Like many sequels, it picks up right in the middle of things, which I like. And like Ally Condie's Crossed, the narrative POV switches every chapter, which I dislike. However, instead of switching characters, it's the timeline itself that switches, so that we get chapters of Lena in the Wilds alternating with her new life in society. While I admit that it's an effective way of building narrative tension, I feel it's a pretty lazy plot device, allowing the writer to jump here & there without having to make the effort to connect the narrative dots.
Fine. Disliking the POV and the present tense narratives are small enough quibbles. And readers who are at all familiar with recent trends in YA books won't be surprised with the love triangle and the double-crossing and betrayals as they unfold in pandemonium. Yes, the book is predictable in those (and a few other) regards. And I didn't think Oliver's writing was up to par in this book compared to the first one.
That being said, the pacing and the plotting are strong in this second book and it was one I could hardly put down. Unlike many sequels, it doesn't actually answer a lot of questions left open in book one; it seems more concerned with being its own entity. Which I kinda dig. I can't put my finger on why I found this one so much more compelling and readable, but I did. So be it. I like it, and that's enough for me.
Now, on to the giveaway part. I have an ARC of this book, read once, that I will mail to a randomly chosen winner. If you want to win, leave a comment on this post. You don't have to follow me on Twitter or like me on Facebook. I'd prefer it if you became a follower of my blog if you're not one already, but that's not required, either. The book is published in March 2012 and I will be mailing the book out to the winner before the end of December, so the recipient will have it in hand about 3 months early. Just leave a comment about why you'd like to read the book early--and if you have friends who might want to get their hands on an early copy, please send 'em here.
This giveaway IS open to international readers and it will close roughly around December 24, 2011 so that I will have time to contact the winner and obtain a mailing address before the year is out.