Free Love at Last (a review of Lauren Oliver’s Requiem)

Posted: December 28, 2014 in Book Review

Requiem (Delirium, #3) “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.”

Lauren Oliver’s final book in the Delirium series was an exciting tale with interesting characters and plenty of action.

This time we get to learn about what happened to Hana after her procedure. Fortunately for her, the ‘cure’ didn’t completely work. Each of her chapters has Hana struggling between her old adventurous self and a new muffled, not really happy person. This Hana suffers from an overwhelming guilt that has her doing risky things for a cured. Oliver gives us a bit of a surprise when we find out why she feels so guilty and how it relates to Lena’s escape.

We get a bit of a plot twist with the arrival of Alex (he returned in book two). Now, we have two boys, Julian and Alex, in love with Lena. Unfortunately, she loves them for different reasons. And, to add a little more drama Oliver gives us an attractive distraction for Alex by the name of Coral. Fortunately, these obvious relationships do not take away from the overall action of the story.

I was delighted to read about a more mature Lena. She has officially joined the Resistance and they are fighting to give people a choice. When her ragamuffin group catches up with a large group of Invalids I immediately pictured images of Woodstock–hordes of people, make shift facilities, poor sleeping arrangements. Oliver doesn’t skimp on the details here at all. The reader gets the full effect. Not only could I visualize the scene, but, I could imagine what it must have smelled like. I could even feel the anger that many of the Invalids, now called homesteaders by those who lived in The Wilds, displayed. How could they not be angry? They were forced to live like animals. They went days without food, proper shelter and even proper hygiene. And, they had people who wanted them dead just because they chose to have emotion.

I really loved the characters in this trilogy. They actually got stronger with each installment. In Requiem we meet Pippa, a strong leader who was a friend of Raven. This is a character that is likable from the very beginning. She had heart and spoke honestly. I wish there had been more time in the story to learn more about her. Writers know that all stories must have good antagonists as well as protagonists. Oliver delivers with Fred Hargrove, Hana’s pair. The more I learned about him the more I disliked him. There was nothing redeemable about a character who could get rid of his father and plot to permanently eradicate the Invalids. Oliver even provides a glimpse of him as a kid. Let me just say that the folks at PETA would hate him too.

The end of the book reminded me of the destruction of the Berlin Wall. As climatic as that event was, the end of Requiem doesn’t compare. It was an okay ending that left me wanting more details. What happens with Hana? Did Fred get his just reward? Oliver does hint, however, at a future for Alex and Lena. And, we get the idea that the demise of the wall is a new beginning.

Fortunately, Oliver does follow Requiem with a few short stories about Alex, Hana, Annabelle (Lena’s mom) and Raven. I thoroughly enjoyed the one about Alex, included at the end of the book. It helped put a little closure on his tale. I’m optimistic that the other tales will do the same.

Although I was a bit disappointed with the end of Requiem, I still recommend the book and the series. You’ll enjoy the story and the characters. I look forward to reading more from Oliver.

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