A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Although there aren't many straightforward educational messages in the book, teens will learn about the popular dystopian genre and how its elements include a controlling government, a protagonist who questions the oppressive systems in place, and the social ramifications of either adhering to the societal control or rebelling against it. The author alludes to the Bluebeard folktale and the Judgment of Solomon story several times.
Like most dystopian stories, Requiem demands that the reader think about society, governmental control, and the importance of standing up for your freedom. Lena's journey isn't easy, and many people she loves are either killed or have suffered tremendously, but the overall message is that the right to love is worth fighting for, even it comes at a heavy personal cost.
Positive Role Models
Lena and her other uncured friends show how difficult and self-sacrificing the life of a revolutionary is, how hard it is to compromise your safety and comfort in order to fight an oppressive authority. Although violence is commonplace, Lena always acts either in self-defense or to save her friends. Despite his upbringing, Julian commits himself to Lena and to the resistance movement, even though others are skeptical about his involvement. Alex lies to Lena, but he still cares enough about her to always want to defend and protect her. Hana helps Lena, even though it's against everything she's been taught.
Violence & Scariness
There is a considerable body count in this final installment, including the death of more than one secondary character. The government massacres an entire settlement of "Invalids" and even burns their enemies alive. Lena's two love interests come to blood blows. People die in explosions and during battle. A man is known for abusing women and is obsessed with the myth of Bluebeard -- the legendary French aristocrat who brutally kills his wives.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There are a few kisses and some nighttime cuddling, but there's a war on, and there's not much time for passion. This is the rare series in which the first book is the steamiest. Both Lena and Hana have memories of ardent moments in their past, but the love triangle in this book is more emotional than physical.
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"F--king" is said a half dozen times (never in reference to sex), while "s--t" is said frequently and other swear words are thrown in a few times ("bitch," "ass," etc.).
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Products & Purchases
No overt product placements, but the Delirium books have been optioned for a Fox televison pilot starring Emma Roberts and Daren Kagasoff.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults and teens (although they are considered of age in the dystopian future) drink at dinners and parties. Hana gets tipsy from champagne. Lena's friends pass around a bottle of hard liquor to share.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Requiem is the final installment in author Lauren Oliver's best-selling Delirium trilogy, a dystopian series that explores issues of love, societal control, gender relations, and politics. As in the second book, Pandemonium, the focus in this one is Lena's involvement in the resistance movement and how it fights the oppressive government. There's definitely violence (including character deaths, explosions, shootings, and hand-to-hand fights) and some stronng language (mostly "s--t," the occasional expletive "f--king" never in reference to sex), but the romance is limited to a few kisses. This is the rare teen series in which the romance is most pronounced in the first book. Oliver discusses several themes that make for good conversation starters, from the Judgment of Solomon and Bluebeard to dystopian societies and arranged marriages.
Is It Any Good?
Readers hoping for the same swoon factor as in the original book will be disappointed. This third book is more preoccupied with its young heroine’s personal journey in a horrific dystopian society than which guy she'll end up choosing. Even though Lena thinks about her feelings for Alex and Julian all the time, their reality is too grim and confusing (not to mention focused on fighting the regulators) to allow for the kind of thrilling romance that hooked some readers in Delirium.
Readers who don't mind the fact that the romance is present but not overwhelming will find themselves unable to put the book down, even though there are enough plot holes and unanswered questions to make the ending feel abrupt and unexpected. If you think there will be some magical epilogue spelling out everything that happens to these characters, think again. Oliver isn't one for easy answers or thorough explanations; it's the big themes about love, sacrifice, freedom, and choice that she wants readers to take away, not just the "Lena and Alex" storyline.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.