Requiem by Lauren Oliver

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Also check out our review of Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver.

Lena Haloway contracted the Deliria. She ran away from Portland and her identity has been Invalidated. Lena Halowey has never existed according to the people in charge. But a new Lena was born when the old Lena was erased. And now Lena Haloway has to go home.

Hanna Tate reported her best friend when she contracted the Deliria. She’s the reason Lena left and the reason Alex is dead. When the Lena ordeal is over, she gets to go back to her life engaged to the future mayor. But maybe Hanna should be more worried about Frank’s past than his future.

Oliver seems to struggle with resolutions, which is fine when the series is continuing, but not so much in a book meant to conclude a story line. I would like to see what comes next for Lena and the resisters. What comes after they’ve torn down that wall? I guarantee it’s not the end of the war; the government’s not going to give up that easy. And what about the people who were already cured? Is there a way for them to be uncured?

The entire second book was a waste of paper. It was filler that was designed to string the reader along to the ending of that book so the main conflict of the final installment could be established. You’d hope think that the main conflict in a story about a Resistance fighter would be said Resistance’ struggle against the DFA and the Scavengers and the fascist and corrupt government. You’d be wrong. The main conflict of this story is a love triangle.

It’s not even a great love triangle either. Is it really a competition when one of your suitors is bland and boring, barely speaking a full paragraph in the entire novel? Where’s the fun in a love triangle where the main character has to choose between a boy who annoys her more every day she’s with him and a boy she can’t take her mind off of? What is supposed to convince us that she’s going to choose Julian? The fact that she should? The fact that she rescued him from the DFA in New York and brought him into the Wilds, where he has no clue how to survive? That’s laughable, because if there’s one thing Lena’s learned in the Wilds, it’s that should doesn’t mean anything. Lena’s choice was obvious before she even had a chance to make it.

It was great to see Hanna again, and watching her struggle in her new life was the most compelling part of this novel (though I am completely confused at to why Oliver thinks splitting the narrative this way is the only way to write a good story. It didn’t work on Glee, and it’s barely working here.). Frank is the epitome of everything Resistance is fighting against. He’s a dictator trying to maintain control Portland by restricting the rights and privileged of those he’s deemed wrong. He’s willing to let people die as long as it helps him maintain his precious order.

Hanna’s story is so much more compelling because she’s supposed to be safe. She’s fully committed to the ideals of this society. She’s gotten the cure, she’s set to be married to the mayor, she’s forgone her education and any possible career she had so she could marry Frank and be a good wife. And her society is failing her. Her cure didn’t take as expected, something that isn’t her fault, but that she’d surely be punished for. Her husband is psychotic, with some insane new ideas about how to rule Portland with an iron fist. Her city is being attacked by the resistance, who her best friend ran off to join. And somehow, Hanna manages to keep going. It’s remarkable, and indicative of her resilience.

TL;DR

  • 3/5
  • Ending was unsatisfying
  • Poor attempt at a love triangle
  • STOP. SPLITTING. THE. NARRATIVE.
  • Hanna Tate has still got some fight left in her

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Amazon|Goodreads

Lena contracted the deadliest of deadly diseases; amor deliria nervosa. For that, Lena had two choices; be cured of her ability to love or run. She and Alex chose to run. Now Alex is dead and Lena is on the other side of the fence nearly dead. She is taken in by some Invalid homesteaders who teach her how to survive in the Wilds. In return, they ask her to join the resistance and place her back inside the fence, where she might find someone else worth loving.

I don’t like Julian. He’s just a sob story with no personality. He has no inner conflict. He’s a product of abuse and a flawed system, and he’s just broken. Julian does not find any healing, and he doesn’t find any anger. He has no willingness to fight back or change. He just wants to lay down and give up, and if that ever does change for him, we don’t get to see it. On a side note, am I the only one concerned about what happens if/when Julian’s cancer comes back and he’s wandering through the middle of the forest? Yeah? Okay.

Lena learning the rules in the Wilds is infinitely more interesting than watching her inside the fence again. She’s learning her place in the Wilds, and she’s building a new Lena. A Lena who knows love and loss and embraces those emotions. The new Lena knows compassion and tough love. She recognizes that the difference between her and the Zombies is her ability to act based on these emotions. This Lena also knows anger and hatred in a way the old Lena never had an opportunity to. She knows how to use it to fuel her, and she knows how to channel it to help her accomplish her goals.

It’s the same story in Manhatten as it was in Portland: conceal, don’t feel, don’t let it show. Lena Morgan Jones is cured, and so she is held to a higher standard of apathy. In a way, that makes it easier, I think. This new Lena, the one that has come out of the Wilds, has lost everything, and rebuilt herself back up. She doesn’t know anybody inside these walls, she only has her mission to worry about and her faith in the resistance to keep her moving forward.

The breakout scene was reminiscent of Lena’s first evaluation from Delirium. Lena is the Invalid this time, watching from the balcony as all hell breaks loose in the lab room below. It’s ironic; she is very much the Alex of this novel. She’s, like Alex did for her, is showing Julian about love and the freedom to feel it. She’s showing him that it’s not a disease, and that the people inside the fence are just looking for control. Alex helped Lena escape a Valid community, and now Lena is doing the same for Julian. Things have come full circle.

The ending is a disaster. Way to let me know that this entire book was just filler for the third book. Where we will have to sit through a horrible, mind-numbing, inconsequential love triangle that we all know the end to. Thanks. Really.

TL;DR

  • 3/5 stars
  • Did you catch the Frozen reference?
  • Julian is very thin, lacks substance
  • The ending? Really?