“Requiem” by Lauren Oliver
3 out of 5 stars.
“Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway 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 infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.
As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.Requiem is told from the perspectives of both Lena and her friend Hana. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.”
So, I have currently been in a re-reading kind of mood; I’m so behind on what’s currently coming out in YA, so I thought that I return to some of my oldies-but-goodies that have been sitting quietly on my bookshelf waiting to be picked up again. I recently repurchased the entire “Delirium” trilogy because (1) the covers are STUNNING and they make for great accents on my colored bookshelf, and (2) it is one of those trilogies that really left an impression on me when I fist started reading YA fiction. I loved “Delirium” because it felt so new and inventive for a dystopian world, and Lauren Oliver’s writing style and approach to storytelling demanded my attention the moment I picked up her book. The plot of “Delirium” was emotionally driven at times and then it could feel cold and closed off, much like the two warring sides of the cureds and the un-cureds; I liked the contrasting views and sides being reflected in the writing style. It was “Pandemonium” that totally stole my heart, though, when I first read it back in 2012. It felt wild and earthy, dynamic and rich, rather than cold and sterile one moment and deliriously emotional the next, like “Delirium” had. I personally did not like Lena in “Pandemonium,” but experiencing the Wilds sprinkled with new characters and then meeting Julian made it such a rich, warm feeling book to me. Normally I wouldn’t call a dystopian “warm” or “fuzzy,” but that’s what I feel whenever I pick up “Pandemonium.” There are two completely different vibes within the same series, and I loved them both. As much as I loved “Delirium” and “Pandemonium,” I could never bring myself to read the final book in the trilogy, “Requiem.” That is, until now.
I never wanted to read “Requiem” because I had heard from so many fellow readers and read so many reviews about it, nearly all of them agreeing that it was a total let down. Mind you, this was back in 2013, which was the year of Trilogy Ending Let Downs (for me, at least). There were several series/trilogies that I was avidly following that year, and their final books were total let downs. The problem I found with them was how their plots and final executions of tearing down the old world to build a new one felt empty or completely open-ended, making it seem like the last book was entirely unnecessary. A lot of the love triangles were also poorly executed or left unresolved in these unnamed series. After so many terrible endings, I didn’t want to read “Requiem” and have it ruin or taint my love of the previous two books. I lasted 5 years, but I caved this past month when I repurchased “Delirium” and “Pandemonium,” because, well, odd numbers are more aesthetically pleasing when one is decorating. I also have a weakness for pretty hardcovers, so…
I adored rereading the first two books in the “Delirium” trilogy, and I think that I appreciate them even more now than I did when I first read them. I love how starkly different each of Lauren Oliver’s books are in this trilogy, and it definitely showcases her talent as a writer. That being said, I was not a fan of the vibe that “Requiem” put off.
“Requiem” felt a bit limp and lifeless in comparison to the previous two books, and I think that it is mostly due to Lena. Her character was so aggravating in this book because of her internal monologue and how she treated both Alex and Julian. Personally, I think that both of them were better off without her. The guys got s*** done, whereas Lena whined 90% of them time, blamed other people for her problems, but then somehow she was credited for her “heroics.”
In addition to Lena dragging the story down with her whining and indecisiveness, I feel like the book was really slow and wandered (literally and figuratively) for 300 pages until something finally started to happen. Hana had some interesting moments, and she actually was the most dynamic person in this book, but it still took some time for her sections of “Requiem” to lead somewhere meaningful. I feel like the ending was so abrupt and empty due to how long the story wandered and how unresolved the world felt, “Requiem” almost felt pointless in this trilogy. Some advice, just stop at book two and make up your own ending, because that will be a hell of a lot more fulfilling.
I was not missing out on much over the last 5 years, but I am glad that I did finally read “Requiem.” It was so much fun to come back to a trilogy that I loved as a teen and to have its story and characters still resonate with me. Even though this trilogy had an unsatisfying final book, I definitely recommend reading this trilogy solely for the first two books, because they are SO worth it.