Sunday, May 26, 2013
A Finale with Fight: Requiem
Lauren Oliver is officially the queen of open endings. She did it with her debut Before I Fall and again in each of the books making up her Delirium Trilogy. That's right, each of them, including this one. But unlike the reactions of so many other people, it honestly didn't bother me all that much.
Requiem is the final chapter in Lena's story, the tale of a girl who fell in love in a world where it has been declared a highly contagious disease that people need to be cured of. She's given up everything she's ever known to join the resistance and a single question remains: is all of this worth the high price she's had to pay? But unlike the first two books, this is also Hana's story. Chapters alternate between the girl who ran away and her best friend who stayed behind, has been Cured, and has been paired to marry the mayor.
I have had to wait a long time to see how this story would conclude since my library's copy of the book is always checked out. So what was my initial reaction to the story, especially the ending? Thinking. I closed the book and just needed to think, because like I said, it's a very open ending with some answers and lots of questions. I can see why this upset a lot of people. After all, this series is all about love, so the love story is the biggest part for a lot of readers. However, to me the ending very much suited Oliver's style and an overarching theme of the book that I think was best told through Hana's story - we cannot confine love to romantic love. It comes in all shapes and sizes and forms. In the end, Lena has love in her life, so in that regard, her journey has been a success. I wasn't always happy with her behavior, and so that regard the ending left me disappointing in her, but it's a dystopian story - happily ever afters should never be expected here.
And getting back to Hana, I was much more interested in her story throughout the novel than Lena's. To see the world through the eyes of a Cured person was so inventive, and the way she describes things, especially her feelings, was so thought provoking. Even though the resistance commonly refers to traditional cities as Zombieland, Hana shows us that that's not the case. She still feels, just not how she used to, and that's a result of trying to take love out of the mix. She shows incredible growth here, especially compared to the girl we knew her as back in the first book. She too got an open ending, but hers here reminded me of the ending of Delirium - unclear, uncertain, but still with some air of hope somehow.
Overall, if you've read the first two books in the series and haven't read Requiem yet, you should. The first book still remains my favorite by far, but the whole story asks a lot of questions that are worth exploring. And if you're really unsatisfied with the ending, check out Delirium Endings on Tumblr, a project Lauren Oliver has set up for people to share their fan fic of what happens after.
Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!
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