Book Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Synopsis: Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The rebellion has ignited into an all-out revolution, 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 as 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. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

Writing Style: This novel has alternating chapters, but in this case it gives the perspective of both Lena and Hana on the same timeline. By doing so, Hana’s story of going through with the cure is given equal importance to Lena’s survival without the cure, showing how each of their lives have played out based on the choices they have made.

Pacing: Similar to the previous novel, the alternating perspectives keep the reader waiting to know what happens next. However, there were times when I wanted to skip past Hana and get back to Lena. The rebellion storyline was always more interesting as there was danger, intrigue, and relationship angst.

Plot: Hana’s story line felt a bit bland, but it showed the changes in Hana and how imperfect her life is despite the promises of the cure. She seems more fearful of making a misstep, and basically forced into marriage with an abusive psychopath. Lena’s side of things have her losing hope. She wasn’t happy, but rather in even more danger than before. Alex was her reason for living and she basically lost him twice over, but she tried to move on in any way she could because Lena has always been a fighter. In the end both girls are prepared to step into an unknown future.

Character: I suspected Hana had something to do with Lena getting caught in the first book, despite her helping aid Lena’s escape. Now we find out what Hana did and why. Hana definitely isn’t the same girl she was in the first book. I liked her, then thought her needlessly reckless, suspected her, then liked her again. The procedure dulled Hana, but it wasn’t totally noticeable until towards the end of this final novel. I wasn’t able to completely regain my previous liking of her, but Hana had some redeeming qualities. I wonder what her future would be like as a cured in a city that is populated by both cured and the uncured.

Romance: It isn’t really a love triangle, while it is. You have the love interests from the first book and the second book playing a role in the third book. Alex is Lena’s past and Julian is her present, but the reader is left wondering who will be her future? For me, Alex and Lena are connected, though I am unsure if that is because he came first and thus has my loyalty or because I like him better. As time passed I liked Julian more than before, enough to feel sorry for him as he loves Lena while she only cares for him. However, I felt worse for Alex seeing the girl he loved in a relationship with someone else. By midbook, I felt most for Lena once Coral came onto the scene, allowing her to feel what Alex felt. The resolution to this puzzle is a bit ambiguous, but hopeful enough to leave me satisfied.

Point of View: the thing that disappointed me a little was that Alex never had a voice, like Julian and Hana. Alex was such a significant character in all the books, whether he was present or not and this lack makes the trilogy seem a bit off kilter. I would love to get the story from Alex’s perspective from the moment he gets to the warehouse at the end of Pandemonium to past the end of Requiem.

Personal Thoughts: I cannot say I totally love the ending as I always prefer a “happily ever after” finish. However, the novel did provide hope for nearly everyone. I was sad to see some of the characters’ outcomes, but life is never perfect so a perfect story-book ending would likely have ruined the dystopian realism. I suppose the open ending allows for the short stories to tie up any loose ends… or at least I hope they will.

Quote: 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.

Verdict: Despite the “gritty” aesthetic, I liked this final book better than the second, but I’m undecided where it falls in comparison to the first. I did not expect the story to pan out the way it did, and both Hana’s and Lena’s lives were darker than I anticipated when I cracked open that first book. I may read this trilogy again in the future, but it would not be any time soon as I did not love it. However, I would definitely consider watching the movie should it ever be filmed.

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Author: JaimeKristal

JaimeKristal is a freelance editor and writer. She started her book review blog "Tales of a Booklover" for the enjoyment of sharing her love of reading.

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