There are a lot of YA dystopian trilogies out there, and its really hard to know what you’ll end up with when you make the decision to start reading one. I had more faith in the Delirium series than I should have — Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall is one of the lovelier YA books I’ve read over the past few years. Before I Fall was filled with realistic characters and beautiful writing, and I cried at the end.
And maybe that’s why I am way more disappointed in Requiem than I really have any right to be. We all know Oliver can — and has — done better.
For the uninitiated, the Delirium trilogy takes place in a future where love has been classified as a contagious disease and is eradicated at age 18 with a mandatory procedure (I’m thinking its kind of like a partial lobotomy). Each citizen is matched up to marry with someone deemed their equal by the local government. Love — or any other emotion — is simply not a factor.
In book 1, our heroine, Lena, fled from Portland Maine, into “the wilds”, in order to escape the future that had been planned for her. And because this is a YA trilogy, Lena wouldn’t have done it if she hadn’t met super-cute Alex, a boy from the wilds who teaches Lena how life could be outside the city. Lena and Alex’s escape attempt is botched, and she fears he is dead when she crosses over into the woods.
In book 2, Lena makes her way into the wilds, and finds herself a part of a new community. She toughens up and learns how to survive on her own. She also becomes a spy for the resistance against the government, and ends up kidnapped along with the super-cute son of the enemy. She and Julian escape back to the wilds, only to find that Alex is still alive.
Which brings us to book 3.
Told in alternating narratives between Lena and her former best friend from Portland, Hana, we get a glimpse at what is going on both outside and inside Portland.
Lena and her group are constantly on the move, constantly fighting for survival, and always waiting for the day when they can try and bring down the government and live life any way they choose.
Meanwhile, Hana is about to marry Fred, the mayor of Portland, but she isn’t happy or excited about it. She wonders if her delirium “cure” has worked at all, and spends a lot of time regretting decisions she made before Lena and Alex tried to escape. She’s also curious about Fred’s ex-wife, and why she can’t find out any information about their marriage. Its as if she never existed in the first place.
Shockingly, by the end of the story, the two narratives come together. Will Hana help Lena or turn her in to the authorities? Will Lena be able to apologize to her family for leaving so suddenly? And who will Lena choose — ALEX OR JULIAN? ZOMG!
The plot of this one was so slow for the first two-thirds of the book. Walking, hiding, running, thinking about Alex and Julian. The walking went on and on and on. And then, suddenly, things got interesting. Lena and Hana were together, and it seemed like something interesting could potentially happen.
Unfortunately, that feeling didn’t last long. Nothing interesting happened.* The end.
I’ll continue to follow Lauren Oliver’s career, because I know she can do better. But I don’t intend to watch the Delirium show on Fox next year, and I think its going to be a while before I pick up another YA trilogy.
*OK, one interesting thing. Hana’s decision regarding Fred at the end was kind of awesome. But that’s one tiny thing in a sea of boring.