- Series: Delirium Trilogy (Book 3)
- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (March 5, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062014536
- ISBN-13: 978-0062014535
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,095 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Requiem (Delirium Trilogy) Hardcover – March 5, 2013
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Songs of Resistance By Lauren Oliver
The conclusion to the Delirium trilogy, Requiem, focuses a lot on Lena’s role in the resistance. It got me thinking about some of my all-time favorite bring-the-fight songs. Here’s a playlist to get you pumped for your own particular resistance!
1. “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Reviva: This song, in particular its chorus, transforms anger over the Vietnam War into a defiant battle cry. When John Fogerty wails out “It ain’t me,” you can feel the pain of a generation of people forced into fighting a war they didn’t believe in.
2. “Rise Above” by Black Flag: Weirdly, this punk song is surprisingly positive! A positive punk song! “We are born with a chance/Rise above/We’re gonna rise above.”
3. “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill: The best thing about this song is that the rebel girl isn’t the outcast or the weirdo, she’s the “queen of the neighborhood”! Isn’t that how it should be?
4. “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield: More than anything, this song is a call to reflection, attention, and thought. The nature of the conflict is intentionally vague (which makes it timeless).
5. “Doin’ Time for Bein’ Young” by James Intveld: From the Cry-Baby soundtrack (a great movie about teen rebellion). I think most teenagers feel like they’re being punished for being themselves at some point or another. This song takes that feeling and puts it into a very literal context!
6. “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” by Gil Scott-Heron: In short . . . keep your eyes open because real rebellion has to happen organically.
7. “Search and Destroy” by Iggy and the Stooges: I don’t really know what this song is about, but it is angry and it is beautiful.
8. “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley and the Wailers: “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery/None but ourselves can free our minds.” Nuff said!
9. “Not Ready to Make Nice” by Dixie Chicks: I’m not going to lie—I love the Dixie Chicks! I especially like that they are unapologetic in their opinions and are always willing to take a stand.
10. “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé: Queen B!! Again, nuff said.
11. “99 Luftballons” by Nena: Did you know this song is actually a short piece of dystopian fiction? Much like the Delirium trilogy, it’s a story about what can happen when a government decides that something joyful and human is a dangerous threat. In this case, floating balloons are mistaken for enemy weapons.
12. “The Promised Land” by Bruce Springsteen: The Boss says it all when he says “I feel so weak, I just want to explode.”
13. “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy: It’s all in the title. :)
14. “Elsewhere” by Sarah McLachlan: Sometimes fighting for the small things that are meaningful to you as an individual can be as important as the big social battles. Even though the singer knows that “this is heaven to no one else but me,” she is still willing to “defend it as long as I can breathe.”
15. “You Get What You Give” by the New Radicals: This might be the most optimistic and downright cheery song about trying to change the status quo. It joyfully asks people to give back to the world a little . . . and to maybe make a little mayhem along the way.
16. “Tombstone Blues” by Bob Dylan: Leave it to Dylan to write an epic of societal discontent!
Following Delirium (2011) and Pandemonium (2012), this trilogy ender changes things up by splitting the narrative into two first-person perspectives: Lena, who continues to fight for freedom with the Invalids in the Wilds, and Hana, Lena’s old best friend, who was cured of amor deliria nervosa (aka love) and is closing in on her arranged marriage to the city’s rotten new mayor. Lena’s story grinds through the motions a bit, with a somewhat forced love triangle (or square?) alternating with various resistance maneuvers starring our band of scrappy heroes. Hana’s story line, though, is a winner, bringing back to the fore what was so inspired about the first volume—the idea that longing is in itself something important to long for. This is one of the premier preoccupations of paranormal romance, and no one has distilled it as cannily as Oliver. The happy/angry, wealthy/poor balance of both plotlines is satisfying, as is their final collision. And is there a theme more perfect for YA readers than choosing what you want from life rather than being told what to do? HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This hugely successful trilogy should go out with a sizable bang, including advertising, appearances, a mobile campaign, and plenty of good old-fashioned chatter. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus
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While I enjoyed this book, it wasn't quite as good as the previous two. The book ended and I wasn't quite sure how I felt. In some ways, I was satisfied. There were no little questions or loose ends that should have been tied up. Lena has chosen her love, even if we don't see the effects of it. When you think of the immediate story everything seems good, but then you wonder about the world at large. The Resistance attacked and seemingly brought down the walls (both literally and we assume legally) in Portland. Success! But.. what happened in the rest of the world? Were those attacks conducted simultaneously across the United States? If they weren't, then the book ends with Portland no longer under government control and seemingly a new safe space for the Resistance/Invalids to live... but they're still in a world where love is a disease and the government will come for them. What happens to the people? The last we see of Hana, she's running off into the woods. I personally would like to know what happens to her. The more I think about the book, the more questions I'm faced with.
I loved the series and highly recommend reading it. Just a warning that there are more curse words in the novel than in the first. It's a great young adult series set in a world similar to our own, about learning more about yourself, growing and learning to love.
Also, the book would have benefited from a large central enemy and central enemy location. We knew it was the uncured and the cured, but there has to be a larger leader, not just a mayor of a town. How about a capital city, a definite enemy, and a final battle scene. It just looked like haphazard, disorganized fighting. It isn't cliche to have a final battle scene and a the destruction of an evil empire. It brings resolution. Just because there is a formula to writing adventure, doesn't mean it's not a good formula. The writing is what makes it special, and Ms. Oliver can write.
I did like the Hana story. I did like like the fact that Lena was able to rescue her cousin. And although the ending was rushed, I do believe her reconciliation with Alex was sufficient in relation to the ending as a whole, which was short. That did show some hope, and I'm glad they were able to reconnect and her decision, although not stated, it's pretty clear that she was going to pick Alex in the end.
Okay, now why I feel this way. Originally, I thought this was a fascinating way to create a love triangle. Lena didn't just accidentally fall in love with two boys. Her first love died, and she had to move on to survive. Then she meets Julian and for the first time feels she can love again, then finds out her first love isn't dead. This is great conflict. However, this conflict isn't really pushed and explored the way it should, instead it simmers under glares and avoidance. There were several opportunities to really get into the meat of it, and it feels like the author willfully chose to ignore it.
Lena sits torn between the two but doesn't really have it out with either of them. Alex and Lena have one real conversation about it, which Alex tells her he never loved her, which is clearly bogus, and Lena is dumb enough to believe him. REALLY?! I did like how Julian reacted afterwards. Comforting Lena after her argument with Alex was a smart move to try to win the girl IMO. But then he stays that way. Hovering and sympathetic, and never pushing Lena to talk about herself, what happened with Alex, forcing her to admit what she's feeling--about him and Alex.
Then we have the moment after their camp burnt down and Alex had saved Lena. The author starts the golden moment where Alex and Lena start to hash out what's really going on, Alex even says, "You don't get it, do you?", which was Lena's opportunity to go off on Alex. To yell that "No, she doesn't get anything". She could finally let loose her rage over his abandonment (as irrational as it is--because people often blame the dead. She has a real right to be pissed too, because she, half dead and wanting to die, was thrusted alone into the world he was supposed to guide her through), how he says he never loved her but he sacrificed himself to save her, how she is scraping by scared and confused because she still loves him but also cares about Julian and he is her responsibility--that she refuses to do to him what Alex did to her, etc. But instead it's just left at Alex's statement, and Julian showing up and taking Lena in his arms.
Then we have the fist fight between Julian and Alex, which was a golden opportunity to have Alex and Julian hash out their conflict over Lena. Instead of Lena interrupting, she should have stumbled on the two of them yelling at each other as they're beating each other to a pulp. Alex yelling at Julian that Lena was his and he stole her from him. Julian yelling back that it's too late, Lena loves him now. Maybe even twisting the knife a bit, reminding him that Lena sleeps next to him at night. Julian telling Alex that he should just go, that if he really still loved Lena then he would leave her be. Him being around just hurts and makes her feel guilty for moving on. (Which of course isn't the whole story, but it's in Julian's best interest for Alex to leave.) But does that happen? Nope. Just Julian jumping Alex, Alex going ape s*** on Julian, and then Alex guilty and leaving--Lena still thinking that Alex doesn't love her, because reasons.
Then, lo and behold, Lena learns that Alex does still love her--duh--and he left because her happiness was more important than his. Lena admits to herself that she will always love Alex more than she could love Julian. Decision made, but now here comes the hard part--telling Julian, the boy who left everything he ever knew for her, forced himself to adapt and fight a revolution for her, told her over and over again that he was in it for the long hall to be with her. This is going to be a tough conversation--too tough for our author apparently, because the book ends before Lena tells Julian anything.
The author doesn't even really delve into the physical complications of romantic love. Julian and Lena's curiosity is more addressed in book two when they're escaping the Scavengers, then in this book where they're going to bed with each other every night. This could have been a really interesting opportunity to compare how comfortable Alex was/is with this kind of stuff (and how he taught her) and Julian stumbling through this kind of push and pull from what he wants vs what he's been taught (with Lena reflecting that now she's the more knowledgeable one.) Again, this feels a whole lot like, "Well that would be really complicated to talk about, so I just won't."
I get wanting the story to be bigger than just Lena's love life, but this IS a book series about love and what it means to be in love in this world the author created. Lena is the avatar of which the reader navigates this terrain, so her love life is a reflection of this world as a whole.
This conflict avoidance isn't limited to the love triangle either. Hana's story, though for the most part unnecessary and could have been told through a conversation with Lena instead of first hand, is left wandering the streets of Portland. She helped Lena, but then what happens? Does she join the revolution, forced to deal with her broken emotions and the animosity of the people she's trying to help? Does she try to rebuild her old life, feeling absolved of her lingering guilt because she helped Lena escape? But we'll never know, because that means dealing with the hard questions about Hana's character.
Then there is the revolution as a whole. Yeah, they broke down Portland's walls (which btw, mentioning it was Portland, Maine might have been a good idea--since Portland, Oregon is also really well known--just saying) but what happens next? How do they rebuild? What do they do with those that have been cured? And what the hell happened with the rest of the world? There is a vague mention that the "cure" is limited to the US, but no mention to how the rest of the world treats it. Does Canada and Mexico board up their borders because they don't want "Invalids" making their way through, or do they do the opposite seeing them as refugees? Is there other parts of the world that think the "cure" is a good idea?
Instead, the book ends with a Berlin Wall style breaking down of the wall, which feels a whole lot like the author pointing out how clever she is. It screams, "See what my point was? See the struggle I illustrated is very much like this well known moment in history." And it feels like the author was so determined to end her series on this big symbolic moment that she didn't care about resolving any of the conflict she created. This isn't, "Find your own meaning in this ending." This is laziness, or the absence of knowing where her own story was going.
This could have been a great story that having the right to choose also means dealing with the consequences of those decisions. That freedom isn't just something to fight for, but also something that isn't always easy. Instead, we're left with the choices made, but never see the resolution of those choices. That choosing to love doesn't always mean being loved in return. That choosing to help others doesn't mean they will choose to help you back. And that choosing to fight for freedom can have crippling losses.
This series had so much promise, but instead ended flat and unfinished. Very disappointing.