Lena Haloway has escaped from Portland into the Wilds with the help of her uncured boyfriend Alex, but at a high cost. Once Lena is over the fence, she turns around to see a bloodied Alex wasn’t able to cross. Heartbroken, she stumbles through the Wilds for one week before she is found by a girl slightly older than her named Raven. Battered and weak, Lena is taken to their small homestead/hideout to regain her strength. She slowly recovers and soon becomes an integral member of their small society. As time goes on, her memories of Alex, Hana and her old life in Portland are replaced by new friendships and survival skills.
As winter approaches, Raven and the others begin their plans to move south before bad weather sets in. Hunter, Tack and a few others scout ahead and bury food along the way before everyone moves south as a group. But before the scouts can return, Lena receives a message from their supports in Portland to run. The bombing begins, not everyone escapes with their life and no one leaves prepared. They struggle with their move south as the snow sets in. Arriving at their last camp without finding Hunter and Tack, Lena and Raven quickly realize something is terribly wrong just before the Scavengers strike.
This is where Ms. Oliver’s telling of Lena’s story begins to get a little confusing at first. Told in alternating chapters if Then (Lena’s time in the Wilds) and Now as Lena’s story continues being undercover in New York City with Raven and Tack. The DFA, Deliria Free America, is holding a major rally in the city before its leader, Thomas Fineman, has his son Julian undergo the cure. For Julian, the procedure may very well be deadly after the numerous surgeries he has endured in his battle with a brain tumor. On the day of the rally, Tack tells Lena to get close to the stage and never let Julian out of her sight. Just as the rally begins, the Scavengers begin their raid. Lena notices some of the bodyguards pull Julian through a back door. Lena decides to follow and quickly realizes she is in trouble when she discovers the bodyguards dead before blacking out. She awakens locked in a room with Julian. During the next two weeks, Lena and Julian bond over their predicament and against all odds, find themselves dependent upon one another.
Once I reached the part in the book where Lena is in the Now with Julian, I was totally sucked in and had a hard time putting the book down. I needed to see where Lena’s journey took her. Who was behind the raid at the DFA rally? What happens between Lena and Julian while they are alone? Who exactly are Raven and Tack and what is their connection? Will Lena ever see Alex or Hana ever again? And whatever happened after her mother escaped from the Crypt?
Needless to say, Lauren Oliver leaves Pandemonium readers with one heck of a cliffhanger to be resolved in the final book of the trilogy, Requiem, out in 2013.
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