Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver (Spread the Deliria!)

**Warning: this review does include SPOILERS**

So I finished Requiem by Lauren Oliver a week or two ago, and it occurred to me only today that the release of this finale to the Delirium trilogy was very well timed. I don't think Harper Collins considered the timing when they decided the release date, but it worked out magically.

Why was it well timed?

Consider the theme of this trilogy: in the Delirium world, love is a disease. Love (amor deliria nervosa) is basically considered a gateway drug to other dangerous emotions like jealousy, obsession, anger, and hate. To eradicate these emotions and what they do to society, the United States government closes all of the borders and builds fences around every town and mandates a "cure" for love, a surgery to turn off the part of the brain where emotions are housed. 

At the time the first novel begins, the cure has been mandatory for about 40 years or so and the MC Lena Haloway is 96 days away from turning 18 and being cured. And (spoiler alert!) sure enough, our young heroine falls in love with an Invalid (someone who lives in the wilds and is uncured), runs away to the Wilds (unfortunately without her love) and eventually joins the Resistance, a guerrilla group fighting against the government to bring an end to the cure and the zombieland it creates.

In regard to the book in question, Requiem, it's principal plot centers around the Resistance's growing strength and influence. The government can no longer pretend that Invalids don't exist and are trying to eradicate the problem by increasing border security and sending forces out into the Wilds to pick off small resistance groups and uncureds one by one.

This is where the great timing comes into play. Requiem is the crescendo of a trio of novels fighting a war to protect the right to love. Get where I'm going with this yet? 

If you guessed that the Supreme Court is hearing cases on same-sex marriage rights, you would be correct!

Like I said, I do not assume that Harper Collins was aware of this when they decided to release Requiem at the beginning of this month, but it does seem rather poignant that it was. Here you have a novel all about a fight for the right to love just a couple of weeks before a case that is questioning whether LGBTs have the same right to love and marriage as heterosexual couples. I mean, how perfect is that?!

What I admire about this book in particular is that Oliver tells the story from two perspectives, MC Lena and her former BFF Hana, whereas the previous two books were both told only from Lena's point of view. What Hana's point of view brings to the table is it is demonstrative of the other side of the argument. Hana is cured and feels freer than she did before she was cured. That is not to say that her life is by any means perfect. Not, at least, if you call being engaged to a woman-hating-cat-killing-Bluebeard-loving sociopath hell bent on destroying all Invalids who locked his first wife away in a mental ward because she "asked too many questions" a perfect life. But seeing things from Hana's POV does make you question which side is the better one? Is it better to be free to love and struggle to survive or to live in an emotionless society but be safe and have stability? You decide! Personally, for me it doesn't matter how stable and safe you are. Without love, life is just not worth living. 

There is not much I didn't like about this book. The storytelling was just as incredible as it was in the first two books, the characters were so well developed, and so many amazing things happen that I've been waiting for (not telling! I've already given too much away!). Though the ending lost a point for me. Don't get me wrong, I love ambiguous endings as much as the next reader. It gives you room to imagine for yourself what happens next. The trouble with Requiem was that the ending was TOO ambiguous. It felt like it got cut off at the knees and the torso fell off the edge of the earth. Does Lena find the rest of her family? What happens with her mom? Is she reunited with her sister Carol? Where is Rachel? What happens to Hana, Julian, and Tack? Do they ever find out that Raven was pregnant? (Sorry for the Raven spoiler!) What happens to the Resistance after Portland? Do they move on? Do they get to the capital? There are TOO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS!

I beg of you Ms. Oliver, PLEASE, continue this series! There are just too many stories that can come off of this. Are you saving them all for the TV show?

But I digress. If you love Lauren Oliver and the Delirium trilogy, read Requiem and keep in mind when you are reading what is happening at the Supreme Court right now. Because both give us the reality of what is at stake in our lives. We are in a fight for the right to love. Love is a fundamental right and everyone should be privy to it and not be judged nor discriminated against for who they choose to love. Choose: would you rather live in a world filled with love and family or a society where who you love dictates whether you're a citizen?

Overall rating: 4 espresso shots

No comments:

Post a Comment