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all hearthfires & holocausts

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Pandemonium (Delirium Series #2)

Pandemonium (Delirium Series #2) - I guess when I said, "review to come," before... I meant in six months? I just had a lot of feelings, guys.Pandemonium killed. me. dead. Typically in a series, it is the first book that punches me in the face with awesome, and the second that leaves me in the forest of meh, but in this case it was Delirium that left me wanting and its sequel that brought me back on board.The story alternates between two settings: Then, and Now. Then begins right at the point Delirium ends, with Lena's escape and her struggle adapting to life as an Invalid, stripped down to mere survival in the Wilds. It details her grief and mourning for Alex in a way that is disturbing and painful to read, but so incredibly relateable. Now tells the story of Lena and a group of Invalids who re-infiltrate the Cureds and try to bring about a revolution.And that's all I will say about the plot to avoid spoilers. The reason I loved Pandemonium is the growth of Lena's character. In Delirium I found her immature, whiney and predictable. I was never invested in her relationship with Alex, simply because it felt like typical teenage infatuation and not real love (though I suppose that is a point that could be argued with any YA novel). In Pandemonium, Lena becomes a strong, self-sufficient fighter. She's not afraid to work. She's not afraid to fight. She knows what she wants and she's willing to sacrifice to get it. She's no longer a sheltered teenager, instead we watch her grow into a woman--one that is worthy of admiration, one that inspires confidence, and one whose feelings I can trust in a way I never could in the first book. Yes, there's another love interest introduced. I know many who never liked it or trusted it, simply because it wasn't Alex--her first love, her true love, the person she spent months with rather than days. But I disagree, and I hope that I'm right. The Lena in the sequel is a completely different person than the Lena we were first introduced to, the one who fell for Alex. Alex was her first love, yes--but how often do we fall in love as teenagers? And isn't that first breakup devastating? Doesn't it feel like a death? Didn't we all grieve like a part of us had died, and fear our heart would never be full again? But didn't we grow and strengthen from that experience, and meet the next person who fits the person that emerged from that pain?I don't have any expectations of being right, and I would probably be okay with it even if I wasn't--I trust that Oliver will make me believe in Alex and Lena in Requiem, if that's the way it goes--but I think it would be a wonderful departure from the first love is forever! rote of YA.This was a fast-paced, exciting and moving read. One that kept me on the edge of my seat and up until the very small hours of a work day morning to finish, because I couldn't put it down. It is absolutely pitch perfect in my opinion. I can't wait for Requiem. Especially because--beware! Danger, Will Robinson!--Pandemonium ends with a cliffhanger even more brutal than Delirium's. I assume everyone who has read Delirium will be rushing to pick this up on February 28th, but if you haven't read it, I encourage you to do so close to Pandemonium's release. You may feel as I did about it, but this sequel makes it all worth it.