My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My reaction at the end of the book: I just can’t.
I didn’t think that it was possible to end the second book with a bigger reveal/cliffhanger than Delirium – but Lauren Oliver shocked me. She slipped a little comment in that immediately made you wonder, “could it be?” I spent the next few pages fearfully reading, unsure if I wanted to know. Which ending would I prefer? All I could do was repeat no, no, no, over and over. This book is the definition of a book hangover. I immediately had to begin reading the third novel in the series.
The world building is just as immersive and well-done as the first. The author vividly describes the lanscape and the new hierarchy in which Lena finds herself. This book no longer takes place in Portland, Maine but switches perspectives between the Wilds and New York City. We are also introduced to a new set of characters that help transition Lena into her new Wilds life.
Raven is the leader, young but formed under pressure like a diamond by the Wilds. Tack is her right hand man, reliable but a bit unfriendly. She is surrounded by Hunter and Bram, tiny Blue, Grandma, Lucky, and many others. There are so many “invalids” in the Wilds that they are not all well-developed and unique characters. Those that are more important to the story are given the attention that they deserve. (Raven is also given a novella, which is a wonderful insight and in my opinion the best of the four novellas that accompany the series.) Lena must find her place and pull her weiht – collecting water, tending the fire and checking for messages in the trees.
The style of switching perspectives from now to then continuously was a little off-putting at first. Before long, you get used to the style and are fully immersed in the story. Just as engaging as the first and highly recommended. Just a warning that there are more curse words in the novel than in the first.