Sunday, March 10, 2013

Requiem: A Book Review

There will be NO SPOILERS in this review.* Enjoy! (:

*Though there will be no spoilers for Requiem, there WILL BE SPOILERS FOR DELIRIUM (BOOK 1) AND PANDEMONIUM (BOOK 2).

If you are completely unfamiliar with this series, I recommend you read my review for the first installment, Delirium, here.

I finished Pandemonium (Delirium Book 2) a little less than a month ago. At that point, I wasn't sure if I would read Requiem immediately upon release. My main reason for doing so anyway was because I didn't want to forget everything I had read previously. So, I picked up Requiem soon after it's release. In addition to my thoughts on Requiem I will summarize my thoughts on the whole Delirium trilogy as well. 

(taken from Kindle iPhone app)

Title: Requiem
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Book #3 in Delirium Trilogy
Preceded by: Pandemonium
Genre: YA dystopian
Pages: 432
Release date: March 5, 2013
Links: AmazonB&N | Goodreads

First, here's the synopsis straight from Amazon:

"Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway 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 infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.

As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena and Hana's points of view. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

With lyrical writing, Lauren Oliver seamlessly interweaves the peril that Lena faces with the inner tumult she experiences after the reappearance of her first love, Alex, the boy she thought was dead. Sophisticated and wide-ranging, Requiem brings the Delirium trilogy to a thrilling conclusion."

My thoughts as I read the book:

Like how Pandemonium chapters shifted between "then" and "now," Requiem also has chapters that switch back and forth, but this time between Lena's perspective and Hana's perspective. I was very pleased with this. Through Pandemonium I had been curious what happened to Hana and it was nice to shift the focus. I was much more engaged with Hana's chapters than I was with Lena's.

To keep things vague, there were many moments that I waited for in this book and a majority of them were less than satisfactory. Readers of Pandemonium know that the book barely addressed the issues of Lena's mother. I didn't feel as if this book did a great job with it either. I can see how others would disagree with me, but I wasn't thrilled with it. 

However, this book is packed full of events whereas Pandemonium felt like a very brief chapter in this trilogy. 


The pacing of the book was pretty fast. It never really got boring. As I stated earlier, I looked forward to Hana's chapters more than Lena's.


My biggest gripe with this entire trilogy are the characters. I find so many of them to be bland and underdeveloped. I got really tired of all the invalids names and stopped trying to keep track of them. I had a similar philosophy in Pandemonium. Raven and Tack were basically the only ones I remembered. The rest are a blur.

Even with this third installment I still don't feel like I have a good grasp of who Lena is as a person. She doesn't feel particularly real to me. Mostly, she is just bland. Nothing to hate, but equally nothing to love.

However, I did root for the invalids as an overall force. I believed in their cause and was disturbed by their suffering and the cruelty of those in charge.

And lastly, with the return of Alex I can't avoid of the question presented to Lena at the end of Pandemonium: Alex or Julian? For me, Alex. I would maybe pick Julian if I felt their relationship was better developed in Pandemonium, but it was all very very rushed. I liked it when they were imprisoned and growing to trust each other, but the jump to romance made me turn against them quickly. Alex and Lena, I felt, had a better, longer growth. I cared enough to internally root for Alex, but not enough that I would have been heartbroken if it didn't turn out that way.

My thoughts on the end (no worries. spoiler free remember?):

Immediate reaction: Nope. Not happy with it. Cop out. Unsatisfactory. I am willing to forgive if Lauren Oliver takes all the copies back and rewrites it. 

Reaction after I thought about it: Still not happy with it, but I don't hate it as much as I originally did. 

Final Verdict:

It was a fast-paced conclusive novel that kept me on my toes. Overall, I enjoyed the series though it's not close to the top of my favorite teen dystopian novel. However, if you have been reading Delirium and Pandemonium and you really enjoyed those novels, you will enjoy Requiem too. One thing I have to give Lauren Oliver is consistency. Her novels are very consistent. That is both a good and bad thing. Good: Unlike Mockingjay, her final novel did not take a nosedive. Bad: It also means she didn't have an extraordinary, outstanding novel that I could easily label my favorite. Aside from the fact that I felt Pandemonium was incredibly short, I liked all the novels of this trilogy fairly equally.

Further Reading:

(photo credit)

Most of you who read this trilogy may already be aware of this, but if you're not, Lauren Oliver has been writing companion short stories. Each story stars an individual character within this trilogy. The three are "Annabel," Lena's mother, "Hana," Lena's childhood best friend, and "Raven," the companion Lena makes in the Wilds. They were recently compiled into a short story book which you can find in the below links.

I haven't read any of them so I can't say how they are. But considering I'm a little sad to see this series end, I may pick it up shortly.

Links: AmazonB&N | Goodreads

Additonally, while I realize I may be falling into advertisement traps, I'm curious about Before I Fall, another Lauren Oliver novel. I've seen the title advertised on all her other books and it has been mentally bookmarked. However, I do have this weird thing where I don't like consecutively reading books by a single author, so it'll be on the back-burner for the moment.

I hope you enjoyed this review~

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