Pandemonium - Lauren Oliver After the way Delirium ended, I was really excited about starting Pandemonium and looking forward to seeing how the characters and story would develop. I thought all my misgivings about Lena, her world, and the plot would finally be put to rest in this one. Regrettably, Pandemonium started off on the wrong foot, got successively worse, stayed that way throughout the book, but managed to end on a slightly better note.

The one thing I cannot overlook while reading a sequel is the character development. Pandemonium is sorely lacking in this respect. I couldn't bring myself to care about a single character, especially not any of the main ones. I had high hopes for Lena finally growing a spine after the way Delirium ended, but she's actually more mediocre in this book.

Julian was an unnecessary and useless character, clearly added only to make sure the book was kept interesting because Alex wasn't going to be in it and a YA novel simply fails if there's no hottie for all the readers to fangirl over.

Speaking of Julian, Lena got over Alex way too fast. Which was completely expected given how little time they'd spent together, but it would have been easy to ignore if Lena had toned down on all the declarations of true and eternal love first. She claims to love Alex, initially likes Julian because he resembles Alex, and then decides she loves Julian for himself. All within a little over 100 pages. Almost the exact same thing happened in Delirium but I mostly ignored it there because that book was so much fun, but you take an already boring book with no plot, inconsistent chapters, and then add insta-love for the second time on top of all that, and I'm thinking you should stick to contemporaries. I almost can't believe this is the same author that wrote Before I Fall. Harsh but true.

In addition, the alternating chapters between the past and present gave me a headache. I couldn't keep up with everything that happened, and not in the OMG-what-just-happened-that's-so-unexpectedly-amazing! way, but more in the meh-I-don't-even-care-anymore way. Pandemonium would have read much better if the book had been divided into two parts instead, one for the past and one for the present.

This book is, plot-wise, extremely short and feels more like filler than anything else. In trying to keep the Huge Cliffhanger at the End as such, it seems as if Oliver added the plot only as an afterthought, while all the focus was on making the ending seem as unexpected and shocking as possible. Also, the narration put me to sleep. Pandemonium has succeeded where most sleeping pills haven't. Awesome.

And finally, there's too much poetry. I love poetry, even more than I like novels sometimes, but what I do not like is the unsuccessful combination of the two. Again, I felt the focus should have been less on all the side elements and more on developing the plot and characters instead. I'll continue with the series, but only because I'm interested in seeing how Lena and Alex are going to work it out now that Julian's also in the picture. It'll be fun watching Lena grovel and Alex furious.

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