Zombie, post-apocalyptic and dystopian books are like shoes - you can never have enough.
Disclaimer: If you haven't read Delirium yet, you probably don't want to read this - just sayin ;-)
36 hours ago I finished Delirium - and after restraining myself from throwing the book out the window in frustration, I moved immediately onto Pandemonium. I don't often move straight to the next book, I like to let the one I've just finished 'settle' a little, but in this case I just couldn't help myself - I HAD to know what happened next.
I tore through Pandemonium in less than 24 hours - partly because it was a good book but also because I started with a sneaking suspicion that I knew what was going to happen at the end - and I was right. Anyway, enough of my gloating about my guessing prowess, here are my thoughts on Pandemonium.
Told in alternating 'Then' and 'Now' chapters, Pandemonium focuses on Lena just after escaping to the wilds, and six months later. I'm not the biggest fan of alternating time-frames by chapter, but it's done pretty well through Pandemonium - it's clearly delineated so there's no confusion, although towards the end of the book the chapters do get quite short for while as the story starts to really heat up.
There is a lot more world-building in Pandemonium, expanding upon some parts of society and introducing some that were not even mentioned in Delirium and making the Wilds a more tangible, imaginable place with kick-ass new characters (loved Raven - that girl scared me!).
Lena has certainly toughened up as a character in the 'Now', and the 'Then' explains the situations she has been through in the Wilds that have caused her to grow some serious balls. There is a new male character (of course), but he came across to me as a bit of a whingy little boy - I didn't find him nearly as solid or likeable as Alex.
The second book in a trilogy is always a toughie - the first book has a lot to tell and the final book wraps everything up, but the second book is sometimes considered 'filler' - and Pandemonium, for the most part, manages to avoid the 'filler' tag. Lauren Oliver, as always, writes well and builds excellent tension, with some heartbreaking, heart-stopping moments thrown in for good measure.
As I said earlier, I'd already guessed the 'cliffhanger' well before I got there, so I didn't have book murdering thoughts when I got there, but if you aren't expecting it I can certainly see why you would want to drop-kick that bad boy into next week! I will be anticipating the third book (in 2013!), but it's not going to kill me waiting for it.
Overall, I really enjoyed Pandemonium, even more so than Delirium. The world-building is stronger, the action is more, well, action-ey and I loved the transformation of Lena. If you were a little disappointed by Delirium because it moved slowly or Lena wasn't the most likeable character, you should still give Pandemonium a try - it might surprise you!
Read more of my reviews at The Aussie Zombie