Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Review: Pandemonium

Pandemonium (Delirium, book two)
By Lauren Oliver, read by Sarah Drew
Published 2012 by HarperCollins
WARNING: There will likely be spoilers ahead. To read my review of book one, go here.
Things for Lena are radically different than they were just a few short months ago. Now, she tries to push away her thoughts of Alex and Hana, struggling to adjust to the life she's forced to live now. Things are about to change for Lena again.
Despite what I find to be a rather ridiculous premise, I rather enjoyed the first book in this series. When I finally had some free space on my iPod, I went ahead and downloaded the second book. Here's where I'll put my notes on the format: I still can't get used to Sarah Drew as a narrator, and I'm pretty sure I should stop listening to books that she reads. She just sounds too much like Mandy Moore and it's so distracting for me. Additionally, I really wish I had read this one instead of listened: the constant temporal switching in the narrative was really difficult to follow in audio form unless I was paying very close attention.
That being said, I think this is a pretty successful second book in a trilogy. Often, the second book suffers, as the author is sometimes just filling space while building to the epic finale that will be book three. Oliver apparently knows what she's doing, as that's not the case in this book. Despite my problems following along with it, I think the flashbacks work really well here to keep readers engaged in the story. I think without them, the book would have easily fallen into the dreaded second book slump, so kudos to Oliver.
But, I have to take a bit of my praise of her away for returning to that old trope: the love triangle. If there were as many love triangles in real life as there are in novels, I don't think anyone would ever settle down and find their match. In general, love triangles fall in my "I just don't care enough" wheelhouse, and this one isn't really any exception. I suppose what might make it more interesting is thinking of it in the context of the world that Oliver has created but, really, we all know I don't have time for that.
Overall, this is a strong sequel to an interesting series starter. I'll be reading book three to see how it all wraps up.

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