Author: Lauren Oliver
Format: Paperback, 391 pages
Source: ARC sent to me by publisher (unrequested)
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 fiancée 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.
Well, I didn’t make it through this series in five days as I hoped, but I did make it through in just over a week. Apologies for the lateness of this review, by the way.
Requiem starts pretty much right after Pandemonium ended, but with a twist: In Requiem, Lauren Oliver places Hana in the spotlight as well, giving us the opposing views of what life is without the cure and with it.
Life kinda sucks for both of them. Lena is fighting for her life – eating very little, getting attacked, and fighting along with the resistance. Hana is fighting for her freedom in other ways – she’s been paired with a guy who is mayor, and he’s working to keep her well-behaved as he enacts new and frightening laws.
It’s not that the writing is bad – in fact, like in the other two books, the writing is pretty sharp. I love Lauren Oliver’s descriptions, and I felt like certain moments of this book actually had me on the edge of my seat a little more than Delirium and Pandemonium. It definitely feels like the action side of the writing has improved throughout this series.
I liked some of the Hana sections and it felt good to catch up with her – she was definitely my favourite character in the first book, and I missed her a bit in the second.
A few things really irked me about this book, and about the series in general.
1) The “love triangle” – Sorry, guys, this is what I have to say about the so-called love triangle:
The book makes it so that there really is only one choice between Alex and Julian, and frankly, it SUCKS. A good love triangle gives you two good choices, and throughout this book, it was obvious who Lena’s choice was going to be, and it was even more obvious to me that both the guys deserved better than her.
2) Lena’s character – I haven’t been a fan of Lena from the beginning of this series, and I thought she showed some promise in Pandemonium, but man, was I bored with her in this book. I found her inability to choose and the way she treated certain people completely annoying. I didn’t understand how easily she forgave, or how she could be so stupid as to believe that both Alex and Julian didn’t adore her. She redeemed herself a little in the end, but essentially, I would have been more happy to have a Raven-Hana story, with Lena in the background.
3) The lack of theme – The thing that bothered me the most about this book was, as I said in my Pandemonium review, the complete lack of theme or “why should I care about this”-ness in this book. I really struggled to understand what the overall motivation was for the series, and what it was really exploring. To me, it was nothing more than characters jumping from plot point to plot point, with no real meaning or lesson to it all.
4) The ending. I think everyone else has already said it, but this was pretty much me after that ending.
Honestly, this whole series felt a little bit like an author experimenting with ideas and structures – it was like a creative writing class where each book was that week’s assignment: “write a first-person dystopian love story!” “Write a first-person dystopian love story with flashbacks!” “Write a dystopian book with alternating narrators!”. It was interesting structurally, but it also made the writing feel a bit juvenile to me.
Revolution: I do like books where revolutions are taking place, and society needs to be taken down a notch, so I was glad for that part of it. I won’t say anything else about this part of the book, though – it’s a bit of a spoiler how it all works out.
The Final Word
Requiem was a disappointing and lacklustre read for me, especially in light of it being the final book in the series. The whole trilogy was difficult for me to get through, and I found the lack of theme and character development really off-putting.