Thursday, April 4, 2013

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins

They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.  But we are still here.  And there are more of us every day.  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 fiancĂ©e 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. -
This review is littered with spoilers, so if you don't want the story to be ruined for you, don't read this review.  Leave now.  I forgive you.  :-)

Wow.  So, it's kind of hard to know where to start with this.  I have loved this series from the very beginning, and have devoured each of the books as they came out.  This book was really good, and has all of the same elements that made me love the first two books, including great suspense and action, emotionally charged relationships, awesome writing with unique and thought-provoking narrative.  There were a couple things, however, that made this ending fall just a little shy of on target for me.  I'm just a teensy bit disappointed.
First of all, I really don't understand why we spent half the book in Hana's point of view.  Granted, she was once Lena's best friend, but through the first two books, we've never been in Hana's POV before, so why now?  I kept waiting for this to become significant later... like Hana was going to perform some all important task, change her mind, that I was going to find out that the cure could be "cured" or that the cure didn't take in her case, or something... but in the end, I was left still asking the same question... what was the point of that?  If the point was to show how a cured person thinks, it was a little too late in the story, in my view, to be trying to reveal that... besides we know how cured people think just by watching them in the first two books.  If we just wanted to have a different viewpoint, I'd have chosen one of the guys.

As for the rest of the story, like I said, it was definitely exciting and suspenseful, and everything that began in the first two books have been culminating to this point.  That part of the story was amazing and awesome.  But I gotta say, I hated what the author did with the romance...even though, to a point, I could understand it.  There are two guys, and she's been in love with both.  Obviously, she can't be with both and will have to pick one.  And I guess that's where it went south for me. 

Even though she professed to love Julian at the end of book two, and you really believed her, when Alex returns, she drops Julian like a bad habit and quicker than lightning.  It's like she didn't angst over it much at all...the fact that she loved two guys.  It was almost like she never loved Julian at all.  To me, this was a wasted opportunity.  The author could have done something with this by having her struggle a bit more over her dual feelings for two guys before finally picking.  I wanted to see her be a little bit more confused at first.  I hated how Alex treated her... he just seemed like a jerk to me while Julian continued to be awesome, sweet, and loveable.  And then towards the end, Alex comes up to her out of the blue with forgiveness.  I didn't buy it.  You don't ignore someone for half a book and then come up to them and say, "oh, btw, I'm over it now.  Love you, baby."

Lastly, I was a bit disappointed in the ending.  Everything, absolutely everything, was left up in the air.  You're left with an overall feeling that these people will still fight and might eventually win, but it's not tied up.  You don't find out what happens to Hana.  Lena has two guys (kinda) that she loves and that love her, and she's definitely going to choose one over the other. We know who it will be, but have no clue how, and have no idea what will happen to the other. 

I kind of understand why the author left the overall story part open... it's hard to end the fighting and revolution, and fix a misguided nation in three books... so I get that it will take more time.  I also get that the way she ended it indicates that they'll probably win eventually.  But what happens in the relationships didn't have to be left this way.  We needed a definitive winner amongst these two guys, and I, as the reader, wanted to see it happen.  I wanted to hear the difficult conversation Lena's going to have to have with the losing guy, and I wanted to see the tearful, love-filled reconciliation between Lena and the guy she's going to be with.  I felt like I got cheated of that.

So overall, the romance fell super flat for me.  But I loved the characters still, loved the story, and the suspense and writing were amazing.


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