segunda-feira, 8 de julho de 2013

Requiem, Lauren Oliver

This book was read for the 2013 Don't Let It End Reading Challenge hosted by Fiktshun.

My thoughts: This was a strange read. When the book came out, I read a few early reviews, and I guess those reviews gave me a good idea of what to expect. This had a double effect: one, I delayed reading this book, afraid I'd be disapointed, and two, I started reading with low expectations, which in the end might be what saved the book - since I knew what was coming, I didn't get as annoyed as I know I'd be otherwise. I'm still disappointed with Lauren Oliver, since I know she can do better, but I'm not as mad at her as I was at Kimberly Derting when I read Dead Silence.

The trilogy's structure is a bit... odd. I feel like Pandemonium and Requiem should switch places. Requiem sounds so much like a middle book in a trilogy, with lots of wandering around, trying to get the characters to the places where they're supposed to be for the last book, but with not much actually happening to advance the plot. Pandemonium is where the action is, where things do happen and contribute to get us closer to the end of the story. (Strange how I feel this now... When I read it, I thought Pandemonium was calm and not much happened in it. But compared to this one, it's full of action.) I don't dislike this in itself, but I feel it's a waste of time to have the characters in Lena's group wandering around, lost, arriving for the book's climax just in time to be there. It's an odd choice for Requiem, and one I'm not sure I can understand completely, because it doesn't seem to serve any purpose. And like I said, I know Lauren is a better writer than that.

Curiously, I enjoyed a lot more Hana's narration. I'm not her biggest fan, thanks to a thing she did in Delirium and confesses in Hana, the novella. But I loved to read her thoughts in this book. How she felt after the cure. What she finds out about Fred, her future and seemingly perfect husband. How guilty she feels after betraying Lena. What she does to atone the guilt. Hers was an interesting path, and much more captivating than Lena's. The author does a good job showing a character walking the fine line between being Cured, feeling numb, and being an Invalid, having this plethora of feelings that just won't go away.

The way the love triangle was developed and "solved" in this book was somewhat baffling. I guess I didn't mind which boy Lena ended up with, because Lauren makes a strong case for either in Delirium and Pandemonium. I expected Lena to be torn between two choices, two lives. But what actually happened... is an emotional void. There's no emotional, poignant scenes in which Lena feels torn, trying to figure out what she wants. Yes, there are scenes in which she swings between both boys, first wanting Alex's attention, next cuddling with Julian - but those scenes felt more like Lena was bipolar, and annoyed me immensely, because I thought Lena was stronger than that, than pining and stringing along the boys. This is not the Lena I met in Pandemonium, the strong, decisive girl who could kick ass.

Another thing that annoyed me is that there is no emotional evolution. Lena and Alex are very different people than the couple that fell in love in Delirium, so I expected a reaquaintance between them, a recognition that they are not the same, but the feelings are still there. Instead, they act at a certain point like they can pick up where they left off. That felt so wrong. And they seem to reach an understanding towards the end, but it was such a selfish scene. There's no consideration for the people they'll hurt, no spare thought for Julian (not even to let him off easy, Lena?) or Coral (who I felt Alex was stringing along).

And the comparison with King Solomon and the baby's story rubbed me off wrong. Lena is not a baby both boys were pulling selfishly to themselves. And it's not a matter of who loves who more, though Lena puts things in that perspective once. It's not about who can make a grand gesture, when one of the boys feels more like a puppet throughout the whole book, never having agency to do something. It's like there was never a doubt, and that nullifies everything that happened in Pandemonium. What was the point of that book, after all?

The end... I can see why it pissed people off. I was ready for it, so I'm not mad, but I'm still disappointed. I liked the parting words Lena and Lauren have for us... but there's NO closure. Things end literally in the middle of the action. A bold move, and one I don't think paid off. I want to know what happened to these characters - Raven, Tack, Pippa, Grace, Lena's family, Hana... everyone. I want to know what happened next in Portland, in the country, in the Cured vs. Invalid fight. I don't need a happy ending, and I don't need an ending where they defeat the existing state of things. And I can accept an open ending. But I need an ending. Just something that feels like closure. And this didn't.

My edition has the Alex short story. It's in his POV, telling us what happened between the end of Delirium and the end of Pandemonium. It was interesting, and I liked to know what happened and how Alex felt through the whole thing. But I felt it was too short. It doesn't give a good sense of his voice. I wish it was longer and more fleshed out.

Pages: 432

Publisher: Harper (HarperCollins)

4 comentários:

  1. Estou mesmo a ver que me vai irritar imenso O__O

    1. ... pois. É provável. É exactamente como as reviews diziam, sem tirar nem pôr. A Lena parece uma tola - tenho tantas saudades da Lena do Pandemonium -, não acontece nada, e aquele fim termina "in media res".

      Quase que parece que a autora o escreveu só por ter de o escrever, e não porque queria contar uma boa história, porque parece que se esqueceu de como é que se escreve uma. Porquê? Porque é que ela e a Kimberly tinham de me fazer isto? :(

    2. Goddamn. X__X A maldição do 3º/último livro de uma série volta a atacar. Mais valia ter deixado o Alex morto e ter terminado a série com o Pandemonium que acabava bem. Era só substituir aqueles últimos parágrafos por outra coisa. Isto tira-me do sério, porquê estragar uma coisa boa só para vender mais um livro, porqueeeeeê. Dinheiro. A culpa é das editoras.

    3. Agora que falas nisso, não me importava que tivesse terminado com o fim do Pandemonium. Os personagens estavam igualmente a meio de derrubar o "governo" vigente, mas ao menos o fim do Pandemonium (tirando a "aparição") fechava bem a história do livro e dava um fim mais satisfatório à duologia.