Thursday, April 10, 2014

Requiem - Review

Requiem (Delirium, # 3)

By: Lauren Oliver

Published: March 5th 2013 by HarperCollins Children's Books

391 pages

Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Source: Personal Kindle Library (Christmas present, thank you Mom!)

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Goodreads description--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 fiancĂ©e 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.

Delirium was my first encounter with Lauren Oliver and I fell in love with her writing style. I also loved the unique concept of a world where love was considered a disease—amor deliria nervosa. What a beautiful name for “the love disease.” And I fell in love with Lena and Alex and Hana. All of it. A world where people fight for their right to love. It was frantic, desperate, and so incredibly important. Pandemonium was pretty much ruined for me. The big cliffhanger at the end I knew from the get-go. That was a total accident, but truthfully I don’t think the big cliffhanger would have been all that much of a surprise for me anyway considering what Lena had already gone through in Delirium. While I enjoyed Pandemonium, it just wasn’t the same as Delirium for me. I spent the majority of that book emotionally detached from the decisions Lena was making. And then there's Requiem. I never read any reviews to see WHY people weren’t happy with it, but SO many people said they were disappointed with Requiem. And after my own disappointment with series enders in the last year or two (Clockwork Princess, Allegiant, Mockingjay, Forever, Bitterblue, The Dark and Hollow Places, etc), I really wasn’t looking forward to a series that I started off loving so much ending in disappointment. Thus I went into Requiem expecting to be let down.

While Requiem did have a writing style in keeping with what I’ve come to love and expect from Lauren Oliver, I didn’t find myself highlighting as many passages as I expected. At one point I told my husband that I loved Lauren Oliver’s writing, but not so much the actual events of the book itself. I’m assuming if you’re reading my review of Requiem then you’ve read both Delirium and Pandemonium. If you haven’t there will be spoilers for those two books. In Delirium, Alex and Lena fall in love, right? And because of that they attempt to escape to the Wilds where they will be free to love each other as they please. But at the very end, Alex sacrifices himself to let Lena make it to the other side. In Pandemonium, Lena erroneously assumes that Alex is dead and she proceeds to develop a new relationship with Julian. Alex returns at the end of Pandemonium having escaped from the Crypts where he’d been tortured. Alex, to say the least, isn’t really ecstatic that Lena appears to have moved on. Because he’s angry with her, he doesn’t respond to her the way she hopes, which leaves her confused. Lena then spends the majority of the book trying to show Alex that she doesn’t need him that she doesn’t hurt because they’re not together, etc. And poor Julian is really just caught in the mix.

Where Delirium was solely narrated by Lena, Pandemonium was a mix of chronology bouncing back and forth between "then" and "now". And Requiem was split between Lena and Hana, Lena’s old best friend who has now been cured, narrating. What was hard for me to remember while reading Requiem was that the cure doesn’t completely shut off all emotion, just love. So where Hana experiences a good dose of fear and guilt, she still doesn’t really experience love anymore. I don’t know. It’s hard to explain because it’s not really completely clear. But essentially I say all of that to say that I was confused between reading Hana’s parts and the ending where Lena and Hana finally come face to face again. You’re reading the majority of that interaction from Lena’s standpoint so you don’t completely know what Hana is thinking or feeling, but Hana’s actions don’t entirely seem in sync with her thoughts, behaviors, and feelings throughout her own narrations prior to this moment.

I remember thinking that Lena was letting me down while reading Requiem. I felt like she’d grown so much from where she started in Delirium and while she made some assumptions that I was frustrated with in Pandemonium, she was still growing. Yet Requiem showed me an immature Lena for the majority of the book. Her actions toward Alex were mostly jealousy based. When he hurt or rejected her (despite her having “moved on” with Julian) she retaliates with the purpose of hurting and rejecting Alex the same way he rejected and hurt her. I’ve said it before, but that’s just not true love. True love wants what’s best for the other, not just wanting the other to hurt because you hurt. Granted, Lena doesn’t have any examples in her life to show her how true love should behave. Love has been absent from her for the majority of her life. So it is somewhat understandable that she doesn’t respond properly. Lena does grow in respect to this and her feelings deepen and change from retaliatory in nature to a more honest and true kind.

Without giving anything away, I can’t say that the ending of Requiem was everything I could have hoped for, but it wasn’t as much of a disappointment as I expected either. I was thinking Allegiant here people. And what I got was a good bit more hope than that.

My favorite quotes:

"That is what Alex is now: a shadow-boy, an illusion."

"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."

"This is not the person I wanted to become: Hatred has carved a permanent place inside me, a hollow where things are so easily lost."

“Take down the walls.
That is, after all, the whole point. You do not know what will happen if you take down the walls; you cannot see through to the other side, don’t know whether it will bring freedom or ruin, resolution or chaos. It might be paradise, or destruction.
Take down the walls.
Otherwise you must live closely, in fear, building barricades against the unknown, saying prayers against the darkness, speaking verse of terror and tightness.
Otherwise you may never know hell, but you will not find heaven, either. You will not know fresh air and flying.
All of you, wherever you are: in your spiny cities or your one-bump towns. Find it, the hard stuff, the links of metal and chink, the fragments of stone filling your stomach. And pull, and pull, and pull.
I will make a pact with you: I will do it if you will do it, always and forever.
Take down the walls.”

Ultimately, Requiem still gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read Requiem? What did you think? Let me know!


  1. I read it and didn't like it. I did give it a three, but b/c Oliver's writing is good. I hate that it was dual POV and thought it unnecessary. I feel like I was ripped off at the end with it being so open. I need a bit of closure. Even with the triangle it didn't seem like there was complete closure. And Lena went from a kick butt girl in Pandemonium to a wishy washy nothing in this book. I hated that about her.

  2. Sorry you weren't happy with the ending Brooke! I agree about Lauren Oliver's writing. I was frustrated with Lena in Pandemonium, so I wasn't expecting much different from her in Requiem, but it felt so much different from everything she was in Delirium. Thanks for commenting!