped in a small dark place–an elevator, a janitorial closet–with your crush? Well, that kind of happens in this book. And it is AWESOMELY HOT.

Relationship Status: Incurable Deliria

I knew I’d caught it when I read Delirium, but now that I’ve met Pandemonium, I’m definitely a goner. After finishing this book, I’m experiencing all of the symptoms of deliria: light-headedness, racing pulse, chills of desire down my spine, warmth in my lady parts and the inability to focus on anything except WHEN IS THE NEXT BOOK COMING OUT? (Oh, shizz. I just realized Pandemonium gave me TEABS too! Dammit.) But while the wait will be excruciating, I’ll never undergo the procedure, because this book showed me that our love is worth the pain.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Harper Collins. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!).

Sarah lives in Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.