“This is the strange way of the world, that people who simply want to love are instead forced to become warriors.” - "Requiem", Lauren Oliver
The first of the books of my summer reading list – done! Yes, it’s been exactly 30 minutes since I read the last page of Lauren Oliver’s Requiem, the conclusion to her best-selling Delirium trilogy. And let me just say that I haven’t completely gotten over it yet…
And of course, dear reader, I warn you of possible spoilers as I rant about my thoughts on this awesome trilogy. :)
Back when I was reading Delirium, I was already completely hooked on the concept of the book series. Love as a disease. Amor deliria nervosa. I, being the medical student that I am, could only nod and agree. It was definitely true! I get where the idea came from. Many signs of love – the tachycardia, the palpitations, the cyanosis, the euphoria, the aphasia – are indeed true symptoms of disease. In fact, even in our world today, a lot of people already become sick and crazy over this little thing called love.
But anyway, going back to the trilogy… I absolutely commend Lauren Oliver for her fantastic writing style. I am personally envious of the way she could make her descriptions so vivid and how, in Requiem, she was able to alternate between different character narrations without losing consistency.
Character-wise, I feel a bit so-so about Lena. She didn’t particularly stand out as a heroine to me. Maybe it’s just because I’ve seen her type already. Ah, typical normal girl, living according to the decrees of the society she lived in, looking forward to having things put into place with the cure, but suddenly changing completely come the presence of this guy. In truth, I felt more for the two male protagonists – Alex and Julian. Wow. I think it’s the first time I wasn’t rooting for any one of them to end up with the heroine. I just thought that – after everything – neither of them deserved to get their heart so brutally hurt by this girl who was so confused and hurt herself.
Come the end of the 2nd book, I’ve decided to favor Julian over Alex. I’ve always had a soft spot for Julian as I went through Pandemonium. It was definitely something about his innocence and fragility, how he (more so than all of the people living in Zombieland) was kept in the dark for so long and had reality smack him directly in the face. My heart ached for him when it became absolutely clear that he was going to become Lena’s rebound. Gah. And I was practically in tears throughout Requiem, witnessing how Julian – so kind, so patient, so loving – gave way, did everything he could to make space for Lena and her inner demons. I wanted to erase Alex from the scene completely. Why did he even have to appear again at the end of Pandemonium and destroy the “happy” ending?
But, everything changed come Requiem. Especially since my copy, a first edition, comes with a special short story about him. That was so heart-shattering, knowing what had happened to Alex. At some point, I wished that Lauren Oliver really did have him die. It would be mercy on his part – dying and being free in the after life was a lot better than surviving with only the girl you loved in mind, going through hell trying to see her again, and then finally finding her but seeing her in the arms of another guy, realizing that while you were suffering, she had already found happiness with another. Now that is sick.
So, yeah – hugs to both Alex and Julian. As for the other characters, I really enjoyed Hana’s view of things in Requiem. Raven and Tack are pretty memorable, too. (Lauren, is there any chance we get a short story of one of their “midnight trappings”? :)) ) The rest of the characters had me really confused at one point or another. Too many names. Not enough personality building for them, so I tended to forget who was who from time to time.
The ending of Requiem leaves a lot hanging – yes, including the one we probably all wanted to know the answer to: who on earth does Lena end up with? who does she choose?! But, it is enough to provide closure – it shows that the journey was worth it; you can’t regret wanting to choose. You can’t regret wanting to love.
Is love a sickness? Maybe. Maybe not. I guess it’s all up to the person. If you choose to go crazy about it, then it is a crazy thing. If you choose to go sick over it, then it is a sickness. At the end of the day, what’s important is that choice – making it and sticking with it. It’s about living with emotions and feelings, and choosing to stay true to them, to stay through to you, to yourself. It’s about breaking whatever boundaries threaten to keep us in place, to bring us to submission, to get us to do what is thought to be right. It’s about taking down the walls.
“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.” - "Requiem", Lauren Oliver