Book Review: Requiem – Lauren Oliver

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian

Series: Delirium #3

Pages: 432

Release Date: March 5, 2013

Rating: 4/5

Summary from GoodReads:

They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

__________

I AM A BASKET CASE OF EMOTION

As there are too many prominent characters within the Delirium series, I’ve decided to skip over my usual character analyses. Where do I start? I am sitting here at 1:30 am, completely unsure of how I feel about this book. I will say that this trilogy did not go out with a bang. Ninety percent of the book (from Lena’s perspective) consists of the resistance planning and attempting to stay alive while regulators and soldiers, who have teamed up with Scavengers, hunt them down mercilessly. I think that Oliver tried to cram a bunch of new characters into Requiem and couldn’t quite make me care about them. That said, the character development in Julian, Alex, and Lena is beautiful. I would say that Lena, who grows immensely in Pandemonium, solidifies her new self in this third book. The decisions and observations she makes while fighting jealousy and the toll of time within herself make me admire her so much. She’s real. She feels so deeply. Julian, oh Julian. He’s nearly perfect. The way he struggles—and succeeds—in proving himself to the group while having to work much harder than anyone, as he’s not used to the roughness of life in the Wilds…all without complaining…really touches my heart. Don’t throw up on me yet. What I mean is that he’s the light, the purity among all of the cynicism within the Wilds communities. Alex. Let’s just say that every time. Yes, every single time I read his name in the book, my heart skipped a few beats. I was completely in tune with Lena’s emotions. His character has done a 180 since Delirium, but who can blame him? While Julian is the “light,” I feel that Alex is the rock, for Lena at least. Lastly, let’s look at Hana. Oliver does an amazing job of getting the reader into the mind of a cured person and allows the reader to see all that’s happening in Portland, which increases the dramatic irony. I was completely surprised by Hana’s life and some of her secrets! In Requiem, she is far from the carefree teenage girl who helps Lena escape in Delirium. She has her own issues and ways of dealing with them.

If you’re looking for gushy romance and happiness and kissing scenes, don’t look here. All of that stuff takes a backseat to make room for Oliver’s deeper messages. Yes, Oliver does focus on relationships, but she focuses on their core, on what lies behind them. The Resistance takes center stage for much of the novel. I loved that, but I also hated it. I love the points that Oliver communicates to the reader, although the constant cycle of “run-plan-hide-get attacked” got old. I understand that this stuff is a daily part of the Wilds lifestyle but Oliver’s concentration upon it definitely overshadows other smaller aspects of Lena’s life. Moreover, there are certain places in the novel in which Lena blatantly speaks to the reader directly, which I thought was way less effective than building those points more into Lena’s thought process or plot line.

The World—

Love it! Oliver’s world in this series is so believable. She explains the purpose and reason behind the world’s constants so precisely and leaves no plot holes. Not once did I find myself asking, “Okay and how exactly did this happen?” The Wilds are cruel and unrelenting, exactly like the cities, yet completely opposite in every other way. The cities are filled with fear and need for order and conformity. Oliver describes everything from fallen trees, beautiful clearings, run down neighborhoods and slick labs.

The Themes—

Faith vs Sight

Fear of the unknown

Safety and Ignorance vs Freedom and Risk

Final Thoughts—

It’s worth the read. While it’s not action-packed, the emotions are RAW every step of the way. I’ve read reviews in which the reader thought Lena was whiny, but the fact that she overcomes her moments of selfishness and immaturity impresses me more than her simply not having to face them. These moments are what make her authentic as a character. I will tell you that Oliver does not spell out the ending of the novel. She leaves it open and solidifies just enough to get her point across. She leaves the reader with a ray of hope, the knowledge of what is to come. The ONE thing I absolutely hated was when, at one time, Oliver has Lena switch from her 1st person POV to speaking directly to the reader. I feel, honestly, like that route is taking the easy way out. Deep thematic elements impact the reader so much more when they come across as character realizations! If you already identify with the character, you also identify with their hopes, dreams, failures…and epiphanies. [End rant here]    

Memorable Quotes—

“He who jumps may fall, but he may also fly.”

“But maybe happiness isn’t in the choosing. Maybe it’s in the fiction, in the pretending: that wherever we have ended up is where we intended to be all along.”

“Who knows? Maybe they’re right. Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings. Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it. But we have chosen a different road. And in the end that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose. We are even free to choose the wrong thing.”

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. thebookboozer
    Jul 12, 2013 @ 13:02:02

    I need an Epilogue. I NEED IT!! Ahhh!

    Reply

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