by: Lauren Oliver
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.
How is that the ending of a book-and even more, a series-can leave me so sad and yet so satisfied. This third installment in the Delirium Trilogy lived up to the excellence of the first two books.\ However, that was a really abrupt ending. Oh wow, I'm sad.
Brave and Intelligent Heroine: CHECKX2
Lena: She has seen some of the most authentic and thorough character development that I have ever seen throughout this series. In Delirium she is sheltered, confused, and a little brainwashed. In Pandemonium she transforms into this hard and desperate survivor, she experiences both loss and love and is deeply effected by both. Lena in Requiem felt like a beautiful combination of Lena's characteristics from Delirium and Pandemonium. The two different worlds that she has known collide when Julian and Alex meet and when the Invalids rush in to destroy the carefully guarded lives of the Valids. I appreciated that Lauren Oliver didn't feel the need to make Lena the leader of anything, she didn't lead the Invalids or the rebellion. She was just another Invalid, yet hers is the story that we care about. It showcased Lauren Oliver's skill for charactarization and plot that she could introduce the real leaders of the rebellion to us through Lena.
Hana: I felt that Hana's voice was the perfect choice to show us flip side of things. It was the first time we truly got to see the inner workings of a Cured. In a lot of ways Hana's life after being cured was much worse than Lena's life in The Wilds. She was stripped of almost every valuable emotion, leaving her to feel confused, angry, guilty, and scared. The difference between Lena and Hana's stories is simply that Hana never had an Alex, she never found someone who would coax her into keeping her promises of escape. So she became trapped in a life devoid of meaning. It was interesting to see how Lauren Oliver wrote a cured form of Hana and yet so many of her past instincts remained, and it was easy to see them manifest themselves. This is another great example of stellar characterization, when the reader can so easily recognize a character's true self when it appears from beneath the veneer of emotionlessness.
Smart and Sweet Heroes: CHECKX2
Alex: Okay, okay, I'll admit I liked him more in this book. He was still a little too 'perfect', but I definitely saw the character development and all of the sacrifices that he made. Is it bad that I wanted him to end up with Coral so that Lena could be with Julian? As it stands, the book leaves a LOT to the imagination. I mean, Lena makes her choice, but it never shows her acting on it to the point of actually telling Julian. And I'm not angry at her choice, the way it is written makes it both understandable and believable.
Julian: He is just too sweet for his own good. Even when he can most likely tell that Lena is still in love with Alex, he never gets mad and he never blames her for this. Gahhhh. Fine. If she won't take him, then I will...;) He develops from this kid trapped and brainwashed into an incredibly brave leader. He willingly stepped up so many times and risked his own happiness for their little family and for the cause. As much as I approve of how the love aspect is written in this book and I appreciate the character development, I truly love that this never becomes a book centered around Lena's love life.
Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Raven: I didn't realize just how much I loved her as a character until it was too late.
AND NOW SHE'S GONE... *runs off to sob* *returns clutching a box of kleenex*. What was even sadder than what happened was how Tack reacted to it. I could picture him so vividly sitting at the top of the wall, cradling her and talking to her. *uses all of the tissues*
Hunter, Bram, Lu: While we don't see much specific character development in these much more minor characters, we see enough to love them(...or hate them because some of them happen to be traitorous jerks.) They add depth to the story and introduce us more closely to life in The Wilds.
Grace: Points to this book for showing Grace again. Grace is one of the smaller plotlines that truly adds context to the fight to freely love others. Even though Grace is Lena's younger cousin, they are practically sisters. So it was touching when Lena went along on her own little quest to find her when she returned to Portland, because that's what they were fighting for in the first place.
Annabel (Bee): So many conflicting emotions. I think I like her, but I strongly disagree with many of her actions. She is an incredibly complex character, despite how little time is devoted to her. She fights for love, but she is mostly alone in the world. She's lost so much, but she fights so others won't have to lose what she lost.
Excellent Plot and Meaningful Theme: CHECK
This book obviously finds most of its themes deeply rooted in the idea of love and it's consequences and implications-that it is something worth fighting for. But, it isn't just about romantic love, it's about family and friendship. It's about how necessary relationships are to humans. Another theme deeply ingrained in the story in this trilogy is the idea of what is worth fighting for. The Invalids didn't just fight for love, they stood for the right to make the wrong choices as long as they were making their own choices. They were fighting for a world without walls. The plot of this book is expertly paced. A whole lot of things happen and they happen quickly. Not just action scenes though, the plot is also propelled by the development of characters, relationships, and storylines.
Plot Twists and Plenty of Action: CHECK
I read this book in about 9 hours and there was a not a second in which I felt bored by it. Most of the time either action was happening or things were moving toward action. There were plenty of plot twists too, betrayals and deaths and even shocking loyalty. However, the plot twists and fighting scenes were arranged in a way that the book never felt overwhelming. A lot of things were happening at once, but never too many things.
**sidenote: I don't know if I am just forgetting that there was language in Delirium or Pandemonium, but I felt like this book had a lot more language in it.
Truly the things that put this series above a lot of the others is the combination of character development, beautiful writing, and a deeply resonant theme.
"...relationships must be reinvented every day, languages constantly decoded and deciphered. Freedom is exhausting."
"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."
"This is not the person I wanted to become: Hatred has carved a permanent place inside me, a hollow where things are so easily lost."
"This is the language of the world before--a world of chaos and confusion and happiness and despair--before the blitz turned streets to grids, cities to prisons, and hearts to dust."
"This is the past: It drifts, it gathers. If you are not careful it will bury you."
"We are always being pushed and squeezed down one road or another. We have no choice but to step forward, and then step forward again, and then step forward again; suddenly we find ourselves on a road we haven't chosen at all.
"We're killers, all of us: We kill our lives, our past selves, the things that mattered. We bury them under slogans and excuses."
"That's what people do in a disordered world, a world of freedom and choice: They leave when they want. They disappear, they come back, they leave again. And you are left to pick up the pieces on your own."
"This is not any kind of happiness that I imagined. It is not what I chose. But it's enough. It is more than enough."
"Take down the walls. That is, after all, the whole point. You do not know what will happen if you take down the walls; you cannot see through to the otherr side, don't know whether it will bring freedom or ruin, resolution or chaos. It might be paradise, or destruction. Take down the walls."