Saturday, March 3, 2012

Talking Books with Liz...Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

I have this friend. Her name is Liz. We both love books. A lot of the times we love, or hate, the same books. But without fail, if we've read the same book, we always discuss them. Always. So today, in the middle of one of our chats about, what else, books I had an idea. What if we talked about the books on my blog? Like a reoccuring segment, so to speak. Liz is irresistable to my southern charm (she lives in New Jersey) so of course she said yes.

Most of the time, this is how our chats begin.

(days before Holly has finished whatever book we're both reading at the same time)
Liz jumps on gchat- "I'm done with so and so book."
Holly- "I still have like 200 pages to go."
Liz- "I don't like how it ended."
Holly- "Well, so and so better show up but I'm thinking (insert weird twist my mind comes up with."
Liz- "I won't spoil it for you.
        Hurry up."

And like that, I'm on a mission to finish whatever book so that I can either A) share Liz's opinion or B) gush about how much I loved how it turned out and how I'm on pins and needles for the next one.

The scenario I just played out for you is pretty much exactly how our conversation regarding Pandemonium, the second in the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver, went.

Before I can talk about Pandemonium, I feel I must give a little back story into Delirium. Here is the blurb that will tell you more on it.

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
Before I give you my take on this, yes, this is a dystopian society book. Dystopian meaning it deals with a "what if" type of situation. What if this happened in the future. Much like The Hunger Games.

My review- 5 stars
Dystopian books are hit or miss with me. I loved Divergent, I wasn't that keen on Matched. I decided to give Delirium a go anyways. I'm really glad I did. This was a great read. Maybe it was because this "society" seemed more real to me, the characters seemed more real. Unlike in Matched where they were told everything they could or couldn't do, down to what time they ate, what they ate, and how they dressed, Delirium still gives you that sense that these kids have freedom (and that's said loosly) before they are cured.

My first thought, upon reading the first page of this book was the old saying, "Love conquers all". Well, by the end of the book I was still thinking that. Not only that, but "love makes the world go round" or how about another- "All you need is love".

Being able to have a front row seat and watch Lena and Alex get to know one another, learn about the so called order of the world around them and ultimately fall in love was wonderful. Lauren Oliver captured so many great moments and feelings within this book that with the end of each chapter I was on the edge of my seat, just knowing that their time would be up and they would be caught. Of course, the last 10 pages or so fall into that category of- no one in the house talk to me, this is too good for me to put down.

When I got to the end, my heart was aching but at the same time, I wanted to rejoice. There is no doubt in my mind, that by the time this series is over with, Lena will find her true happiness with all that she is searching for and most importantly, her true love.
Liz's review- 5 stars (no review)

Now that you know a little more regarding what the series is about, let's dive into Pandemonium.

Summary via 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.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.
And here is my official review via Goodreads-
3 1/2 stars but since Goodreads doesn't allow for 1/2 stars, I gave it 4.
I'll admit, I was a little lost at first. The whole now vs then alternating chapters threw me at first. But then...I liked them. I liked that it didn't pick up right where Delirum left off. You get what Lena's doing now, with what has happened to her thrown in.

Alex. Oh Alex. Where is he? Do we find out? I'll admit, I accepted his fate from the get go. I went the whole book reassuring myself that it was okay if he died. He carried Lena to freedom. That was the point. Of course, they were supposed to go into the Wilds together, but eh, sometimes love sucks.

Where the first book was about embracing love and realizing that it's not a disease, this second book is more about acepting others, in my opinion. Between Lena accepting what has happened and who has been behind everything, to Julian (our new love interest) accepting that maybe everything he has been told has been a lie and that there is life outside of the borders. A life that isn't so bad.

Yes, there is a new love interest and it's easy to fall in love with Julian. Much like Lena from Delirium, he is learning to love. He even quoted a song from "before" as he called it that I used in my review of Delirium; "All you need is love." Yes Julian, I still firmly believe that but with love comes heartache and sorrow. Something I'm sure someone will be seeing in book three.

There were parts I liked, and things I didn't feel added up. There were routes I wished Lauren Oliver would have taken rather than the ones she did. Requim is the final instament in the trilogy and the only thing I can say is that it ought to be interesting given the cliffhanger we were left with.
Now that you have that, let's pick it apart with Liz.

Liz's review- 3 1/2 stars but again since Goodreads has this no 1/2 stars thing, she gave it 3.


As soon as I finished Pandemonium I paged Liz via twitter where we moved our conversation to Gchat.

Liz-  soooooooo
Holly- I had a feeling Alex would show up. Book three ought to be interesting.
Liz- Yeah, you knew he was coming back. First impressions? TOTALLY disappointed in the love triangle. And I so knew that lady was her mother.
Holly- What I don't get is why he says, don't believe her, after Julian asks her to stay with him forever. It's not Lena's fault she thought he was dead. And as for the love triangle, I really hoped it wouldn't be there. Maybe have her do the resistance in his honor or something. And ditto about her mom.
Liz- my feeling? book 3 will be her trying to make it up to Alex, feeling mega guilty and Julian dying of cancer/seizures at the end BOOM - HEA, the end.
Holly- LOL True.
Liz- I didn't like Lena at all, for this super tough resistance fighter she was woefully stupid at times.
Holly- Julian will feel like the third wheel when he realizes who Alex is. So Edward, Bella & Jacob .
Liz-  I mean she NEVER had the gun in her hand when she needed it - ugh and the rescue was like REALLY? I can totally suspend belief at times but that was crazy.
Holly- There were times I didn't like Raven either but she redeemed herself at the end.
Liz- I can see why she'd hook onto Julian but really? she didn't even try and find out what happened to Alex.
Holly- I agree. And I think that's going to be his issue in book 3.
Liz- Of course I'll read Requiem though. Alex should be pissed.
Holly- What kills me is how fast raven & tack got to her at the end. It took her over 6 hours on foot. What did they do get some sleep & then hop in the truck to rescue them?
Liz- Yes! Exactly, they waltzed in, they waltzed right back out. I mean come on! The whole ending was just no no no no.
You know the thing about her introducing Julian, I don't even mind that because I could totally see how Lena would fall for him, she's young and scared and the world is in chaos but then to bring back Alex just for a plot device?
Holly- I totally agree. I had already accepted thd fact that he had died. A whole book to think on it and then bam! He's back. It would have been fine without Julian but now I want her to help him. I want him to help lead the resistance. And you know her mom will be back. And I'm hoping she runs into the cured Hana. I'd like to see that interaction.
Liz- Make him bitter and all, at least twist it so maybe he had the procedure or memory loss of something.
Holly- Yes. If he had to come back I was hoping he'd be cured & she'd have to work to break him of it.
Liz- Yeah, or they messed up his cure and she has to cure him, SOMETHING! I hate how she'll have to justify her actions and being with Julian.
Holly- Yup.
Liz- I thought Alex was Julian's brother for a little bit and then I thought maybe her mom was in there somewhere with the 'cureds' undercover.
Holly- I did too but after he told the ages I knew it didn't add up. Then whenRraven showed up & shot Mr. Fineman I thought maybe she knew them personally.
Liz- Exactly. Did you read the Hana short story?
Holly- No. I had forgotten too much with Delirium. Lol I had to reread my review before I started this one.
All we can hope for is that Insurgent doesn't follow with a sophomore slump. I'd hate for anything to happen to Four.
Liz- OMG! I would cry!
Holly- I'm really excited for Chicagoland. Eeep!! I know there will be issues with the "new" Ethan but I'm prepared for them.
Liz- all i can say is she better give us some hot, sweaty makeup sex in the next one or I am FLOUNCIN! I'm talking about Merit/Ethan btw..although I'd go for her and Jonah too, just saying.
Holly- Noooooo!!! Lol
Liz- :) :) :) I lurve Jonah.
Holly- And don't forget Sookie In may :/
Liz- meh, I want Lover Reborn!!!!!!!!!!!
Holly- Omg. I know but a part of me wants him to stay single for Welsie. Of course that's not possible lol.
Liz- Lots of Lassiter in this one too. I like!
Holly- That is true! I love him!
Liz-  I want him to mate - knock him on his smarmy ass. Oh and loads of John Matthew too!
Holly- Sigh. John Matthew. I read that she might not reveal that he is Darius.
Liz- And eeesh..No'One..I don't know.
Holly- I feel the same way.

As you can see, Liz and I get off track very easily. Then again, lots of new books coming out this year to look forward to.

Now, do you agree with Liz and I's assesment? Were we too harsh? Too opinionated? We really don't mean to be ugly, and honestly, Lauren Oliver should take it as a huge compliment that we invest this much into her characters. Although, we both agree that other avenues could have been taken to really throw the reader off its rocker. Of course, Liz and I aren't best selling authors so what do we know?

I'm hoping Liz will join me on a regular basis to talk books. I'm currently reading Everneath by Brodi Ashton and Liz has already read it. Look for our next review together soon. Until then...would you like to see Liz review books? While we have similar tastes in books, she does have her own niche that she likes.

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