Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Requiem

Requiem
by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #3
Publication Date: 05 March 2013
HarperCollins, Hardcover, 391 pages
Source: Library

Goodreads | The Book Depository | Amazon

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

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.

Rating: ★★★★★

And so, another trilogy has come to an end. The Delirium trilogy has certainly left an impact on me, and one thing’s for sure by the end of Requiem: everything has changed.

Let’s kick off this review with the writing style of the book! Requiem was written from two perspectives: Lena’s and Hana’s. I did not expect Hana to be brought back into the story after she and Lena had been separated in the first book, but I agree with Adel that it was genius of Lauren Oliver to bring her back! I personally found Hana’s perspective intriguing, as it gives readers a look at what Hana’s life is like after her cure. Her thoughts have changed – which is a given – but it wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be. I had envisioned for her to be more stiff and uptight, but her thoughts seem to stray off what I would call ‘normal’ for a cured at times.

Hana also had an encounter with Willow (a friend from high school), which was definitely a creepy one. I suppose she would be labelled as a ‘reject’ after her procedure – her mind seemed to have been wired wrongly. There just seemed to be an air of gloom around her, and I absolutely detested the fact that a  perfectly normal person loses her mind (literally) after the procedure. How ironic for the procedure to be called a ‘cure’ when the people become crazy after going through it.

As for Hana’s fiancé, Fred, the only thing that I can say about him is that he is terrible. Absolutely horrible and atrocious! At times, the feels were so overwhelming that I just wanted to reach into the book and strangle him to death. I pitied Hana for the fact that she was engaged to this monstrosity of a man.

Now, on to the stars of Requiem – Lena and Alex! The tension between the two was simply intense – I would say it was to the point where it felt suffocating. From the end of Pandemonium, one can already sense the tensions rising between them, especially when Alex sees Lena and Julian embracing. *cue dramatic music* And as if three wasn’t big enough a crowd, Lauren Oliver decides to add on to the drama and bring a fourth person into the picture – Coral. As this whole Alex-Lena-Julian-Coral saga takes place throughout the book, I shall not spoil it any further for you readers, and let the story take you on a wild and electrifying ride. ;)

For those who are curious about Coral, here’s what I have to say about her: she wasn’t what I had expected her to be, and although I was suspicious about her character at times, she was truly a nice person. As for Julian, he really needs to know the meaning of ‘having good timing’. I know that his intentions aren’t bad, but they’re just not appropriate for that particular moment.

The ending of Requiem was open, and left for readers to create and choose what kind of ending they wanted. This idea was constantly reiterated throughout the course of the book, using the fact that Lena and the resistance were fighting for freedom to be able to choose what they wanted, even if it meant choosing the wrong things. This ending left me with this feeling of rushing at such a fast pace and abruptly coming to a stop. I would say that the lyrics of Taylor Swift’s Red does describe how I felt:

 … driving a new Maserati down a dead end street

Faster than the wind, passionate as sin, ending so suddenly.

Of course, ‘dead end’ wasn’t the case for Requiem. Like I had said earlier – we were free to choose whatever ending we wanted for the story. Although there wasn’t a sense of closure for Requiem, I’m happy that it ended the way it did. It fit the story just fine.

To end off my review, I must caution you readers to be prepared for huge revelations in Requiem. One left me hopping around with rage, and I was simply stunned by how huge an impact it made. It totally took me off guard, so brace yourself for it. You’ve been forewarned!

Yours truly

Signature--JZ

Delirium Trilogy Withdrawal Tips and Some Music for Delirium

Delirum trilogy

Have you finished the Delirium trilogy and are feeling like poop right now? Drifting off during the day thinking about the story, reflecting on Lena’s journey, swooning over Alex/Julian or crying buckets because you probably aren’t going to hear any more about these endearing characters. Well, if all these describes you, you’re probably going through Delirium trilogy withdrawal. I guess it can apply to other trilogies/series that have finished and is not limited to just books, but here are some tips to get you through this delirious phase in life.

  1. Start on a new book! It’s the best way to prevent your mind from dwelling on your sadness.
  2. If no. 1 fails, then don’t read a book at all if you can’t get into it. Try movies instead. They are usually easier to focus on than books and take less time. Moreover, since most movies are standalone, you won’t be pining for more like you are doing for the Delirium trilogy.
  3. Get out there and have some fun! Be it shopping, exercising or just simply hanging out with friends, as long as you’re out of the house, it should work as a distraction.
  4. Write a review. That’s what I did and it helped a lot. Reflect on the trilogy and just pour out your feelings. Maybe it doesn’t need to be a review, it could be a letter that you’ll never show anyone instead. So long as you have an outlet for your roiling emotions, it’ll be good.
  5. Talk. To your friends, family, other bloggers or anyone who’s interested in books. If you’re too shy to tell others, babble to yourself. Of course not out loud if you’re uncomfortable, maybe through ways like those mentioned in no. 4.

So yes. That’s about it. I’m not really out of withdrawal yet but these are the ways that have helped me with it so far. I hope this is useful and though we need to get over the trilogy some day, no one says you can’t keep a little special space in your heart for it.

Before I end, I just need to share a great discovery I made while listening to music on the way to school a few days back. The song Crazier by Taylor Swift (it was used in Hannah Montana: The Movie) came on while I was reflecting on Requiem (which I’ve just finished). I started singing along in my mind and then, it hit me. Crazier is the absolute perfect song to describe Lena and Alex’s relationship in Delirium! The lyrics are completely sweet and filled with well, love. If you haven’t heard the song, I’ve provided a link to the official video.

Here are the lyrics:

I’d never gone with the wind
Just let it flow
Let it take me where it wants to go to
You open the door
There’s so much more
I’ve never seen it before
I was trying to fly
But I couldn’t find wings
But you came along and you changed everything

[Chorus:]
You lift my feet off the ground
You spin me around
You make me crazier, crazier
Feels like I’m falling and I
I’m lost in your eyes
You make me crazier, crazier, crazier

I watched from a distance as you made life your own
Every sky was your own kind of blue
And I wanted to know how that would feel
And you made it so real
You showed me something that I couldn’t see
You opened my eyes
And you made me believe

[Chorus:]
You lift my feet off the ground
You spin me around
You make me crazier, crazier
Feels like I’m falling and I 
I’m lost in your eyes
You make me crazier, crazier, crazier

Baby you showed me what living is for
I don’t wanna hide anymore
Oh oh

You lift my feet off the ground
You spin me around
You make me crazier, crazier
Feels like I’m fallin’ and I am lost in your eyes
You make me crazier, crazier, crazier, crazier, crazier

Thoughts? Opinions? I personally am a huge Taylor fan and love all her songs, especially her lyrics. I was also secretly replacing the parts where she sang ‘crazier, crazier’ with ‘delirious, delirious’. Wish this post has helped and enlightened you!

 

Cheerios!

Adel

 

P.S. Did you know there’s an official song for Delirium? Check it out here!

Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Requiem

Requiem
by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #3
Publication Date: 05 March 2013
HarperCollins, Hardcover, 391 pages
Source: Purchased

Goodreads | The Book Depository | Amazon

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR DELIRIUM & PANDEMONIUM.

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.

Rating: ★★★★★

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.

Adelena