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Book Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Today is finally the day, Requiem is here.  Because Christie was nice enough to get me an ARC at ALA Midwinter, I have read it.  And yes, I loved it. (My letter to Lauren Oliver after having read Pandemonium, book 2 in the Delirium trilogy).

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.

Requiem tells us not only the story of what happens with Lena (and Alex and Julian), but of Hana.  This time, Hana gets a voice.  And her story is really quite well done and touching.  I have always loved the friendship between Hana and Lena, flawed though it may be, but seeing what happens to her after she is cured is really quite interesting.  In many ways, the story of Hana turns out to be the best part of Requiem; heartbreaking, thoughtful and an important catalyst for what happens next.

In fact, this inside look at the cure is really quite important for our story, it provides balance and insight that we needed to contrast with the life of Lena.  And Lena’s story continues to play out in interesting ways as well.

“This is the strange way of the world, that people who simply want to love are instead forced to become warriors.” – Lauren Oliver, Requiem

The politics really explode in Requiem, and it is interesting.  There is a subplot involving electricity that is nauseating but insightful; it really illuminates the lengths that some will go to grab a hold of and keep power – at any cost.  There are some very obvious and relevant current parallels here.  The politics of Requiem, of the entire series, are very interesting to me – and relevant.  And discussable.  It may be hard for us, as readers, to understand the idea of the cure, but it is very easy to take this removed look at politics and see how it applies to the world that we live in today.

“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.
Otherwise you must live closely, in fear, building barricades against the unknown, saying prayers against the darkness, speaking verse of terror and tightness.
Otherwise you may never know hell; but you will not find heaven, either. You will not know fresh air and flying.
All of you, wherever you are: in your spiny cities, or your one bump towns. Find it, the hard stuff, the links of metal and chink, the fragments of stone filling you stomach.
And pull, and pull, and pull.
I will make a pact with you: I will do it if you will do it, always and forever.
Take down the walls.”
Lauren Oliver, Requiem  

This Part is Spoilery for Books 1 and 2, Not Requiem

One of the interesting thing that Oliver does here involves the love triangle.  Of all the elements of the story, this was my least favorite.  I was angry that Alex wasn’t really dead.  Not because I didn’t like Alex, but because I thought it would be such a bold storytelling move and I didn’t want another love triangle.  I don’t think that Oliver goes into what happened with Alex while he was away enough, but she does manage to set up an effective triangle.  Somehow, it is more believable than most of the triangles I have encountered, in part I think because there is history with Alex as opposed to the insta love.  So while Alex comes back angry and distant, that solid love foundation was already there making the triangle so much more believable.  More importantly, throughout the story you really aren’t sure what is going to happen, who Lena will end up with.

“Who knows? Maybe they’re right. 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.”
Lauren Oliver, Requiem 

Where Oliver excels as a storyteller is in her use of language and her development of characters.  Lena changes a lot over the course of our series, and you see those changes occur. You hear her being self reflective as these changes occur and really think about them, sometimes after the fact, but she has a thoughtfulness about her.  For me, the idea that we need freedom, even if it means having the freedom to make mistakes and wrong choices, is one of the most important messages that we can give our youth, and the message is delivered powerfully in this series.  There are mistakes made, but it is important that we have the freedom to make them – and learn from them.
“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 always invent themselves, too.”
Lauren Oliver, Requiem  

All in all, this was a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.  I will miss Lena and this world.  4 out of 5 stars.

Join us for the Requiem Twitter chat on Friday, March 15th at 8:00 PM Eastern Time. #TLTDelirium

Because Love is a Deadly Disease: The REQUIEM ARC giveaway

So, here’s the situation.  If you followed TLT last year, you know that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver.  I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote here a love letter.  I dragged my family across the city to meet author Lauren Oliver.  Christie went to ALA Annual with one instruction: Do Not Come Home unless you bring me an ARC of REQUIEM by Lauren Oliver.  Which she did. (Who loves you Christie? That’s right – ME!)

BUT THEN . . . I turns out that neither Heather or Christie have read Delirium.  Insert for shame face here.  It’s like, I have somehow failed them.  So, we are going to be doing a group reading and discussion.  Please join us.

The first week of February: read Delirium and join us on Friday, February 8th for a Twitter chat.  We’ll see what Heather and Christie – and YOU! – think of book one in the series. #TLTDelirium, 2/8/2013 (time TBA)

The second week of February is Harlequin Teen week, so you’ll have 2 weeks to read PandemoniumWe’ll have a Twitter chat on Friday, February 22nd to see what everyone thinks. #TLTDelirium, 2/22/2013 NOON CENTRAL, 1 Eastern

Then in March, we’re all about the Requiem.  Live Tweetchat Friday, March 15th at NOON Eastern. #TLTDelirium

To help facilitate this discussion of one of Karen’s favorite YA book series, we’re giving away a copy of the ARC for Requiem.  That’s right, I am going to give you Christie’s copy.  Not mine, don’t be silly.  We are opening the contest today and it will run through Saturday, February 9th so that we can get that copy into your hands.  The CAVEAT is, you have to do a book review for us after you read it.  I can do it but it would probably go like this: Oh I loved this book so much . . . . Or, what?! How could it have ended that way?! See, I am totally not a reliable source at this point in the game.  But don’t worry, I will share with you all the feels as I read the book.

And you did hear, right? They are going to be making Delirium into a TV series.

All the info you need to enter the contest appears below.  Don’t let the amor delirium nervosa get to you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway