Seriously, that's all I thought the entire way through it. Pandemonium did not disappoint in any way, and I am so glad about that. The whole time, I found myself still wishing that Alex was alive by some miracle. Even when you can start to see Lena beginning to fall in love again, it still feels wrong because you know that she is still crazy in love with Alex. And every time she mentions that she thinks she catches a glimpse of him, I want her to be able to turn her head and see him there next to her. Their romance was one of the best I've ever read in a YA novel, or in any novel for that matter, and I was so distraught at the end of Delirium when he's just left for dead. And when everything seems to confirm his death in so many ways.
I apologize for any spoilers, and I'll try my best not to give too much away because Paul hasn't read this and I could give away THE WHOLE THING with just one sentence.
And then, she becomes Alex in a way. Just like Alex rescued her from the dystopian society she believed in, Lena rescues Julien from the same society. She is the Invalid that makes her way into his life, destroying all of his previous ideals and beliefs. She's the one who causes him to see that love is actually not as bad as it sounds. That love can do all kinds of good that the DFA wants everyone to ignore. And in the midst of all the heartbreak, hatred and apathy, Lena still manages to find love in places she didn't even know she could. She begins to love Raven, and Julien (of course), and all of the others at the homestead.
And then, finally, as soon as you think she might be getting over the heartbreak of losing her mother and Alex and Hana, and everyone else she's lost, Lauren Oliver comes up and slaps her (and you) in the face. And then, because once isn't enough, she does it again! And then a third time. And it's fantastic. I honestly don't know how Oliver created such a strong character in Lena, because if I were Lena I would just quit life.
I also really love that the book goes between "then" and "now." It gives a great picture of how much Lena grew during her time in the Wilds, and how she now uses her past experiences to get through difficult circumstances. Because living and surviving in the Wilds wasn't enough. She has to be kidnapped by a group of crazy people who shouldn't be organized enough to even pull off a kidnapping. And then made to rescue some kid she can't even stand at first, who represents everything she fights against.
I could honestly go on about this book for forever, but you should really just go pick it up and read it yourself. Read Delirium first though, because otherwise this book won't break your heart and impact you in the way it should. If these books were ever made into movies, I would probably be crying the entire time.
Definitely a strong 5/5, and I would totally give it more if I could. One of my favorite books, and so far series, that I've ever read. I can't wait for Requiem to come out, and I'm so sad that it won't be out until at least February 2013. If I can get my hands on an ARC, I will for sure be doing so.