Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: 3rd & final book in the Delirium series
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My friend Em saw that I finished this book a couple of days ago with a big *sigh* and she asked me whether she should still read the series. You see, she was smart and waited until the series was over to contemplate reading it. And despite some of the heartache I've had to overcome with these books, I told her that she should indeed give them a chance. The world of these books, the one that is dealing with the affliction of amor deliria nervosa, is one of our own making and deserves some consideration, as does the way the romantic entanglements were handled.
Love, the right to choose it and to feel it, is an underlying theme of this series. Anyone not subscribing to the government's proclamation that love is to be reviled and removed from the populace in all its forms is considered an Invalid or at least on their way to becoming one. But there is a Resistance, ready to rise up against a government that would take away their ability to love. Lena and Hana, once best friends, are now enemies, separated by a wall and the desire to love.
If you were expecting Requiem to concentrate on the fallout of finding out that Lena had found love after loss only to discover that that love was not lost after all, I do not wish to alarm you, but that is not the focal point of this book. That issue is addressed, after much avoidance, but that is all I will say on the matter. It is not who Lena chooses or who lives or dies along the way that is important...it is the struggle to survive and win back the right to choose that matters most in this story. It is the sacrifices made that matter even more because they represent a choice and the right to freely give up that choice.
Requiem is a dual narrative, like Pandemonium, but this time the story is told from both Lena and Hana's points-of-view, and I think that's where this story really lost me. I didn't enjoy Hana's character in Delirium, and reading the Hana novella did nothing to dispel my concerns about this character, so she already had two strikes against her coming into this final installment. Maybe it's because Hana is already Cured at this point, but even when she was taking risks or questioning things she shouldn't, she still seemed mechanical, for lack of a better word. I did see some improvement from her character toward the latter half of the novel, but it will never be enough to endear her to me.
Lena, on the other hand, remains tragically naive. She has found love not once but twice, and yet she still has no idea what to do with it. Lena may have found love after loss with Julian, but it became clear to me that she never understood what she had with Alex to begin with, the way she was handling the situation, like she didn't realize her love should have been worth fighting for, despite the fact that this is exactly the mission of the Resistance she is working with.
As expected, the writing in this book is beautiful and intense, though it is definitely a departure from the romances focused on in the previous books. Instead of caressing with words peppered in possibilities, Oliver uses Requiem to fling harsh truths and injustices at the reader. I read this book at a much slower pace than either of its predecessors, which I devoured, and I think that maybe this helped me to better appreciate where the story was going and why it had to go in that direction.
Although there will undeniably be some readers who cannot fathom the ending to this series, who cannot value the message, I believe that this ending was realistic and near-perfection. It is not a happy ending, nor is it a sad one, nor is it really an ending at all, but I feel that it fulfilled its purpose in providing closure. And that's my favorite kind of ending...one that leaves the reader with questions, not just about the story itself but about life in general.