by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #3
Publication Date: 05 March 2013
HarperCollins, Hardcover, 391 pages
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 fiancée 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.
This is it. The end of the journey – where one of the fictional lives I’ve been living for the past year comes to a bittersweet end. I’ve made it no secret that I’m absolutely in love (oh, the irony) with the Delirium trilogy. I still remember the day I picked up Delirium from the library. The gorgeous cover was what first captured me, followed by the synopsis – love as a disease, who would’ve thought? Truthfully, I never expected it to completely blow me away. Then came the impatient wait for Pandemonium. Though not my favourite book of the trilogy, Pandemonium made me feel so proud of Lena, how much more independent and capable she grew to be even without Alex there. I can finally see now why he couldn’t be in the second book as Lena needed to find herself, by herself.
After Pandemonium, the agonizing long wait for Requiem seemed like eternity but here I am now, finished with the trilogy. As you can tell from the rating I gave, I obviously enjoyed Requiem (heh, understatement). Though I’m dying to start babbling about the conclusion, let me start from the top. Requiem picks up pretty much immediately where Pandemonium left off. As seen from the end of Pandemonium, Alex came back, but changed. Colder, harder and well, seemingly ignorant towards Lena, he can’t get any further from the warm, sweet Alex who was in love with Lena in Delirium. However, I understood his actions. After spending months in the Crypts, which was probably worse than dying, in order to save Lena, when he finally sees her, she’s embracing some other dude. Must’ve been a pretty darn crappy feeling. Did they work things out? That’s for me to know and you to find out in the book. ;)
I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned this before, but I was quite upset when Julian came into the picture (in Pandemonium). I’ve always been annoyed with unnecessary love angles. However, in Requiem, I realised that Julian was needed, in order to portray Lena’s progress. How she was more decisive and could also have the ability to lead a relationship and not be led instead. Also, I got to admit that I’m impressed with Julian’s patience with Lena when Alex came back, I finally see that he’s actually a really nice guy (though no one can replace Alex, in my opinion). Moreover, Lauren Oliver had done something with this love angle that many YA authors did not. Which is to depict not only the girl’s struggle between two boys, but also the hardship the two guys were facing, being caught in a love angle, loving the same girl. I love that the tension and turmoil between all three of them were palpable.
As for the narration of the story, it was told from both Lena and Hana’s point of view. Lauren Oliver must be a complete genius to bring Hana back in the story! With Hana still in Portland, the unanswered questions of what happened to Lena’s family and what really occurred during the Incidents can be well, answered. I could literally see all the gaps in the plot being filled. Furthermore, providing a look into the mind of an actual Cured created a balanced narration, preventing it from seeming biased if only told from an Invalid’s perspective. A word of advice though, Hana did something horrible before she was cured, her actions were the catalysts that triggered a majority of everything leading up to Requiem. So be prepared.
In my opinion, the final installment of a trilogy can either make or break it. Requiem definitely made it. Delirium was lyrical and romantic while Pandemonium was action-packed and hard-edged. Requiem was right smack in the middle of those two – the perfect combination of emotions and adventure. Although categorised as dystopian, there was barely anything political to the conclusion of the Delirium trilogy, the main focus was on humanity and of course, love (both its positive and negative effects). Hence, it really wasn’t a big deal to me what happens after the end, whether the society in the story would have a whole new governing system.
I wouldn’t say this ending is for everyone. I’ll admit it was slightly open ended. However, I strangely did not mind. I knew who Lena ended up with ( it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out) but with this ending, those supporting the other guy, can still make themselves feel contented by choosing their own alternate ending. Don’t see it as an incomplete story, see it as the freedom Lauren Oliver has given us to choose what happens next. After all, isn’t freedom what the Resistance and the Invalids were fighting for? This ending just amplifies that message. With the freedom to choose, comes the opportunity to pick things that make us unhappy – this was reiterated throughout Requiem.
Although I know all good things have to come to an end, that doesn’t mean I can easily accept it. I won’t lie that I’ve been in withdrawal after completing Requiem. Everything in life seem to remind me of the trilogy and there’s this twisty feeling inside me that’s hard to shake. So for all those out there in withdrawal too, I’ll write a post soon about how to get past this (bittersweet) phase in life. This trilogy has brought me up and down, chewed up my heart and spit it back out, melted my insides to goo and made me cry buckets (30 pages into Requiem, I was sweating through my eyes). I’m sure anything that can trigger so much feelings must be nothing less than epic. I’ve learnt so much through these three books, just like Lena. To be braver, more selfless, appreciate the choices we have now and dare to love.
As I write the last paragraph of this review and say farewell to my straight out favourite trilogy ever – I mean it – I hope you guys out there would read Requiem with an open mind. I’m also incredibly thankful to Lauren Oliver for creating this beautifully twisted world I’ve lived through Lena in. Maybe it’s just because Lena and I are around the same height and I can find my full name in hers, or it could be more. All I know is, the Delirium trilogy has undoubtedly touched me and affected my outlook on life. Hopefully, it will do the same for all of you out there. Now, lets end off with one of the loveliest (no pun intended) quotes I’ve come across.
I love you. Remember. They cannot take it.