So, back in November (before Trashy Tuesdays started), I read and reviewed the first book in this series – Delirium. I did not like it and was not kind. It’s a future earth where love is viewed as a disease, and everyone gets a partial lobotomy at age 18 to remove that emotion center of their brain. No explanation of how this came to be is ever given…ever. The first book follows Lena, who is about to undergo the procedure, but meets and falls in love with a boy from the Wilds (meaning he hasn’t received The Cure) named Alex. It ends on a cliffhanger, with Lena escaping into the Wilds, but Alex being left behind and presumed dead. Seriously, though, just go read that post, it’s not all that long and will fill you in on everything you need to know for this one. I’ll wait.
Pandemonium starts with Lena trekking through the Wilds by herself, after seeing her OTL burnt/captured/killed/something on the other side of the fence. He stayed behind so she could escape, and now she has no idea where to go or who to run to. She’s picked up by a band of Invalids who teach her how to rough it and nurse her back to health. She learns that the sympathizers on the inside of the fence send supplies to the unCureds by way of the river. There’s also some weird colour-coded thing they do with birds to let them know if there will be supplies coming that day. Green means yes, yellow means delays and red means they need to GTSO because trouble’s a-comin’. This part didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Like, the people in the cities were feeding the birds paint mixed with birdseed or something? Isn’t that harmful to birds? I don’t know, maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention, but I think it’s because it was stupid. She spends very little time being bloo-blooey after losing Alex, which makes me wonder if he was really her One True Love or just a plot device.
After Lena has been there long enough to make a gay BFF (of course, what the hell kind of YA book would this be without one?!) and make a few friends, it’s time to start heading south for the winter. She goes to check the bird-tree-messages one day and SEES RED so she goes booking it back to camp just as bombs and stuff start falling from the sky. Most of them make it out, but a little girl dies of fever before they make it to the winter camp.
Six months later Lena is living in Manhattan with Raven and Tack – two of the members of her group that made it out alive. They’re all undercover for the resistance and stuff, Lena has joined a
hate youth group called the DFA (Deliria Free America) and she’s supposed to attend all of these hate rallies and keep an eye on the son of the leader of the group. The son is an incredibly charismatic, formerly sick young man, whose father is pushing for children to be given The Cure long before 18 in an effort to stamp out deliria forever. Julian (the son) is over 18, but hasn’t had the lobotomy because he had brain tumors when he was young, and there’s a good possibility that The Cure will cure him of his pesky living problem.
She heads to a rally one sunny afternoon with a backpack full of granola bars (one never knows when one might go hungry again, best to always be prepared), the Book of Shhh (like, the future version of the bible with all of the parts about love removed), some mascara and an umbrella (that Tack forced her to take. NO FORESHADOWING THERE, NUHUNH!).
Her job is to make sure she keeps an eye on Julian, to stick with him everywhere he goes. She’s not told why, she’s just expected to do it.
The rally gets interrupted by a large group of Scavengers who have explosives and guns. Scavengers are like the Invalids, but some of them had The Cure and it didn’t work – it just made them crazy and angry. Lena sees Julian being ushered into a former subway station by his bodyguards, so she follows them into the tunnels. The bodyguards are killed and both Julian and Lena are locked up in a tiny windowless room. They spend enough time alone together to tell each other bits of their past. Lena’s are mostly fabricated, but she gets caught in a few lies. This leads to Julian figuring out that she’s not really Cured, and he’s afraid of her – the deliria is super contagious after all.
Julian gets taken out of the room and beaten up for security codes to his father’s house, Lena discovers a knife hidden in the handle of the umbrella. When Julian returns, she uses the knife on the guard to get them out of there. They run through the tunnels and are almost caught by the scary Scavengers, but are saved just in the nick of time…BY MUTANTS.
Yes, you read that right. There are mutants living in the subway tunnels. There’s the rat man, the two-faced girl, the one with the hand growing out the side of her head, the Ninja Turtles – you name it.
There was a particularly nauseating passage around here. I’m going to share it with you to show you just how purple this prose was.
It’s still raining in the morning.
I sit up slowly. I have a wicked headache, and I’m dizzy. Julian is no longer next to me. The rain is pouring through the grates, long, twisting gray ribbons of it, and he is standing underneath them.
His back is turned to me, and he has stripped down to a pair of faded cotton shorts he must have found when we scavenged for clothing and supplies. My breath catches in my throat. I know I should look away, but I can’t. I’m transfixed by the sight of the rain coursing over his back—broad and muscled and strong, just like Alex’s was—the rolling landscapes of his arms and shoulders; his hair, now dark with water; the way he tips his head back and lets the rain run into his open mouth.
In the Wilds, I finally got used to seeing men naked or half-naked. I got used to the strangeness of their bodies, the bits of curling hair on their chests, and sometimes on their backs and shoulders, to the broad, flat panes of their stomachs and wings of their hipbones, arcing over the waistband of their pants. But this is different. There is a perfect stillness to him, and in the pallid gray light he seems to glow slightly, like a statue carved out of white rock.
He is beautiful.
I know, right?
Anyway, the rat man (I giggled every time the rat man was mentioned because this guy came to mind) leads them to the surface, conveniently near an Invalid Homestead located near a landfill. Lena and Julian take baths, have dinner by candlelight, make out, snuggle and are captured by the police in the morning. SOMEONE HAS TIPPED THEM OFF! Lena is carted off by a Sympathizer, so she’s not actually heading to jail. The woman who drops her off at the safehouse seemed a little familiar, but she never took her mask off. Lena sees a hint of a jail tattoo on her neck and files the information away.
She discovers that Julian is set to be put to death for falling in love in the morning, so she takes off back to Manhattan without a plan, just knowing that she’s going to save him. Once in his house, she discovers his father’s hidden study and sees a series of books detailing all of the prisoners kept in the US. She decides she’s got enough time to look up her mommy for nostalgia’s sake and discovers that her mother’s prisoner number was the same as what she saw tattooed on the masked woman who helped her escape. Like that was such A TWIST. [hair pull]
She heads downtown to the office where Julian will be euthanized and thinks if she looks down from the Gallery on the floor above, she’ll be struck by inspiration.
Before she comes up with a plan, Raven busts into the room taking out bodyguards and doctors and Lena breaks the glass on the observation deck and JUMPS DOWN TO THE FLOOR BELOW. She, Raven and Julian make a daring escape across rooftops and down to the city streets below.
They get back to the safehouse and Lena and Julian are having a quiet moment together in the courtyard. He can’t believe he’s free from his father/society’s oppression, and they’re enjoying a little makeout time. He asks her if they’ll be together forever, she says yes. Then, a voice says “Don’t believe her.” IT’S ALEX, HE’S NOT DEAD AND HE ESCAPED PRISON!
Love Triangle Cliffhanger! DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!