Sunday, January 26, 2014

[Review] Requiem (#3) by Lauren Oliver

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(#3, Delirium)
Delirium | Pandemonium | Requiem

Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 05/03/2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 391
Source: Bought
Genre: YA (14+) - Dystopian

Violence | Sexual ContentProfanity


Book Tunes
Placebo - The Bitter End

My Rating:
Surprising and beautiful

My thoughts

To be completely honest I'm surprised that this series finale didn't disappoint me. Not in the slightest. I remember that Delirium was the very first book that I read for review through Netgalley. It proposed an original and somewhat fluffy dystopian concept, but more importantly it was written by Lauren Oliver -- I had just recently read her debut novel Before I Fall, which I was highly impressed with, both for its story progression and writing style. Even now, three years after I've read my first Oliver book her writing and talent continues to amaze me. I'm not going to say this book was perfect but it was a constant rollercoaster ride, entertaining; full of twists and turns that seems to come with the dystopian genre; it tied up the series well, and it was full of emotion and yet more lovely quotes.


Requiem is told in two perspectives: Lena and her best friend Hana who she had left behind in Portland. I haven't read any of the short stories so perhaps my viewpoint isn't entirely informed, but I loved that Oliver chose to include Hana's point of view as we don't know what had happened to her after Lena escaped. The writing style is uniformly good. I adore the way Oliver writes. At times it was a bit hard to differentiate the two voices since I found them to be a little bit similar, but I don't really have any complaints.


The story progressed at a satisfyingly constant and steady pace. There was a good balance between moments of emotion and reflection, and action. I'm actually surprised by how satisfied I am by the way Oliver ends the series. It's not completely closed-off, there is definitely potential for a follow-up, but I actually prefer a tiny bit of ambiguity (though everything is answered, it just feels like there could be more). There wasn't really any point in the book where I felt bored or overwhelmed with too much dialogue or explanation or description. I felt that it was all very well balanced.

Character-wise, I still like Lena, and I liked getting to know Hana all over again. The way that Oliver intertwines their stories (which is expected, considering the dual perspective) is clever, poignant and drives home the difference between Society and the Wilds, how a little time away can change people and split people apart. Lena is even more headstrong in this book; but despite that she is still a young girl in love, torn between a great man and her first love who introduced her to this new life. Hana has been cured and is promised to the mayor's son; she is perfectly content with his position until she discovers something about her fiance... I can't wait to read her short story. I find her to be an interesting character and I want to know more about what happened to her after Lena escaped. The exploration and development of their friendship is so bittersweet and deeply resonates in me personally. I think anyone can relate to that horrible drifting apart from a friend that you once loved so much.

Alex... Julian... I never really jumped aboard a ship, I guess, until Oliver chose for me. They both have their moments, with Lena. Alex was the Invalid who brought her to this world, who introduced her to life outside of Zombieland. I still remember every moment they've shared, and I think their development was more dramatic, therefore making it more favourable and memorable in my heart. Julian was this big, prominent political figure back in Zombieland; Lena saved his life and brought him to the Wilds. She taught him what it was to love, to feel supported and safe and wreckless, fearless, free. While love triangles don't always sit right with me I wasn't too bothered with this one. Couldn't really tell you the reason why, though.

As for the other characters, such as Raven and Tack, Hunter and Bram, Coral, Pippa... Lena's mum... all fairly memorable and likeable. Even Coral, who I disliked for the majority of the story, grew on me. Lauren Oliver has this way of tapping into the core of the human spirit and imbued each of them with something real. I'm not very good at visually representing characters, so I guess they're vaguely drawn in my mind, but I think that they will stick with me for a while yet.

It's possible that Requiem is my favourite in the trilogy, though I found the whole series to be thrilling and wholly enjoyable. Lauren Oliver can do no wrong in my eyes. This one is definitely on my to-reread list, and I can't wait to read Panic as well as The Spindlers (which managed to escape me upon its release), as well as many more of her works to come in the future. The concept of this imagined dystopian world--what if love were a disease?--may seem a bit arbitrary, elementary, ridiculous. However, Oliver touches on important and relevant themes, such as sacrifice, love, the price of power and control, the importance of choice, humanity, life, death.

Quotes

First line: I've started dreaming of Portland again.

Favourite quotes:

"I can admit, now, that I must have loved Lena. Not in an Unnatural way, but my feelings for her must have been a kind of sickness. How can someone have the power to shatter you to dust--and also to make you feel so whole? (56)

"This is what amazes me: that people are new every day. That they are never the same. You must always invent them, and they must invent themselves, too. (98)

"My former people were not totally wrong. Love is a kind of possession. It's a poison. And if Alex no longer loves me, I can't bear to think that he might love somebody else. (126)


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I purchased this book with my own money. All opinions written here are my own.



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