If you don’t keep up much with what’s going on in the teen novel scene, you might still have heard of Lauren Oliver’s Delirium trilogy. Fox ordered a pilot for it starring Emma Roberts last year and it was the thing to be talking about for awhile. Sadly, they ended up passing on it and the buzz faded away, but let’s not forget that this is a trilogy. Which means that, even if there isn’t TV to be watched, there are books to be read. Requiem, the final installment of the Delirium series, came out in March; is it worth reading? The short answer: yes!
If you’re looking for the longer answer, well, let’s go back to the beginning. The series is set in a distant future in which love has been banned. Yes, you read that right: love is considered an infectious disease that affects judgment, and thus simply isn’t allowed. At the age of 18, each member of society undergoes a procedure to remove love from themselves; they’re then paired off by the government and go on to live their (rather emotionless) lives. This means that, in short, the only people who have a full range of emotions are those under the age of 18.
We know what you’re thinking: this is a young adult novel, which means there’s going to be some annoying focus on teenage love. That’s what we were worried about too, but Lauren Oliver is too good of an author for that. While, of course, there are romantic storylines (that are surprisingly well done and realistic, given the age range), the book is about love in ALL its forms, not just romantic love. A mother being unable to love her child; a lack of passion for anything in life; giving the brain complete control, with no room for the heart. Oliver paints a bleak picture of what that might look like in this trilogy. While love can be a nuisance at times, it’s absolutely necessary because it’s part of what makes us human.
Lena changes so much over the course of the Delirium trilogy. At the beginning, she’s a naïve young girl looking to have some fun with her best friend, Hana. By the end? She’s a scarred, battle weary survivor who has seen and experienced horrors she couldn’t have imagined. It’s so interesting to see how Lena has grown, but also to lament the innocence and youth she lost. Did she make the right decisions? Perhaps, but perhaps not—but it’s that love of freedom, of choice, that Oliver really celebrates in Requiem. Our choices are our own to make, and the consequences are our own to live with.
It’s hard to talk much more specifically about Requiem without giving away key details of the trilogy’s plot, but suffice it to say that it’s very well done. Oliver provides a satisfying conclusion to the series, but she doesn’t shy away from the difficult questions. Nor does she tie everything up into one neat package; yes, this is set in the future, but she still makes it as realistic as possible, and let’s face it—life is just not as neat and tidy as we would like it to be. Not if we embrace our ability to love one another and ourselves.
What's your favorite YA trilogy?