Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Challenge 49 ~ “A book with a great opening line.”


★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

I’ll admit it from the start – it’s not really Requiem that has the amazing opening line (it’s opening line is nothing special), but the short story included with Requiem (Alex) has the line I’m using for this challenge. (Mainly because I planned my challenge out using a Goodreads list that said Requiem had an amazing opening line, and now my plans are slightly shot, but for this year’s challenge I’m only reading off my TBR, 99.9% of which I don’t own and thus can’t feasibly scan quickly for great opening lines, and Alex did have a stellar opening line that really drew the reader in).  “Let me tell you something about dying: it’s not as bad as they say.” Be warned, though: Alex is only in certain editions of the book! Still, enough about Alex – it’s stellar, barely 30-pages, explains a lot and is a really applicable and thought-provoking character investigation.

Requiem itself was a good read on the whole: beautifully written, well-handled alternating protagonists and an engaging plot. As the chapters whirled by, I found myself heavily involved with both Lena and Hana’s emerging issues, and reaching that point of someone’s-going-to-die-but-I-don’t-want-them-to-but-I’d-rather-it-them-than-someone-else-unless-this-happens-please-don’t-kill-my-favourite-character. Needless to say I was rather relieved when Oliver didn’t kill my favourite character, and thought the ending she chose was poignant and appropriate. Throughout the trilogy, Oliver didn’t deeply indulge in the complex politics of the world, and thus not having a personal showdown as if Lena was a political warrior was definitely the way forward.

All this being said, my struggle with the book was really getting into it. As with the vast majority of Pandemonium, the opening of Requiem was rather drawn-out. Sometimes there are parts of a book where things need to happen and they’re not necessarily action-packed thrills, I appreciate that, but here it felt as if Oliver just took too long for this series of events to be explored in the text, and there was no other side development to spur the reader on. I also have to admit that I missed the extracts from ‘The Book of Shhh’ and other texts that made such an impact on the reader in Delirium.

Considering the trilogy as a whole, I am pretty happy with Oliver’s works. Delirium is, by far, my favourite of the three, and I’ve pondered whether a single book would have been better than the three. However, there were definite questions, issues and sub-plots to be explored by the following books, and I feel a trilogy was required to adequately do justice to the dystopian world. If we’d not had a sequel (or two) to Delirium, we’d feel hard done by, but at the same time, the first book is the strongest in the trilogy. Don’t get me wrong, the other two are fantastic reads, but the thrill and novelty of Delirium is not exceeded in either. They’re just good books to adequately explore life without love.


Recommended for fans of:

  • Matched by Ally Condie
  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  • The Death Cure by James Dashner

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