Requiem by Lauren Oliver
I hate reading the last book in a series. This is the second time it happens this year and I´m bummed about it because in both cases I really loved the series. But also I want to know what happens, it´s the eternal dilemma we all face now and then. Ending a series is a tricky business you want the book to have an arc of its own while tieing up any loose threads you don´t want to leave untied and give it an ending that fits just right. Like with the other books you don´t have the luxury of thinking “I´ll take care of that in the next book”. Tricky.
So anyway, Requiem is the last of the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver. I really love Lauren. I was lucky enough to see her at an author event when I was in New York and she was great, you should all read her books and watch/read her interviews.
Requiem is told from two perspectives; Lena and Hana. I found myself enjoying this a lot, the two girls who were once best friends have taken very different paths in their lives and could not be more different. Telling a story from several perspectives can also be tricky. This is different for everyone but my limit is two perspectives, more than that and it just confuses me. I read a book recently told from 3 perspectives and it kind of ruined it for me. This was different though. These two girls who started out in the same place have ended up leading completely different lives and have experienced “the deliria” in very different ways, with very different results.
In the previous book, Pandemonium, Lena has after much heartbreak gotten over the death of her first love, Alex. And at the end of the book found a new boy to love, Julian. The shocking, cliffhanger ending that literally made me scream, was when Alex showed up very much alive and extremely bitter and heartbroken that Lena had moved on. I really liked how the author dealt with this. Or rather, how she had the characters deal with this. It was a love triangle but not one of those messy annoying ones.
I read it in almost an entire sitting, the language was beautiful and the story flowed nicely along with a few surprises here and there (some more shocking than others).
I read a review in The Guardian that expressed the desire for an epilogue or another chapter so that we wouldn´t sit around and wonder what happened. I understand that desire but don´t feel the need for it. I quite enjoyed the open ending and that owes a lot to the way it was done. With a less skilled writer it could have been frustrating but it wasn´t. It was the end of this part of their lives and that was as far as we were along for the ride.
I particularly liked the last paragraph which begins:
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 other side, don´t know whether it will bring freedom or ruin, resolution or chaos. It might be paradise, or destruction. Take down the walls.
This felt, to me, quite symbolic. The goal of a world freed of the trappings of love and passion, a world free of the deliria, was always about more than just that. It was also about the will to be free of the pain that love can cause. Jealousy, rage, heartbreak and so on. That is what taking down the walls symbolizes to me.
All in all it was a very good, satisfying ending and I look forward to what Lauren Oliver graces us with next.