PANDEMONIUM is the thrilling, thoughtful continuation of Lauren Oliver’s dystopian trilogy, where citizens undergo brain surgery to cure amor deliria nervosa, a disease otherwise known as “love.”
In the first book, DELIRIUM, an uncured 17-year-old named Lena Haloway meets Alex. He seems safe; he even has the signature scarring to prove he’s been cured. He hasn’t, though, and the two fall for each other. He introduces her to the possibility that love might not be a disease despite society’s belief to the contrary. Lena also learns about the Resistance, and the Uncureds living in the Wilds, where love is free to bloom. Lena and Alex make a plan to join them, but during a botched escape, Alex is killed.
"PANDEMONIUM is the thrilling, thoughtful continuation of Lauren Oliver’s dystopian trilogy... Lauren Oliver’s finely crafted, fast-paced second installment is sure to thrill teenage and adult readers alike."
PANDEMONIUM picks up with Lena being cared for in the Wilds by the Invalids, a fringe group of Uncureds who fight for the social freedom to love. Out there, life is hard --- the Invalids must fight for every scrap of life, or they will starve. It is in the Wilds where Lena is reborn, transformed. The girl from DELIRIUM is no more. The new Lena is hard, a freedom fighter. She pushes thoughts of Alex out of her mind, and when she returns to civilization, she goes with a special task: watch Julien Fineman, the-soon-to-be-cured poster boy for a “Delirium Free America," also known as the "DFA."
But in a sudden twist of fate, Julien and Lena are captured by Scavengers --- havoc-wreaking, anarchic Uncureds --- who raid a DFA rally. Without hope of escape, they find themselves starved and tortured, but why? The Scavengers thrive on chaos. They do not fight for a cause, like the Invalids do. So why kidnap Julien and Lena? They are without a cause and not organized. Or are they?
Within the confines of their dark cell, a romance takes root between Julien and Lena. To Julien, Lena is just a girl, cured (she, like Alex, has the fake signature scarring), and free from disease. To Lena, Julien is the enemy. But their time together changes things, and she finds herself drawn to him, despite her love for Alex. Are her new feelings for Julien a betrayal to Alex? Lena finds herself conflicted. She does not want to grow attached to Julien, who just may not be the unwavering poster boy the DFA has made him out to be. Julien finds solace in Lena, opening up to her about his past --- a past he never had been able to share with anyone before.
Soon enough, however, they realize that maybe it wasn’t fate that threw them together, and that more complicated political machinations are behind their predicament.
Lauren Oliver’s finely crafted, fast-paced second installment is sure to thrill teenage and adult readers alike. PANDEMONIUM is as much about Lena and Julien’s unlikely romance as it is about our responsibility to each other --- how sacrificing one life for the good of many could be, in some instances, one life too many. This multi-layered novel will have readers questioning and thinking, and above all, cheering for amor deliria nervosa.
Reviewed by Jordana Frankel on March 23, 2012