Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
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.
Let me preface this review by saying that I would have been a thousand times more emotional and would have had even more of a complete mental breakdown if not for the lovely person who allowed me to text them, "but...Julian...but Alex..."What makes this series so different is the writing. The writing, the writing, the writing. There are other dystopian books as tightly plotted, with biting plot twists and explosive scenes. Requiem is all that and more but it's the writing that makes the plot twists more gripping, the romance more agonizing.Lauren Oliver has just gotten better and better with this series. Her gorgeous, thoughtful writing adds this electric quality to an already exciting plot. Her characters are surprising and her themes woven in with an irrefutable grace. Lauren Oliver has this way of making the little details very intricate, and realistic. Some of the details break my heart actually. It's a dystopian, and so there's a fine line between hopeful and sobering. This book plays hopscotch with that line. Lena had to make some very difficult decisions and leave some people behind, and not everything works out in the end.My emotions were all over the place. To be honest, I didn't really like Delirium. I hated the open ending and I thought the premise was too vague to sustain the elaborate world building that I enjoy in books like this. Then I read Pandemonium. The sequel seemed to be everything that the first book wasn't. I was glued to its pages and finished it in one sitting. Her soft, brutal writing enhanced everything perfectly.The world Lauren's created over the past three books has just gotten better and better. It's crueler and more beautiful. Lauren Oliver raises questions about love and emotion that truly made me think. "Love" in Requiem made people go crazy for the sake of the people they loved. The Invalids took risks and screwed up and put other people's lives on the line because of their emotions. It does make you sit back and think, are we like that? What do people risk and act like because of their emotions? It was an interesting perspective of the dystopia, the idea that it's a disease instead of something put on a pedestal by so many people.Requiem was told split between two points of view. On one hand, we have Lena. She's fully plunged into the revolution, having already tasted her share of love and heartbreak and struggling between what to fight for in the end. On the other, we have Hana.My heart ached for Hana throughout the book. She was cured, and there was a bit of a grey area there. She wasn't sure how much she was supposed to feel or what she was supposed to be questioning. She wasn't sure about how she felt about Lena and how she felt about Invalids/Valids. It was interesting to have the contrast between her and Lena because they were both confused but on different ends of the spectrum. On one hand, uncured and unsure of what that was supposed to mean. On the other, cured and unsure of whether that was a good thing. Hana's chapters really enforced a lot of the cons to the dystopia, but Lena's chapters really drove the questions of whether love was a good thing and the confusion behind it all. It was really beautiful in the end and Requiem deftly explored so many concepts related to love.In the first book, Lena was learning what love was. She was innocent and knew less. In the second book, she became more hardened. In the third book, she loves people but she also seems to understand the risks and heartbreak that come with that. Not everything was perfect and sometimes she doubted what she was fighting for. She noticed how crazy people were acting in the camps and how messy their world was because of it. Maybe they would be better off without love.Lena's questions about these types of things made me truly realize how much she's changed throughout the series. It's so hard for heroines to stand out nowadays in YA - they all seem to be strong and thoughtful and blend into each other much more easily - but Lena's personality and Lauren's writing made her stand out in the end.There were so many little things I loved about this book: I loved some of the new characters. Pippa, Fred, Coral. Even when I hated them, I loved that they made the story that much more complex and that much more confusing. I loved this one scene from Hana's perspective so much - her perspective on the cured society could be truly haunting at times. The reintroduction of Lena's past. Betrayals. Death-defying plans. So many characters have grown so much over the course of the series and it's really amazing to see how they've changed since the first book.The love triangle is so torturous. Everybody always complains about hating love triangles and I do too but this one was so good. Usually, I have a favorite but on this one, I was torn.Alex is passionate and moody but isn't a stereotype. I felt almost nostalgic reading about him. From the heartpounding end to the second book, we're plunged into a new dilemma. It's not just Lena and Alex fighting for their forbidden love anymore. They're not fighting for the Wilds. They're fighting for everybody else, for the world being plunged into ruin. Alex was a jerk sometimes but he was complex. You could clearly see why he acted the way he did and it only served to reinforce the idea that maybe love is a disease. It made you question even more.Julian is consistent and sweet but not overly - just a good guy who loves Lena. He's given up so much to be with her and that makes you want to root for him. People don't trust him because of his ties, but he tries so hard to adapt to the Wilds and works so hard to fight for the resistance. Like Alex, Julian is complex but he doesn't have that captivating mystery that Alex embodies. Despite this, he seemed to have a more soothing presence on Lena and it provided a nice contrast. Alex and Julian weren't opposites, just different, like it is in real life. I loved them both and couldn't decide who I wanted Lena to end up with in the end. Lauren Oliver made this so so difficult.Unlike many writers, Oliver doesn't lean towards one guy. She makes them both equally appealing in different ways and SCREWED WITH MY EMOTIONS.I can easily say that Requiem is one of the more aggravating books I've read recently. Not everything fits together. The mood is poignant, the writing reflective in a way that makes you want to throw the book against the wall and wish you had never picked it up because you're too emotionally invested in the characters and the world. It's messy and passionate and everything makes sense but you wish it didn't. That ending for a book would have made me cry. That ending for a series? Full-on mental breakdown. This book screwed with me so much, and that's exactly why I can say that I loved it.If you want a clear ending that ignores reality and makes sure all the characters are happy in the end, this book isn't for you. If you want a book that will make you feel something- truly feel something and question things that seem set in stone - this book is for you. I like books that make me question things and make me angry. I like books that make me cry my heart out. I like books where the characters feel so real to me that it hurts to let them go. It's heartbreaking. It's shattering. That last paragraph killed me. It's everything that I hoped the finale would be.Recommended for fans of: Maggie Stiefvater; Wither; Shatter Me; The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer; etc,.