The last book in a series has the power to say what the entire series has been about. What note does the author end on? What themes do they really dig into in that final book? What has this all been about, anyway?
Requiem by Lauren Oliver could have easily been entirely about the love triangle between Lena, Alex, and Julian. That could have easily been the driving force of the novel and it could have ended with a kiss and little else. That would have been okay. Not much more than okay, but okay.
Requiem veers off from the first two in that it has a split POV. Chapters switch back and forth between Lena and Hana, her best friend that we haven’t seen much of since Delirium. I’d kind of thought she’d just disappeared and certainly didn’t expect to start seeing her in a POV role in Requiem. But she is, and I loved it. Not only do we get to see the world through the eyes of someone who’s been cured, but we get Lena and Hana’s friendship back. The series started with these two girls and, in a way, it ends with them. They’ve changed radically and neither they nor their friendship will ever be the same again, and we get a chance to see and understand both of them.
I won’t spoil the ending of Requiem for you. I won’t tell you who lives and who dies or how all the subplots come back together. I won’t tell you exactly how it ends, or which direction the love triangle goes in. What I will tell you is that ultimately this trilogy is not about who Lena ends up with. It’s about the freedom for her to love at all and for her to decide who she loves most and who she wants to be with. It’s about everyone having that freedom, and it’s about how terrifying that freedom is. It’s messy and there’s no guarantee that you won’t get hurt – but the freedom is worth it.
My favorite quote from Requiem is actually the last paragraphs, but I don’t want to spoil that, so instead:
This is what amazes me: that people are new every day. That they are never the same. You must always invent them, and they must invent themselves, too.