Rating: 3.5/5 stars.
Every book has its beginnings. A fresh protagonist to fall in love with, a new world to explore, a story to watch play out. By the end of the book, it’s time to say goodbye to what we’ve come to know – not only the settings that have taken root in our minds or the characters who have made their way into our hearts, but the lessons we’ve learned. With series, I find this more difficult; with several books and hundreds and hundreds of pages to entrench ourselves in, it should be more gut-wrenching, more bittersweet. But when I put Requiem down, it wasn’t as devastating as I wanted it to be… it wasn’t anything at all, really.
The premise can only deliver so much. Ever since Lauren Oliver started her Delirium series in 2011, her dystopian world where love is a disease has taken over the hearts of many. The protagonist, Lena, contracts the disease and rebels against society. Not a surprising choice, given the genre of the series, but one that Oliver made heartfelt and magnanimous. Now, in the third book of the series, Lena’s growth stagnates, even as she fights for her freedom alongside her fellow love-ridden friends.
I may be an easy rater by nature, but there were good points to this book. It benefited from the changing of view from Lana to Hana, which broke up a monotonous narrative. The second half of Requiem progressed much better than the first half; I actually wanted to know what was going to happen next, as opposed to flipping the pages for the sake of flipping them. Oliver’s writing is beautiful, portraying passion even within the smallest moments.
And yet, I wanted more. Not just from the minor bits, like how I found a frequent usage of phrases like “are watching” and “is sitting” that could have been replaced with “watch” and “sits,” but from the book in general. This is a revolution. This is a battle for love. This is more than a tiny spat between boyfriend and girlfriend – this is, and should have been, Lena growing and overcoming and putting her heart out there to preserve her new way of life.
Requiem didn’t feel that way to me. It fell short. I wanted to walk away from this series in tears, inspired, or with some emotional experience I could recall months later. Unfortunately, it was simply good, and I’m looking forward to leaping into whatever new book awaits me. Maybe that will be Lauren Oliver’s next work one day, because I haven’t given up on her just yet.