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This article contains major spoilers about the Delirium Trilogy.
|“||The flip side of freedom is this: When you're completely free, you're also completely on your own.||”|
Pandemonium is the second novel in the Delirium Trilogy.
After falling in love, Lena Haloway and Alex Sheathes flee their oppressive society where love is outlawed and everyone must receive the "cure"--an operation that makes them immune to the delirium of love--but Lena alone manages to find her way to a community of resistance fighters. Although she is bereft of the boy she loves, her struggles seem to be leading her toward a new love.
Day by day she gets better and begins to learn the ways of the Wilds. She learns that life here is harsh because the people have so little and have to struggle to survive. But she also makes friends amongst the people, especially with Hunter and Sarah.
As winter draws in, the whole camp must move down south in order to survive. Several of them go ahead to plant food for the camp, including Hunter and Raven's lover, Tack.
All seems well until Lena, as one of her jobs, checks the bird nests for communications from sympathizers in the verified communities. She finds the bird feathers slick with red, meaning danger, and she runs to warn the others as bombs fall from the sky. They only learn later that these bombings occurred as a retaliation for the Incidents; a series of lethal bombings by the resistance in verified communities.
Their homestead is destroyed along with several of their people missing, and presumably dead, as they have to begin their journey earlier than planned with less supplies than they planned. As a result, Raven's adoptive daughter, Blue, becomes ill and though they try everything to save her, she dies. Raven becomes grief-stricken.
Their journey grows worse as they realize their last supply of food has not been planted by Tack and Hunter meaning that both are probably they dead. However, when they are attacked by scavengers and are almost annihilated, Tack and Hunter show up to save them and the entire camp manages to get to safety.
Now: Several months have passed and Lena Haloway has joined the resistance along with Tack and Raven, are working in New York, observing the Deliria-Free America (DFA)--an anti-deliria organization gaining much attention--as well as the leader's son of the movement, Julian Fineman.
On the day of a big rally and just before the time when Julian is supposed to be cured, a group of scavengers break in and cause chaos while also taking Julian and Lena as hostages. Julian and Lena are at first hostile to each other in their cell, especially since Lena sees him as the part of the people who killed Alex. However, the two begin to warm up to each other and reveal things about their pasts. This is once more broken though when Lena reveals that she is in fact an Invalid and Julian is disgusted.
Lena manages to knock out one of their captors and with Julian's help, they are both able to escape into the tunnels (in reality the old subway system of New York). Julian eventually reveals to her the full extent of his father's anger and hatred and how Julian himself thought that staying on the proper path would save him. Lena tries to encourage him that there is a better way but remains to have conflicting thoughts about Julian as she grows to love him but doesn't want to betray Alex's memory.
With the help of a community of Invalids living in the tunnels, they manage to get to a homestead called Salvage where Julian and Lena finally allow themselves to fall in love and the two share their first kiss. The next morning, regulators come in to arrest them though the regulator with Lena turns out to be a member of the resistance, one who won't allow Lena to see her face.
Lena returns to the Wilds where Raven and Tack reveal that the entire event was a test to learn her true loyalty to the resistance and to convert Julian to their side by having him fall in love with Lena. Julian has not been saved by the resistance and will instead by executed in New York for refusing the cure while showing signs of the deliria. Disgusted, Lena leaves the resistance and Raven and goes back into New York to save Julian. While there, she finds information that reveals her mother was the regulator who saved her life but refused to show her face.
Lena makes it into the room which Julian is about to executed in but realizes it's too late for her to do anything. Just as Julian is about to be killed, Raven comes in and her and Lena manage to free Julian while also killing his father in the process.
They all make it back to the Wilds where Julian and Lena kiss once more and Lena promises to stay with him forever. A voice behind them says, "Don't believe her," and Lena turns around to see Alex behind her, alive and well once more.
- Lena Haloway (sometimes using the alias Lena Morgan Jones) - The protagonist. Now eighteen and having rejected mainstream society and its cure, Lena joins the Invalids and the resistance, in the process leaving the old Lena behind and reinventing herself into someone harsher.
- Julian Fineman - The only living son of the DFA's leader, he is expected to receive the cure even though it might very well kill him after all the surgeries he's had in the past from cancer. Despite this, he shows sensitivities and emotions unexpected by someone so closely tied to the DFA. His character is added to Delirium (TV Series) despite his story not starting until the second novel. He is played by Gregg Sulkin.
- Raven - The leader of the camp Lena joins in the Wilds. Fierce and independent but also understanding and caring, she is both a mother-figure and a friend as Lena starts her new life in the Wilds and the resistance.
- Tack - Raven right-hand man and lover. He is a valuable part of the camp and the resistance though he and Lena don't particularly get along.
- Thomas Fineman - Julian's father. As the founder of the DFA, he believes in order and purity without deliria and is bent on doing anything to make it so, including violence. Despite first appearing in the second book, he appears in Delirium (TV Series) played by Billy Campbell.
- Hunter - One of Lena's friends in the Wilds and a valuable part of Raven's camp. He's an Unnatural, meaning that he's romantically attracted to people of his gender.
- Bram - Hunter's friend and a part of Raven's camp. He's also an Unnatural.
- Sarah - One of Lena's friends and a part of Raven's camp.
Mentioned and CameosEdit
- Alex Sheathes - Lena's lover from Delirium who she believes is now dead. For much of the novel she grieves his loss and learns to move on as she falls in love with Julian.
- Hana Tate - After leaving Hana behind in Portland, Lena realizes in the Wilds that Hana's birthday has passed and that she is now most likely cured. Lena briefly grieves this permanent separation from her friend.
- Annabel Haloway - Lena's mother who Lena's learned is still alive and has escaped into the Wilds. Though Lena doesn't realize it at the time, her mother saves her during her mission in New York.
- Eldest Fineman Son - Julian's unnamed brother whose death has a great impact on Julian's life. Because of his death, Julian becomes convinced he must stay on the path of the cure though he still grieves his loss.
Pandemonium is the second installment of the Delirium Trilogy. A midquel, between this second and the third book, Raven, was released March 5th, 2013. On the same day, the third book, Requiem, was released. Another midquel called Alex was released with Requiem.
Critical reception for the novel was mostly positive, with Kirkus Reviews and the School Library Journal giving it starred reviews. The Independent gave a mostly positive review, stating that although Oliver is "an adept and occasionally courageous storyteller", the story was "somewhat exhausting".