Requiem – Lauren Oliver
Requiem is the long-awaited final instalment of the Delirium trilogy, based in a future where love is considered a disease and must be cured. After finishing Pandemonium, the action-packed Requiem predecessor, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Requiem and start reading.
I hate to say it, but I’m not sure how I feel about Requiem. It definitely wasn’t as good as Pandemonium, which kept me hooked from the first word and left us with a massive cliffhanger. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed Requiem and I finished reading it within a couple of days, but I think it could have been better (maybe I expected better), and Pandemonium’s awesomeness proves that.
I thought that the introduction of Hana’s point of view was an interesting and brave move, but I’m not sure how well it paid off. I didn’t find Hana’s story particularly enthralling, and had grown so attached to Lena’s story throughout the first two novels that I felt the urge to skip over the Hana chapters to find out what Lena was up to. Of course, I didn’t do that, and I still enjoyed Hana’s story, SPOILER: even if she did turn out to be a bit of a snitch.
There just seemed to be something missing in Requiem for me. It was a bit like a roast dinner with no Yorkshire puddings or a Cornetto without a chocolate chunk at the bottom of the cone. There wasn’t that final treat to give me that sigh of contentment that I usually experience when finishing a good book.
That said, I’m almost always disappointed with the endings of book series, because I fall so in love with the story that I don’t want it to finish. It was the same with The Hunger Games, but I forgave Suzanne Collins because the rest of the Katniss’ story had been so enjoyable to read. So I guess I can forgive Lauren Oliver too.
SPOILERS (I tried to avoid them but it’s too tricky. Here’s my bodged no-spoiler attempt, which gives practically the whole game away anyway. Don’t say I didn’t warn you):
The entire trilogy centres around the love triangle between Lena, Alex and Julian, but the way it’s resolved seemed absolutely rushed. That’s if it even is resolved at all. My reaction was: “What… that’s it? That’s the epic reunion I’ve been waiting for?”
Maybe it’s because I was actually team the other one that didn’t win… (see, I tried not to spoil it TOO much). Of course, I knew all along which boy she’d choose (at least I think she chose him). But, we had hardly even heard from him at all in this book. We weren’t given a chance to fall in love with him again, and I think that was a big problem for me.
I personally fell in love with the one that didn’t win. There’s a particular touching moment around page 28 that stuck with me the whole way through, and made me feel that Lena’s final decision was a silly one.
Another thing that I found odd was the relationship between Lena and her mother, Annabel. I think there could have been some really heartfelt moments here, especially considering the fact they hadn’t seen each other for more than a decade, during which time Lena was led to believe that her mother was dead. But it was just sort of brushed over, and didn’t become a pivotal part of the story. It’s a bit of a missed opportunity, I think. However, I know that Lauren Oliver has written a short story about Annabel, and I haven’t read it yet, so perhaps once I’ve read that I’ll change my mind.
Lena didn’t seem as strong in Requiem as she did in Pandemonium. There were moments when she really got on my nerves. For example, the time when she wanted to abandon a girl who had just lost her family and was suffering from nasty injuries because she was jealous that said girl had spoken to Alex… yeah. Seriously.
I also felt that there were loads of unanswered questions at the end of the book. We don’t find out what happened to many of the other characters, even Hana. If you’ve read my blog about the Lauren Oliver event at Waterstone’s last week, you might remember that she mentioned she doesn’t like closing the door on readers. She likes to allow fans to continue imagining the stories of the characters long beyond the end of the books. But I wonder whether she left the door open a little too wide…
I feel like I’m being a little bit harsh here. I still want to give Requiem four stars and the trilogy has definitely found a spot in my top YA series list. Plus, following the book signing and her inspirational talk last week, I still really admire Lauren Oliver. But I think the ending needed just an extra page or two to round off the romantic storyline. Perhaps she was trying to please everyone by not making it crystal clear who won Lena’s heart, but I think the readers deserved a bit of closure, even if it wasn’t quite the closer they were hoping for.
It’s still worth reading the Delirium trilogy if you haven’t already and my review hasn’t just spoiled the whole thing for you, mostly thanks to Pandemonium’s greatness. If it wasn’t so good, I wouldn’t feel so bothered about the ending. Just be warned that you might come away from it feeling a little bit cheated.
On a more positive note, I’m very excited about the Delirium TV series progress that’s been happening in the recent weeks, and I think that the series has the potential to be brilliant if it’s done well. After all, the concept is still one I wish I had thought of first. It’s pretty genius.
I’d love to know your thoughts on the Delirium trilogy’s conclusion. Did you enjoy it, or did you have some of the same complaints that I’ve expressed in my review? Let me know in the comments section below or on Twitter.
If you enjoyed the Delirium trilogy, you might like:
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Matched – Ally Condie
Divergent – Veronica Roth
The Maze Runner – James Dashner
Gone – Michael Grant
Starcrossed – Josephine Angelini
Finally finished reading ‘Requiem’ and let myself read your review. (I was too terrified of spoilers to read it before now!)
I agree with you on so many points. Loved your comparison to “a Cornetto without a chocolate chunk at the bottom of the cone,” as that’s a little how I’m feeling! Like you, I would have liked a little more closure, and a more passionate conclusion to the love triangle. Though I always knew the ending would be sad for me whether Lena chose Alex or Julian (I couldn’t decide between them!), I’d have liked to see more time devoted to the end of the triangle, given the precedent of the first two books. It might have made me feel a little happier about the boy who won, rather than sad about the boy who lost!
I think the only point I differ on from you is that I really enjoyed Hana’s chapters. I really felt the increasing claustrophobia of her situation, and some of the details just made me shudder!
Thanks for a great review! 🙂
I meant to reply to you on this one when you commented Kendra, sorry! Now that I’ve had time to reflect on Requiem and the initial feelings have subsided, I’ve realised that Hana’s chapters weren’t so bad after all. It was certainly interesting to find out what goes on in the mind of someone who’s been through the cure – even if it didn’t quite work on her.
Like you, though, I still wish that Lauren Oliver had devoted more time to the love triangle to round it off nicely, which is probably why I felt negatively about the Hana chapters. Perhaps without the Hana chapters – or at least with less of them – we would have been treated to that chocolate at the end of the Cornetto after all! 😉