Requiem by Lauren Oliver
So after the disappointments of Delirium and Pandemonium, I was pleasantly surprised with Requiem. This is why I push through books when I'm not in love with them. I mean, there is a difference between hating the book and not liking it. I wouldn't waste my time on something I hated, but I never hated this series, I just never bonded with it-until this one. I feel like the series has ended on a very high note.
Requiem takes place from two points of view: Lena and Hana. Although it alternates every chapter, just like Pandemonium did, the fact that it was from two different people made it easier to follow.
Lena's story starts 3 days after Pandemonium finished. Julian is still learning how to live this completely new lifestyle and Alex ignores Julian and Lena. The group is in the Wilds outside of New York, but they quickly learn that the Wilds are no longer safe. Regulators are canvassing the Wilds, killing Invalids as they find them, burning down the camps. Due to the lack of safety, the group makes their way to Camp Waterbury-it is told to be a haven for Invalids. However, when they get there, they learn that there is conflict between people living there and the atmosphere is tense.
While there, the water supply to the camp is cut off when the Valid city dams the river. A group of people make an attempt to go into the city to destroy the dam, however, everything goes wrong. Lena discovers that Lu, a trusted member of the group, has been Cured and has been giving their secrets to the Valids. The group barely makes it back to the camp in time, only to watch it be burned to the ground.
The group is then on the move again, and finds a safe house where they spend some time. Their first night there, they discover a few bottles of alcohol and celebrate. Lena goes to sleep early, but wakes up to discover the Alex is "teaching" Julian how to fight. One thing leads to another and it turns into a brawl. The fight is broken up, but while everyone is sleeping again, Alex leaves the camp without telling anyone, only leaving a note for Lena referencing the Book of Solomon.
|What I imagine the drunken brawl between Alex and Julian looked like.|
After some time (it's not specified if it's days or weeks, but the book takes place in a one month time span), some members of the Resistance show up at the camp. One of the members is Annabelle, Lena's mother. She is an important member of the Resistance, and because of her time in the Crypts, very well respected. Lena is incredibly upset with her mother for countless reasons (and all well deserved). After a big blow up and some time, Lena and Annabelle begin to work on a new relationship.
Finally, the group heads to Portland and plans for attack are planned and put into action.
Meanwhile, Hana is preparing for her marriage to Fred Hargrove, the new mayor of Portland after his fathers untimely* death. Everything in Hana's life is going exactly as it should be, except Hana is constantly dreaming and thinking of Lena, her childhood best friend. The reason: Hana feels guilty because she is the one who told the Regulators where Lena and Alex were planning to meet because she was jealous. Some best friend.
While Hana is living a guilt ridden life, she is also dealing with her sociopathic (or is it psychopathic, I always forget what the difference is) fiance. The more Hana "disobeys" him, the scarier he gets.
Side note: This type of behavior is never okay and is a warning sign that you need to leave.
Do not let someone treat you like are their property.
Do not let someone talk to you like you are nothing.
Please, always remember this:
Hana has been wondering about Lena's family, and goes in search of them. She learns they have been banished to Deering Heights, the place where the city puts undesirable people who haven't technically done anything wrong. She finds Grace and is determined to help the family. After all, if she hadn't told the Regulators about Lena, the Tiddles would still be living in their other house in more safety, and not scraping by to make ends meet.
Frank learns of Hana's little excursion and threatens her, telling her "you may not be my dog, but you will learn how to sit." This causes Hana to want to know more of what happened to his first wife, Cassie. Frank has said that their marriage was terminated because of "irreconcilable differences," but Hana wonders if there was more to it. She finds that Cassie is being kept in the Crypts and goes to visit her.
|How I picture Frank.|
During this visit, she learns that Cassie isn't crazy, she is very much sane. Cassie tells her that Frank, when he was young would poison cats just to watch them die, and that he had been poisoning her to keep her sick so that she was dependent on him and could not cause issues. She also tell Hana that Frank paid Scavengers to kill his father during the Incidents. Hana is very frightened for her impending marriage, but knows that there is nothing she can do.
The Resistance breaks into Portland the day Hana and Frank are married. While the Resistance is making a break over the wall, Raven is shot and presumably dies. Lena makes it over the wall, but instead of fighting, she goes to find Grace and bring her into the Wilds. On her way across town, she is spotted by Hana, who "captures" her and plans to "interrogate" her. Once they have made it to Frank's house, Lena realizes that this is the house where the third bomb will go off. Hana tells Lena she was the reason Alex and Lena were caught. Lena is upset, but tells Hana that there is a bomb there. Before Hana lets Lena escape, she tells her where to find Grace.
Frank returns to the house just after Lena leaves and Hana says that Lena attacked her and that's how she got away. Frank is furious and wants to go out and search with the Regulators, but Hana begs him to stay in the house "because it's dangerous out there." Frank agrees, Hana leaves through the back of the house, not looking back as the house explodes.
Lena makes her way to Deering Heights and locates Grace. Grace however is scared and runs away to hide. Lena locates her and tells Grace to come with her. They make their way back to the Border where they run into Alex. Alex is no longer his cold, detached self, and they reconcile. Grace yells to Lena to look, where they see that people are knocking down the wall. The three of them go to help take down the wall and they all live happily ever after. As long as no power hungry government takes away the ability to love again.
Alex: Okay, he's not technically new, but he isn't the same Alex that Lena fell in love with in Delirium. The Crypts seriously changed him (can you blame him). There were days where he wanted to die, he begged to be killed. The only thing that kept him going was that if/when he got out, he would be with his true love Lena. Only once he got to Lena, she was in the arms of another man. But you never forget your first love.
Coral: An Invalid roaming the Wilds where her group was attacked by Regulators. She is severely injured, but Raven, Tack, and the group were able to save her. She's pretty quiet, but she forms a bond with Alex that makes Lena jealous. In the end, Coral tells Lena that Alex never stopped loving her.
Lu/Lucky: Again, not a new person, but she plays a bigger role in this book. At some point (supposedly around Boston) she was taken captive by the Valids and the Cured her. She is then used to spy on the group and find out their plans and where they're heading so that Regulators can kill different groups of Invalids and destroy their camps. Lena is the one who discovers her, and although she gets in a few good hits, she let Lu live, which I think was a mistake.
Pippa: Tack and Raven knew Pippa from a previous camp a few years ago. They are reunited at the Waterbury where she is a makeshift leader and tries to keep the peace between everyone.
Hana: Hana has now been cured and she isn't the same as she was in book one when we first knew her, but peaks of her old self show every now and then and she dreams, regrets past decisions, and discovers her fiances scary past.
Frank Hargrove: A true villian. Throughout the book, we not only learn that he is violent towards Hana, but that he would torture cats as a child, poisoned his last wife to keep her dependent on him, had her sent to the Crypts when he got tired of her, and had his father killed so that he could be mayor. He deserved whatever came to him.
Cassie O'Donnell: Frank's ex wife who is supposedly crazy, but after Hana speaks with her, we learn there is nothing wrong with her. She tells Hana of all the horrible acts that Frank has committed.
What I Liked
-The two POVs. The whole story up until now has been from Lena's perspective. But seeing what's happening in Hana's life, especially now that she is Cured, provides an interesting insight for the readers. And when they converge at the end, it ties up everything in a neat little bow.
-The book isn't all about Lena's love interests. Although Julian and Alex make their appearances, and we know that Julian is effected because of Lena still wanting Alex, it's not the main story line. It really is about Lena choosing to not be Cured, and to help her family (Grace and her mother). Also, how the lack of love has destroyed the country.
-Raven and Tack's secret love story. I had my suspicions and they were confirmed. Apparently they had been together for about a year secretly when a member of the group wandered upon them one night "trapping." They just seem like they belong together.
What I Didn't Like
-As much as I like that it was told from Lena's and Hana's perspectives, I don't like that it switches off every other chapter. Just as I would get into the swing of what was going on with one story line, it would switch and I'd have to remember what was going on in this plot.
-That the other books weren't as strong as this one. I feel like the whole story could have been a lot better if the others carried the same substance that this one did. However, reading reviews from others, they seem to disagree with me. Most feel Delirium was the strongest and they decreased in interest.
-I know it would have been silly of Oliver to give us a complete background of how America got to this state, I really can't help but wonder. What doctor was like "Oh, I wonder if I can make people stop loving?" How did America become so hurt that we turned off all of our emotions? Why didn't other countries step in when we started regularly practicing this surgery on our people? Why did Americans agree to this in the first place?
-How does the surgery work? Do they insert something in our brains or take something out? Are they performing lobotomies? Part of me wonders if it's like the placebo effect. I tell you that I've given you a surgery to remove your ability to feel so you think you can't feel and just go about your life. There seem to be a fair amount of people who the surgery didn't work properly on. Maybe it's because nothing was actually done.
-How did the Christian faith get so far away from what it is? Who let someone change the Bible so drastically? I feel like some of the devote Christians I know would never let someone make such drastic changes to it.
-How did Grace go from not talking to anyone in Delirium to talking normally in the last one? It's only been a year, not even. If anything, you'd think all the trauma would have set her back a few more steps.
-What happened after the wall came down? Portland is just one city. What about the rest of the state? The country?
-If they were that close to Canada, why didn't they just go there? Canadians are friendly. I can't see them turning away refugees of the creepy neighbor country next door.
I liked this one the most out of all 3 of the books, however, there were still things left unanswered, or things that weren't as clearly put together. It's a very interesting plot, and this book has enough going on to keep you interested. I just feel I don't know enough about it.
Books in Series: 3 primary works; 4 novellas
Genre(s): Dystopia, Romance, Young Adult
Would I Recommend It: Since you have to wait until the last book for it to get good, no. But if you've already finished one, I'd power through it.