Review: Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver

UK book cover of Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Well, hasn’t this been a rollercoaster of a series? And I’m not even talking about the plot here. I read Delirium and it was fine-ish. Then I read Pandemonium and adored it. Now I’ve read Requiem and we’re actually worse off than we started! I had high hopes for this book as I was so impressed with the second in the series, but unfortunately it completely and totally failed to deliver.

Plot summary: 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.

I should have learned not to read reviews of the books I didn’t like by now. Unfortunately, I have not learned this and it usually results in a puzzled expression and squinty eyes as I attempt to fathom what I have missed. Lord knows I don’t get it. There is so much wrong with this book. It has its good points, which are much the same as in Delirium and Pandemonium, but the glee, sobs and heart-wrenching angst that feature in other reviews seem to have passed me by entirely.

However, Lauren Oliver’s unbelievable world-building talent does needs a mention. The society she has created in these books provides the foundation for the entire series, and there aren’t many YA novels with a setting so believable and detailed as here. A lot of effort has gone into this and it shows. Genuinely, it’s brilliant.

I just found Requiem a little… I don’t know, gimmicky? The alternate chapter thing worked really well in Pandemonium; it was actually one of my favourite things about that book. Unfortunately that isn’t a reason to force it into this one. Chapters alternate between Lena and Hana and it just doesn’t work! Hana has barely been mentioned in the series since very early on, and there’s no reason to feature her and her boring irrelevant life just to continue an alternating pattern trend. I didn’t enjoy her chapters and didn’t think she was really required at all.

Thinking about it, it was the characterisation on the whole that really let down this novel. They all seem kind of… flat. Clearly Alex is meant to be all aloof and mysterious, but he’s just a cardboard cut-out of a Nothing character. Lena annoyed me quite a lot, which didn’t help. She isn’t fair to Julian at all, but apparently this is okay. He gave up everything for her, but all she can do is obsess over Alex for no apparent reason. I would genuinely like to shake her and, without getting on my high horse, it sends a terrible message to young girls about how to treat their boyfriends.

It is a lot more romance-orientated than the first two books, but that’s understandable. It is the last book in a series about love, after all. Unfortunately there’s not really anything to balance that out, despite the ongoing revolution. There’s a lot of repetitive running from camp to camp and not actually doing a whole lot. Isn’t that the prerogative of the second book in a series, usually?

Actually, that might have hit the nail on the head. Requiem feels like a second book. Aside from anything else, there’s no ending! It just kind of… stops. Nothing is resolved. Without giving it away, there isn’t a single sub-plot that is tied off. Genuinely, I actually had to go online and check there wasn’t a final chapter on Lauren Oliver’s website. I kept reaching for it to finish it, only to realise that, theoretically, I already had. This was the main point for me, I think. If you’ve reached the third book in a series, you’ve invested quite a bit of time. You at least deserve a proper ending.

I wanted and expected to like Requiem, but I just couldn’t. There are too many faults with the structure, the plot and the characters. As I said above, the world-building is excellent but it just wasn’t enough to save the book for me. Pandemonium was definitely the high part of the Delirium series, but unfortunately Requiem is the lowest – not ideal for a finale.

Regarding the series as a whole, I’m not sure what to tell you. If I based my recommendation on this book alone, I’d tell you to stay well clear. I’d like to recommend reading just the first two installments and stopping after Pandemonium, but that clearly doesn’t make sense either. Alright then, my final conclusion is that it’s definitely worth reading the first two for their own value, and then this one just to tie it off. Just don’t expect a great deal from it.

Fin.

Read my reviews of Delirium and Pandemonium.  

Comments

  1. Ellie Warren says:

    I found the first two books quite average so I haven't run out to finish off the trilogy. I'm not sure I'll bother as I don't really care what happens to the characters…and I feel that's the only point in reading this!

  2. I've heard good things about this book!

  3. Swati Hegde says:

    Pandemonium was amazing, but Requiem wasn't up to my expectations.
    Read my review here:
    http://geekie-chic.blogspot.in/2014/01/pandemonium-and-requiem-delirium.html

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