Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory

by Daryl Gregory

ISBN – 13: 9-780345-501165
Rating: 4.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it

It is a world like our own in every respect . . . save one. In the 1950s, random acts of possession begin to occur. Ordinary men, women, and children are the targets of entities that seem to spring from the depths of the collective unconscious, pop-cultural avatars some call demons. There’s the Truth, implacable avenger of falsehood. The Captain, brave and self-sacrificing soldier. The Little Angel, whose kiss brings death, whether desired or not. And a string of others, ranging from the bizarre to the benign to the horrific.

As a boy, Del Pierce is possessed by the Hellion, an entity whose mischief-making can be deadly. With the help of Del’s family and a caring psychiatrist, the demon is exorcised . . . or is it? Years later, following a car accident, the Hellion is back, trapped inside Del’s head and clamoring to get out.

Del’s quest for help leads him to Valis, an entity possessing the science fiction writer formerly known as Philip K. Dick; to Mother Mariette, a nun who inspires decidedly unchaste feelings; and to the Human League, a secret society devoted to the extermination of demons. All believe that Del holds the key to the plague of possession-and its solution. But for Del, the cure may be worse than the disease.

Pandemonium was my purse-book. Meaning I kept it in my purse to read during lunch breaks at work, doctor’s office visits, car rides (where I wasn’t driving, for once) and the occasional long line-up. As such, I’ve been reading it for almost a month. Sometimes this backfires on me and I lose the flow of the book. With Pandemonium, I was just able to better digest what I was reading.

Daryl Gregory’s debut novel, Pandemonium is a captivating and thought-provoking example of science fiction literature. I will definitely be picking up The Devil’s Alphabet at some point in the near future.

What drew me in initially (besides the amazing synopsis) was Daryl Gregory’s writing style. His writing is beautifully descriptive and draws you into the story and lives of the characters. I was never bored and often had to drag myself away. The main character, Del, goes through such a trip during the course of the novel and Gregory’s writing drags you right along with him, every step of the way.

Besides the style of Gregory’s writing, the way in which he writes had me holding breath at one moment, wondering what the hell was actually going on (in a good way) in another, and then having those perfect “ah-ha!” moments in which plot points are tied together and questions are answered. I don’t want to spoil anyone who hasn’t yet read Pandemonium, so all I’m going to say is that all the little details that Gregory spreads throughout the book lead up to one wicked “ah-ha!” moment where you finally know for sure exactly how/why Del is “the key” – the main point of the story, really. I was not disappointed, at all.

I may not have mentioned this yet, but I have a horrible habit of reading the end of a book, first. And not just the last page, either – the whole last chapter (or more) usually. I had been doing good lately, but I caved with Pandemonium, and read the last chapter when I was half way through the book. I didn’t understand any of it. Pandemonium is one book you need to read through in order to fully understand why and how things occurred. I loved it.

The only thing that kept this book from being a five out of five rating for me were the few points where I lost track of who a couple characters were. Some of the more philosophical aspects of the story also left my head hurting in that way philosophy often does (but that’s just me). Overall, Pandemonium is an amazing novel and well worth the read.


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