Monday, July 21, 2014

Requiem by Lauren Oliver | Audiobook Review

(Cover: ugh.  Not as bad as Pandemonium, but worse than Delirium.  Lena spends pretty much this entire book filthy dirty living out in the woods.  So when did she get her hair all silky and her eyebrows all plucked?  Why is she doing sexy in the woods?  There's a revolution on, people!)

So I finally finished this yesterday, praise God.  GROOOOAAAANNNNN  What a long and difficult book to listen to.  I'm considering reading the book in physical form to give it another chance.  It was the narration.  I'm trying to think back to the narration of Pandemonium but I can't remember it much.  It was the same person, but I don't remember it grating my nerves like this.   Here's the problem:  Every.  Word.  Was.  Emphasized.  To The.  MAX.  For.  The.  ENTIRE.  BOOK.  The narrator made it seem like Lena lived two months of her life at a constant state of near panic/heart ache.  All the time.  Even if she was just discussing foraging or scouting with her group, it was a level of ferocity that put me off.

I gave myself overnight to cool down a little and gather my thoughts and I think that the book itself was decently well-done.  And it had a pretty good ending for a trilogy-ending book.  And I liked the set-up.  Hence the reason I'm considering picking up a physical copy to try again on.

Requiem is told in alternating chapters between Lena and Hana, which was a smart move on Lauren Oliver's part.  This way we still get all the main character's action outside the city, in the Wilds, but we also get to know what's going on inside the city, where Hana is.  Through Lena we see the atrocities foist upon the Invalids--the horrible conditions inside the Crypts where prisoners are kept and the hardscrabble subsistence of the people living in the Wilds.  As the government forces more Invalids out of the cities, things become denser and tenser in the Wilds, leading to fights and theft.  And through Hana we see the realities of life inside the city:  only a very few are privileged enough to have electricity 24 hours a day and many people are living on severe food rations.  There's now a solid concrete wall around the city, so the residents can't enjoy seeing the water or the trees anymore.  

I am glad that I stuck through this to the end.  I liked the way in which the author brought the girls together one last time.  It was very natural and felt right.  I wanted to cheer at the ending.  It's not perfect; there aren't happily-ever-afters handed out to each and every character; but it's right.  It's a good ending.  I know I'll continue to recommend Delirium for a while yet, but I'm not sure I'll really push Pandemonium and Requiem.  Still, I don't consider my time "wasted" for having read them.

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