Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory

Pandemonium by Daryl GregoryPandemonium by Daryl Gregory
Published: Del Rey Books (2008), Paperback, 288pg
Source: Library
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Sci-fi

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. (from Goodreads)

Things that are awesome:

  • Demons and scary things relating to demons.
  • Scifi/fantasy genre blends.
  • Books about family and love and what it means to be a person.
  • This book, which has all those things!

The writing is also really good! And sure, I totally figured out a major revelation about three chapters before the protagonist figured it out, but I didn’t even mind because the story was so good. It’s almost a mystery, because Del spends so much time trying to figure out the secret behind demons and why they’re possessing people. There’s also a little romance and lots of lovely things with Del’s family, especially his brother and sister-in-law. Something for everyone!

The characters are messed-up people, but still relatable and likable. They make questionable choices, but for once I wasn’t annoyed with a fictional person for making a decision I thought was stupid, and I think it was because of how they were presented In the story/because of the writing. So that was nice.

The demon possession thing is scary but also kind of cool.1 In particular, I LOVED the alternate history-ish thing going on in relation to the wide-spread possession. There’s a few chapters from the POV of other people in direct contact with demons/the possessed, and it gives a nice wider lens to the world that Del lives in.

AND THE ENDING. OMG. The ending! Was exactly what needed to happen, and it’s the exact right balance of happy and bittersweet.

If you enjoy urban fantasy-ish books and want to read something kinda along the lines of American Gods (in tone and some story elements), you definitely need to pick Pandemonium up. Right now. It’s THAT GOOD.

Read: October 05-06, 2013


  1. there is a demon that possesses people into becoming Captain America. Seriously!

3 thoughts on “Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory”

  1. Okay! I will do just as you suggest. My library has this available as an ebook, and I shall promptly check it out and read it.

    Question: Is this a standalone book? It’s not a disqualifier if the answer to that question is no, but I would love to read a one-and-done for a change.

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