Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: The Divergent Series
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Publish Date: January 1st, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Adventure, Dystopian, Fantasy
Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway 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 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. Requiem is told from both Lena and Hana’s points of view. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.
Requiem is the third installment in the Delirium series by best-selling author, Lauren Oliver. I absolutely adored the first two books in the series: Delirium and Pandemonium. The enchanting characters, enthralling plot, original setting, and dramatic cliffhangers kept me on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Requiem. I had been looking forward to this book for several months, and it fell disappointingly short of my expectations.
Now there’s not very much to put in a summary because not very much actually happens. I could summarize the entire book in a single sentence: Lena fools around with Julian to make Alex jealous in an attempt to return to their former relationship. Everything else serves as filler, focusing on that main point. In my estimation, a good 98% of the book was entirely unnecessary. In fact, I think this would have served better as a novella, rather than the final book in a series.
Contrary to Pandemonium, Requiem began several weeks after the end of its predecessor. That came as a bit of a shock – I was expecting a dramatic scene when Alex and Lena first come face to face. But no, we’re going to bypass all of that potential and launch head first into a description of a forest (because that’s such and intriguing start to the story. Unfortunately, the rest of the book doesn’t get much better.
The most upsetting aspect of this book was the conclusion, or lack thereof. And I mean there was no ending whatsoever. (This’ll be spoiler free – I promise!) At the end of the book, a war is raging on around the main characters, who are separated from one another in the attack. They manage to find one another in the mayhem and chaos just before the book comes to a close, not even revealing the outcome of the war, let alone who lives and who died or whether Lena chooses Alex or Julian. At that point, I had more unresolved questions than resolved, which was frustrating. I’m not a fan of vague, open-ended conclusions, if you hadn’t already gathered that.
The pacing was also off. The beginning was slow and made the book challenging to get into. This portion of the book was very detail heavy, which can be a bit boring and monotonous at times. The ending, on the other hand, was rushed and poorly described. Don’t even get me started on that again. I could talk about it all day, but I doubt anyone would stick around to hear it.
And now into the infamous love triangle. Readers were thrown for a loop when Alex appeared at the end of Pandemonium. He’s back for good, ladies! Being a Team Alex fan, I developed an automatic and obligatory dislike for Julian, which continued throughout Requiem. Compared to the first two books in the series, there were hardly any cute, romantic scenes to look forward to. There were two – maybe three – quick kisses in the entire book. The characters seemed flat and lacked the passion and chemistry that had previously existed (where did it all go?). If I have to suffer through a plotless book, at least give me some romance as a respite.
Lena was partly responsible for the lack of chemistry. She had grown significantly as a character throughout the first two books, but in Requiem,she became the whiny, helpless damsel in distress, expecting both Alex and Julian to come running to her aid. She and Alex shared mutual hostile feelings toward one another, yet Lena was unwilling to assume any responsibility for the state of their relationship. Instead, she fostered feelings of both animosity toward him and developed a sense of possessiveness. When Alex began talking to a half-dead girl that they had found in the woods, Lena was immediately overcome by jealousy and wanted to leave the bleeding girl there to die. Now that’s a combination of heartlessness and desperation.
Julian’s sole purpose was to function as a pawn. Whenever Lena was at odds with Alex, she would make a point of holding hands with Julian or emitting a high-pitched giggle in response to something he had said. She strung him along, only to break his heart over and over again. While I’m not the biggest fan of Julian, I did feel bad for him throughout the book. He was so innocent and oblivious – he never deserved that sort of treatment.
And then we get to Alex, who appeared to be PMSing for an obnoxiously long time. He, of course, blamed Lena for their destroyed relationship and spent the entire novel waiting for an apology. Let me point out that said apology never came. Therefore, he spent the entire book brooding and surly, never really acknowledging Lena or Julian. I fell in love with Alex in Delirium, but the Alex in Requiem didn’t seem like the same character. Everything that I had adored about Alex initially (his charm, sense of humor, and openness) disappeared, seemingly overnight.
No major characters die. None. Only a handful of characters die, and they’re all minor, disposable characters that readers aren’t emotionally attached to. I’m a ruthless killer when it comes to writing; naturally, this book was a bit of a let down, especially immediately after I read Allegiant (now that was an emotional ending).
Now that I’ve gotten that major venting session out, I think it’s time to take out my frustration on that very taunting chocolate bunny in the pantry.