Bookanista Recommendation: PANDEMONIUM

Happy Bookanista Thursday! Today I’m thrilled to recommend one of my favorites of 2012 thus far:

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)

From Goodreads: I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
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.

I adore everything about Lauren Oliver’s writing. Seriously. She could write 80,000 words about her latest trip to the grocery store and I’d happily pay $17.95 for the hardcover. She has an amazing way with words. She crafts protagonists who are smart and strong and likable, and romantic interests who are thoughtful and layered and, um… hot.

A little background: Delirium sat on my nightstand for months. I passed it up time and again because I couldn’t get excited about another dystopian (I’ve been underwhelmed by several lately), and, honestly, I thought the idea of love-as-a-disease was a little hard to buy into . Then I won an ARC of Pandemonium and knew I’d have to give Delirium a go before I could start on its follow-up. Well, turns out Delirium was pretty good. So good, in fact, I dove straight into Pandemonium upon finishing it.

Let me tell you, Pandemonium was AMAZING. It grabbed me immediately and never let go. If you were disappointed by the slow pace and inherent quietness of Delirium (I, incidentally, was not), you should know that Pandemonium is quite a turn around. While it’s similar to Delirium in that it boasts gorgeous writing and gripping characters, it’s also action-packed, with tension that made it utterly unputdownable.

Pandemonium is told in a then-and-now format, which had me turning pages at an alarming rate, anxious to find out what was going to happen next in each of the dual story lines. It was also an ideal format for illustrating Lena’s transformation and how it relates to her role in the resistance. She’s not a perfect girl, especially when she first enters the Wilds. She breaks down (for good reason), and she has her selfish moments. But, she is intrinsically strong, and she fights for what she wants, what she believes in. I love that about her. (In case you’re interested, Forever YA describes Lena’s awesomeness in their Pandemonium review a heck of a lot better than I did here!)

This installment of the trilogy introduces several new characters, many of whom I came to adore (Julian and Raven, especially). It also delves a little deeper into Lena’s world, the United States that declared love a communicable disease, but if I had one gripe about Pandemonium (and Delirium as well, actually), it would be the slight lack of world building. While reading, I found myself wanting to know more about the restructuring of the country’s boundaries, the government, and the histories of the DFA and varying resistance groups. Something tells me, though, that we’ll get more background in the third and final book of the trilogy.

Even considering world building that I found to be slightly lacking, I was still entirely consumed by Pandemonium, a true testament to the importance of exceptional writing, relationships readers care about, and characters they can’t help but root for.

And the end… Oh! Em! GEE!

(Haha! No spoilers here!)

I highly recommend Pandemonium (and Delirium!), and I cannot wait to read the final book in this trilogy, not to mention any and all of Lauren Oliver’s future work.

Check out what my fellow Bookanistas are up to today:

Christine Fonseca is awed by A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS

Stasia Ward Kehoe shares some scoop on DEAR TEEN ME

Tracy Banghart thinks SCARLET is spectacular

Gennifer Albin brings you her Bologna trendwatch

Jessica Love sings for NEVERSINK – with giveaway!

Shelli Johannes-Wells interviews LACRIMOSA author Christine Fonseca

Tell me: Have you read Pandemonium? What about Lauren Oliver’s other books? Thoughts?