Sunday, March 31, 2013


Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Harper (HarperCollins)
Released: March 5, 2013
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Delirium #3
Source: Library
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 fiancĂ©e 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.
I usually cut out the last few lines of Amazon's summaries, since they're usually reviews in and of themselves,  giving opinions about the book. And since I'm going to give you my opinion after the summary, I usually feel like it's either unnecessary or counterproductive to include their review. But this time - this time, Amazon's reviewers got it just right. The writing is lyrical, the weaving of peril and tumult is seamless, and the whole book is definitely sophisticated and wide-ranging. As for my own feelings...

I love the alternating points of view from Lena to Hana. The juxtaposition of the war Lena is fighting, with all the danger and narrow escapes, against the silent struggle Hana has as a cured, paired, soon-to-be wife, heightens the sense of urgency and necessity for rebellion and revolution. Of course, I was hoping throughout that they would meet up and somehow reconcile. And we sort of get that - but it's much more beautiful than I could have imagined. Because Hana is cured, after all, but the hints of her not being totally cured and the horrors that she is uncovering mean that her choices are not all according to the rules. I love that she is instrumental in the final battle. After seeing her struggle every second chapter, that little bit of fight means so much.

But as for Lena - her tragic love story continues, and only gets more tragic as Alex reappears in her life after she thought he was gone, after she found another love. And worse, Alex seems to hate her now. She wants to go back to Alex, but she doesn't want to hurt Julian, and Alex doesn't seem to want her anyway. She struggles to find her place in this new and shifting territory, to suppress her seemingly doomed love for Alex, and I love the way the interactions between the two boys mirror her inner struggle. There are a lot of symbolic gestures in this plotline, and when it finally comes to a conclusion, I was relieved that Lena could find peace and love, and that she felt that as she was fighting for the right to choose, she was able to be happy with the choices she was allowed to make.

The rest of the story - the fighting and danger - is beautifully written. It feels so immediate, every time the characters go into battle. Twice, people are carrying bombs to be detonated at a certain point, and Lena worries that the bomb will go off in the carrier's bag. I think that's symbolic of how the whole story goes - they plan things, but with all the variables and the danger, they never know when the whole thing will blow up in their faces - and not just in terms of the fighting but also in terms of all the relationships. Some of the people we've grown to love end up dying, and the others are left to cope with these expected but still shocking losses.

The final few pages, with the images of the walls around Portland being torn down, remind me of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. I couldn't help comparing the Delirium series, then, to East Berlin and Communism. Not to go too deep, but then, too, there were "regulators" and people were denied the right to choose. And that gave me more of a rush as the people of Requiem finally got their freedom, finally tore down the barriers to love and feeling and emotion, finally reclaimed the basic right to choose, even when those choices could bring heartache and anguish.

One thing - I don't think the final few paragraphs, a sort of essay about tearing down the walls, was necessary - we got it from the descriptions of the act itself. 

Definitely a thrilling conclusion to a really great trilogy!

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