March 21, 2013

Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Title: Requiem (Delirium #3)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: March 5th, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 391
Source: Borrowed from Daphne
Rating: An angst-missing & character-crowded end to a pretty good series.
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.
[Summary Source: Goodreads]

The final installment of the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver is a dual narrative. On the one hand, Lena does a lot of angst filled hiking. On the other, Hana deals with a potential terrible marriage. And then the entire series kind of tumbles to a conclusion.

Let's break this down:

I'm not going to lie to you guys. This wasn't my favorite series. It's not that I don't LOVE Lauren Oliver's prose because I DO. It's stunning and I want to live in it. So I think my issue stems from the plot.

I know I've talked about this with a couple of my blogging buds but for me, the whole series has this strong religious undertone. Maybe it's because I'm a religion major or because I'm religious myself, but I noticed it in the first book and never really could shake it. Because let's face it, if you're paying attention, Alex is Jesus. Like, in the first book there a couple of times where Alex's hair is described as looking like a crown of thorns. And then he "dies" and "comes back to life." Granted, there's no story of what happens after Jesus comes back to life, so book 3's kind of an improvisation, but there's really no lack of religious themes in book 3, what with the story of Solomon, the mothers and the baby being the basis of just about all of Lena's choices.

Now look, it's not that I don't think books can have religious undertones and I definitely don't think this book was pushing anything on anyone. I just kind of wish I knew that's what I was getting into. It's like, I was frolicking through the woods and expected to see some deer, a squirrel and a couple of chipmunks but then ran into a rhinoceros and I was all *double take* say WHAT now?

But that's not the only thing that irked me.

First of all, at the end of book 2 I was all: HERE COMES THE TENSION. HERE IT COMES, I AM READY. And then book 3 was like: NONE FOR YOU, GABY. Not a single candy cane for you. Sure, there's a moment here or there, but there could have been SO MUCH MORE ANGST. I know most of the times we wish for LESS ANGST but, guys, when the build up calls for it, I expect it or I get moody.

Furthermore, this whole dual POV? It's not that I didn't like dual POV books and I think the transitions between chapters were pretty solid (Lauren Oliver remains the brilliant writer I praised at the start of this review), but since Lena and Hana were living two completely different lives in two completely different places, it was kind of stressful to go back and forth. Like, I would have been much happier if it had been Lena and Alex. Or Lena and Julian. Or Julian and Alex. (Can I haz that?) I'm not saying I didn't enjoy the Hana bits. It's possible I liked them MORE than the Lena bits (because Lena just kind of sits there the whole book) but yeah.

Third is Lena. She REALLY DOES JUST SIT THERE. Like, decisions are made for her and she just goes along with it until the very end. Then at the end she actually DOES make a bunch of decisions but honestly? I don't care so much at that point.

Finally we have the boys. Julian's a prince. I just want to hold him close and pet his un-crown-looking hair. And Alex was strangely erratic and cryptic (see what I did there?), which is likely in character with what he went through, I just don't understand how that leads to the ending we receive. NOR does it explain Coral, who really just seems like a plot device to me. But then again, this series is VERY character heavy. It's almost like Lauren Oliver wanted to do something and was like: "hey, let's create a BRAND NEW PERSON to make it happen instead of using the 20 I've already invented to make this work." Needless to say that stressed me out A LOT.

I don't know you guys. I rode the struggle bus trying to get through this one. But I do like what Lauren Oliver was trying to do here. The premise for series is the bomb dot com and the first two books were pretty explosive, I just feel like the ending flopped a bit.

PS: Is it wrong that the character I find most compelling based on what's ACTUALLY written and not what I'm left to assume is Fred? Like WHOA that boy is something. 

The long and short of it?

Plot: Where was the angst? Where was the fighting? Can I have a little decision making from the main character? No? Well. Okay then.
World Building: The structure of the world Lauren Oliver created remains intact throughout.
Character Development: I don't think anyone did anything worth doing in this whole story. Except maybe Hana. She's pretty impressive, cured or otherwise.
Prose: The usually stunning beautiful-ness that comes with reading a Lauren Oliver book.
Would I Recommend This Book?: If you REALLY like dystopian or you've already started the series, sure. If not, skip it.

So this one didn't do it for me. That doesn't mean YOU didn't like it! Tell me, did you see the religious themes or am I dreaming? And make sure to mention how crazy I am for being intrigued by Fred before you go. Someone needs to check me into a mental asylum and it might as well be you guys!


  1. Yeah... I don't think it's any secret how I felt about this book. It was a total letdown, especially after two pretty solid first books. I mean, I guess I appreciate what Oliver was trying to do... but I'm not really sure what the point of it was. Why serve cookies after delicious filet Mignon? There are so many things I want to agree with you on, but if I did I'd probably end up writing a post in response to your post. So I'll focus on two: Hana and Julian. Yes to everything you said about them in your review. Hate that the ending to this series was such a letdown!

    1. Okay look. I think you can always have cookies. But I suppose you should have something more special after filet mignon. But I'm sorry you didn't like it either!!! It really is such a let down, ESPECIALLY if you really loved the first two (which I didn't. But I didn't DISLIKE them either, y'know?).

  2. *wallows in misery* It's been sooo long since I read Delirium, and skimmed Pandemonium that I'm going to have to reread. I did pick up on the religious stuff! I just... I loved Before I Fall, and Delirium SO MUCH. SO MUCH. Delirium was literally the second or third book I read when I started blogging so I just. It's going to be such a disappointment when I read Requiem, to see Julian getting shafted, and Alex being a d-bag. And what is with Lena just sitting there?! How does that fit her character arc? Meh.

    Anyway, ranting over. Great review, chica. I love that I can trust you to tell me what you think, yo! <3

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

    1. >.< I'm sorry this one was such a let down! And I like how you put it: "Julian getting shafted and Alex being a d-bag." SO TRUE.

      And I'm GLAD you can trust me to be honest! ^_^


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