Friday, March 1, 2013

Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Friday, March 1, 2013 with 30 comments
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Title: Requiem
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: 3rd & final book in the Delirium series
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Source: from publisher via Edelweiss
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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 fianc√©e of the young mayor. 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.


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.
“And you can't love, not fully, unless you are loved in return.”
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.
“We wanted the freedom to love. We wanted the freedom to choose. Now we have to fight for it.”
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.
“This is the strange way of the world, that people who simply want to love are instead forced to become warriors.”
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.
“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.”
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.

Rating:   photo 4-1.png


30 comments:

  1. I've been waiting to hear your thoughts! I'm glad you were able to enjoy this last book and the dreaded ending that has everyone talking. I didn't love it but I also saw that it was fitting in a way. Great review! :)

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    1. I can see why so many were disappointed, I guess, but I'm a fan of the open-ended ending. *shrugs*

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  2. "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." - LOVE THIS!

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    1. Thank you! And thanks for stopping by!

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  3. This. These are my thoughts exactly. Excellent review!

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  4. I only skimmed your review because I haven't even read Pandemonium yet but, I am really glad that the ending was fitting in your opinion.

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

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    1. I think I enjoyed the first two books a little more, but the intensity is still there in Requiem and it was a definitely a fitting ending for the series.

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  5. Okay, I haven't read this series so I only read random parts of the review. I've seen some of my friends who really loathed this book as the end of the series. It really had me questioning whether I should even bother to start it (even though I do have a copy of Delirium). I trust your judgment though so I'll put it back on my MUST START THIS DAMN SERIES list. :) I figure even if I hate it, at least I'll get to see what all the fuss is about lol.

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    1. Yeah, I'm probably one of the few who liked the ending because most will want more closure than what's provided, but I really thought it fitting considering what the series is about. I'll be honest, it wasn't my favorite book in the series, but it was a worthwhile conclusion to the story.

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  6. I just skimmed your review because I still haven't read Panda yet! I've seen a lot of disappointed reactions to this third installment, so I was a little cautious--but seeing your 4 stars is a very good sign. :)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. Keep in mind that I'm in the minority on this one, Wendy. But considering our discussion at the end of Boundless, I think you might appreciate this ending more than others will.

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  7. Truly a lovely review, Jen. I am one of those who has put off reading the series because of the cliffhangers and I want to dive in and see what all the fuss about. I will be prepared to have hard truths flung at me. I waver on open ended endings....it just depends on if they are done right. It sounds like this is one of those cases. I will hopefully get to these sooner than later!

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    1. I do hope you get to this one soon, Heidi. It really is worth your time. And look at you, being smart and waiting till the entire trilogy was released before starting! :P

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  8. Great review! I can't wait to finish this series. I've only read the first book.

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    1. Oh, I think I liked Pandemonium as much as Delirium. It took a completely different direction but it was so good. Hope you love the other two books!

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  9. Your review is breathtaking. Literally stole my breath. Not only have I been excited for Requiem, but now I'm even more so. I'm not really looking forward to Hannah's perspective (I didn't even know she had a novella!) and I think I will be annoyed with the love triangle and how Lena deals with it, but I still am SO antsy to read it. The quotes are amazing as well.

    LOVE the review, Jen!

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    1. Thank you, Sunny! I'm curious to hear how you find Hana's POV when you get to this one.

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  10. Awesome Fantastic Review. I can't wait to read this last book.

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    1. And I can't wait to hear what you think of it!

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  11. Yay! So glad you enjoyed it! I was curious to see how you would feel since others are not so happy about the ending. Pretty sure I'll love it. :)

    Fabulous review, Jen!

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  12. I love this review!! I really love it... <3 I just realized how weird that is, considering that I haven't read Pandemonium or Requiem...huh. But your review just makes me want to read them, and soon! I love how you say that there was no better way to end it, it makes me think that I might need to move the last two books up on my list..sigh. Lovely review, Jen!

    Loves,
    Megan@The Book Babe

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    1. Thank you! I would definitely move this series up on your list, especially now that it's complete. Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

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  13. Jen I'm so happy to have found your review! You expressed what I was feeling about Requiem so well - especially when it comes to the ultimate message of the series, where the love triangle (if there really is one) isn't the focal point at all. And I love that about this book! I feel vindicated knowing someone else felt that way about Requiem too.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Brenna from Esther's Ever After

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    1. Yay! I feel better knowing you feel vindicated! :P I hate that all the focus is put on the love triangle when that's not in the spirit of the book.

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  14. I still haven't read the first one! =(
    Pabkins @ My Shelf Confessions

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  15. Great review :) I love this series so much and it was hard to say goodbye. I especially agree with you about the ending. Many people didnt Like it but I loved it. It was a perfect end

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  16. Very well said! I completely agree with every single statement in your review. At first I was upset about the review because I wasn't expecting it, but I have come to terms with it now! Thanks for the review that took the words right out of my mouth. :)

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  17. I gave this one 4 stars too. When I finished it, I didn't have negative feelings. While it wasn't what I wanted I can understand why she left it the way she did. I do wish there had been an epilogue, but not all writers do that. I wasn't disappointed. The end just made me want more.

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