Saturday, April 21, 2012
Is Ignorance Bliss or Just Plain Ignorant?
Lena chose love and feeling and pain over the simple bliss of surgically altered numbness, but it cost her. Not only did she cut herself off from every sense of normalcy and family she ever knew, but now she has lost Alex as well, the very reason she abandoned her life and took to the Wilds. But Lena has a lot more to learn about the world at large as well as herself in Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver.
Then: Lena must survive, but survival isn't easy in the Wilds. They know they are constantly hunted by the officers of a government who wants to take away what they treasure most- their ability to feel emotions and care deeply. They depend on supplies from sympathizers inside what they jokingly refer to as "Zombieland". And the toughest part of all is life in the Wilds is flung into the dangerous world of centuries ago with no hospitals or even the simplest of medicines... and sometimes no food. But the people who find Lena want to help her. They know how hard it is to transition from Zombieland and that her loss is the greatest thing she has ever experienced. But in the Wilds, they can't afford "transition time". Lena must pull it together or she endangers everyone. But how can you pull it together when you have lost everything you ever cared about in one fell swoop?
Now: Lena's job is to keep an eye on Julian, the poster boy for the Cured. He, to his father's particular delight, is getting the Cure even though countless doctors have told him it could very easily kill him. He is meant to speak at a rally for the Cure, but when protestors and rebels turn the rally into a coordinated attack, Lena follows Julian into the tunnels. What she gets for her efforts is being held prisoner right alongside him. While being a prisoner isn't exactly the best situation, it allows Lena to get to know Julian. Now she feels like she has to protect him. Unfortunately, that might be harder than Lena could have ever imagined.
I love that this book flies between present time and flashbacks to tell both stories in the most efficient way possible. I thought at first that these flash-arounds would be difficult to keep track of, but Oliver does a great job of making it easy to follow. It also gives you a chance to see Lena in two ways- the raw and emotional Lena and the Lena she becomes: mature, determined, and not nearly as afraid. It was a brilliant way to tell of a personal journey without having to detract too much form the action to sink into character development!
This book gives you more of the dystopia that you wanted to see in the first book. It also gets to the heart of the initiative for the Cure and just how far they will go to make the population dull and pliable. But most interesting was the fact that the rebels have moments where they cross a line in order to get what they want too. It makes them more real and fallible, blurring the lines between who is good and who is not so good. I think this series continues to be a great story for any young adult reader with decent skills. It remains interesting and you feel invested in the characters by the time you are done. But you can't wait for more! Oliver has a knack for leaving you hanging with the very last word to the point where you keep flipping the final page back and forth hoping there is more to the final chapter!