Thursday, 16 January 2014

'Pandemonium' and 'Requiem' (Delirium Trilogy, #2 and #3) by Lauren Oliver: A Book Review

Hello, my Geekie friends!

So I finished the Delirium Trilogy in less than three days. I just had to! There were too many cliffhangers everywhere and I couldn't stand the suspense!
  

(Click here for my Delirium book review.) 

Let's start with the second book in the series, Pandemonium.


Here's the summary, courtesy of www.goodreads.com:
"I’m pushing aside
the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana
and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame."


After the devastating events of the first book, Lena must force herself to start a new life in the Wilds, to forget all memories of her old life and be reborn as a new girl, in a new world, in a new city.
The novel is written in a different pattern as compared to the first one. One chapter is about her life 'then' (when she finds herself in the Wilds) and the next chapter focuses on 'now' (when she takes on her duties as a rebel).
Initially I was confused by this new format, but I really started to enjoy it! Both 'now' and 'then' plotlines just pulled me into the book. I practically ate this book up!


The writing style, the story, the romance... everything is miles ahead of the first book. I'm not giving away any spoilers, but I found the love story especially juicy in this one!

Two characters I really liked were Julian and Raven. And Lena has grown up so much in this novel. She's no longer the whiny child from Delirium. She has shown some real character development; she is right to say that the old Lena is dead. Thank goodness, because the new one is so powerful!

The dialogues were amazing as always. My favourites include:

“I want to know." His words are a whisper, barely audible. "I want to know with you.” 

"When I’m running, there’s always this split second when the pain is ripping through me and I can hardly breathe and all I see is color and blur—and in that split second, right as the pain crests, and becomes too much, and there’s a whiteness going through me, I see something to my left, a flicker of color—and I know then, too, that if I only turn my head he’ll be there, laughing, watching me, and holding out his arms.
I don’t ever turn my head to look, of course. But one day I will. One day I will, and he’ll be back, and everything will be okay.


And until then: I run.”


 “We're on the other side of the fence now, Lena,' she says, tiredly, as she passes. "Don't you get it? You can't tell me what to feel.” 

Around the middle of the book, I was starting to get an idea of the way the story was progressing, and I had a feeling I knew what the cliffhanger was going to be. I really wanted it to be that ending, I really did.
And when I finally reached the last page, I was so happy! The book ended exactly the way I'd expected, but it didn't disappoint me one bit. Instead, it left me wanting more.

I'm going with 4 stars out of 5 for Pandemonium.

A vast improvement from the first book in the series. Amazing work, Lauren Oliver!

Of course, I had to start reading Requiem immediately.

 I was so desperate to know how the story would play out in this finale, how the rebellion would finally begin and bring peace to the world where love is considered a sin.

According to Goodreads, this is what Requiem is all about:

"They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.
But we are still here.
And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.
Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.
But we have chosen a different road.
And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.
We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge."


The format in this book is, again, completely different. Now there are two narrators, Hana and Lena. I liked reading both their points of view, although obviously I favoured Lena's a little bit more because Hana's was just full of weddings and sleep and biking. It was good to get into Hana's head for once, though.

The way Lauren Oliver writes is breathtaking. I could visualise every scene in my head, as if I were watching a movie and not reading a book. 
But the problem is that her characters have... changed. Lena seems different from the girl she was in Pandemonium. She's ruthless, jealous, selfish, unkind, and at times it feels like she herself doesn't know what she wants. It's as if all her character development from Pandemonium got sucked into the black hole and left her hanging with no personality whatsoever.
What happened to the love story? I know there are more important things in this trilogy, like the aspects of war and freedom, but Amor Deliria Nervosa is still central to the plot. I didn't see much of it in this book. That was disappointing. 


I liked reading about Hana, and her relationship with her soon-to-be husband, Fred. Hana is cured now, so obviously there's no romance in her chapters, but Lena may as well have been cured. Did she forget about her lover in the midst of all this fighting?

The dialogues were good, but... not as beautiful as the ones in Pandemonium.

“Mama, Mama, put me to bed
I won’t make it home, I’m already half-dead
I met an Invalid, and fell for his art
He showed me his smile, and went straight for my heart.” 


"I'll find you," he says, watching me with the eyes I remember. "I won't let you go again."
I don't trust myself to speak. Instead I nod, hoping that he understands me. He squeezes my hand.
"Go," he says.”


Now, let's talk about the ending. Or lack thereof. 

The book ended, and I didn't even realise it until I saw that there were no more pages to read. What? What happened to resolving things? What happened to the rebellion, to the characters, to the cureds? What happened to the government?

I like open endings, but this one was more like an open middle. The story deserved some finality, but received none. Why?

 
The ending thoroughly disappointed me. I was expecting so much more from the trilogy. The last book wasn't entirely a let-down, but it could have been so much better if there was any emotion in the characters. I guess I'll just have to fix the ending in my own head. 

I'm going with 2.5 stars out of 5 for Requiem. 

It was better than the first book in terms of story and plot, but much worse in terms of the romance, character development and the ending.

Overall, I liked Delirium, loved Pandemonium and felt disappointed by Requiem.

Still, I definitely recommend this series to any fans of YA dystopia. If you liked The Hunger Games, Divergent, Matched or Uglies, be sure to read this trilogy and tell me what you thought of it, especially the ending. What sort of ending were you rooting for? Let me know in the comments below. :)

Until next time!

7 comments:

  1. What would you say the themes are in Pandemonium?

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    Replies
    1. The main themes of this book... definitely empowerment, the importance of love, and the struggle for freedom.
      What do you think?

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    2. I agree. I think change plays a big role in it too. Lena's new surroundings caused her to be able to adopt to change which in turn made her into a stronger person.

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    3. Yes! Lena's character development from Delirium to Pandemonium... amazing!

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  2. Thanks for this! I loved this series absolutely but I was always looking for parts where Lena and Alex interact. I still didn't approve of Julian... :)

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