Disclaimer: there are spoilers in this Nerd Talk.
If you think Lena’s had it tough in the Wilds in Pandemonium, well she’s having a tougher time in Requiem, as if that is even possible. Before I get to the drill, you know how in Pandemonium, the chapters are alternated between the past and present? In Requiem it has the same style, except it’s alternating between Lena and Hana’s (Lena’s best friend) point of views. One chapter, you read about Lena’s life in the Wilds, and the next you read about Hana’s life back in Portland, then Lena again. Yeah, that’s how the story goes. At first I didn’t know why it was necessary to bring us into Hana’s point of view at all, though I did find it interesting reading in the point of view of a Cured, it didn’t make sense to me when I first started reading. When the story started building, then it slowly started clicking together, and I was like, “Ohhhh, that’s why!” I’ll start with Lena first ’cause there’s no way I’d alternate like how it is in the books. Duh.
In the Wilds, Lena and her bunch of resistors are on the move to someplace safe in case of any regulators sabotaging them while they camp. There’s basically no such thing as an entirely safe place for them to live anymore since the Incidents (something like rebellion against the government). Lena spends most of her time with Julian, but has Alex occupying her mind like, all the time. Even though Lena and Julian made that promise back in Pandemonium, he feels something going on between Alex and Lena, but doesn’t say it. There’s tension between him and Alex as well and they hardly speak. Even when they do, they don’t look at each other. Lena confronts Alex and tells him she still loves him and stuff, and here comes the heartbreaking part: Alex tells her while he was in the Crypts, he could have died, but she was the one who kept him going. She was his ray of hope. And she ruined it. That part was just, ugh. I have no words. I know I’m supposed to be the writer and writers are supposed to come up with words for everything, but this, really, no words. My heart ached when he said that. And that was the point where I didn’t know who I want Lena to be with anymore.
While they were arguing, a bear appeared out of nowhere (the Wilds, remember?) and at that point, it is clear that Alex still cares for Lena. He tries to protect her and scolds her for acting out of instinct (in other words, acting stupid) with the bear ’cause she could have gotten killed. Lena doesn’t get why he was so upset ’cause during their argument he clearly told her he never loved her before. He obviously said that out of anger, after what he’s seen going on between Lena and Julian. I wouldn’t blame him. At some point, Raven–the one who took Lena in when she first arrived at the Wilds–senses something going on between those three as well but she’s careful not to mention it directly, though she hints that Julian needs Lena more than Alex does. At that time Julian is filling a bucket of water of the sorts and Raven asks Lena to help him and she does, even if she doesn’t want to. She’s like, “So I go to Julian. Who needs me.” Something like that. (I’m too lazy to refer to the actual context right now) That part really stood out to me, it’s like, she really wants to be with Alex, but she’s forced to tend to Julian instead.
And then there’s this part where they saved this girl called Coral and her friend, though only Coral made it. She then spends a lot of time with Alex and every single gesture they make, makes Lena increasingly jealous. Lena then thinks Alex is not hers anymore, and just throws herself with Julian. I don’t know, I just got really annoyed with Lena when I read about her thoughts about Alex and her actions towards Julian. She’s smart and a great fighter and all, but she’s really dense when it comes to these things. When they made a stop at this house that’s declared safe for the time being, Alex is supposedly teaching Julian how to fight. Being the son of the DFA and all, he’s never had it tough and couldn’t even hold a gun properly. So, he’s seeking for Alex’s help to learn to fight. Sounds like they’re bonding, no? No. It’s just an excuse to hit each other right in the face. Even though they’ve never said it, both of them are mad at the other for stealing Lena away. Alex went too far and he actually broke Julian’s nose. He let anger got a hold of him and he felt so sorry that he left the group. It’s like basically surrendering Lena to Julian. He left a note to Lena, saying how the tale of King Solomon is the only way to explain his behaviour. After Alex’s departure, Lena throws herself at Julian again and this time without hesitation because she thinks it’s really over between her and Alex. She does think about the note and wonders what he meant by it though. When she finally does–at the same time I do too–that was when I wanted Alex to be with Lena instead.
Despite the love-triangle going on, there is a bigger plan at hand, and that is to fight and reclaim their right to love again. Lena and her people (well, technically not her people since she’s not the leader) plans to head to Portland and strike there, where security is the weakest ’cause there would be a wedding ceremony going on.
Now moving on to Hana’s point of view. Ever since Lena left Portland, Hana stayed behind and continues life as if nothing has happened, as if her best friend never existed. She is cured and is paired with the mayor’s son, Fred Hargrove, which after his father’s death, he takes over his position. It isn’t surprising since the book describes her as being almost flawless, so it is only suiting she gets the best possible pair. Except, throughout the book, you get to see Fred’s true colours and frankly he’s kind of a psychopath. When Hana pisses him off, he would physically hurt her. She’s just curious about Fred’s first wife whom he divorced, but apparently that’s out of the question. Unwilling to drop it so easily, Hana actually goes to this prison, mental institute place-thingy–which I forgot the name of–just to talk to Cassie, Fred’s ex wife. Cassie tells Hana that Fred framed Cassie being mentally ill just so he could get rid of her. And that he killed his own father just so he could be mayor. Even after hearing that, Hana still proceeds with the wedding, which I don’t understand why.
There’s another side story, that is Hana finds Lena’s cousin, Grace one day and for some reason, she feels the need to provide her and her family food and other necessities. It’s either she feels guilty or she sympathizes them, but either way she’s a Cured and she’s not supposed to feel those emotions. And she dreams. Cureds aren’t supposed to dream. So I’m guessing Hana probably still has some humanity in her to some extent, but the book didn’t further discuss about it.
Alright, back to Hana’s wedding. Despite knowing how creepy and potentially dangerous her husband-to-be is, Hana still walks down the aisle and gets married. During her wedding ceremony, guns and explosions are heard and everyone panicked. Hana is immediately escorted by her driver to Fred’s house. On the way there, that is when Hana encounters Lena on the streets and she brings her former best friend back to the house. Lena constantly tries to see through Hana’s expressions and responds to see whether the Hana she once knew is still in there. That, to me, is one of my favourite parts in the book, all the way to when Hana and Lena talks in the kitchen. It seems that even though Lena knows Hana is cured and there is almost zero possibility of her being the old Hana again, Lena still holds onto that hope. There’s actually a bomb planted somewhere around Fred’s house and Lena hesitates on telling Hana at first because she’s one of “them” now, but in the end she did. Hana allows Lena to leave safely and when Fred comes back, Hana asks him to stay in the house for safety and he listens to her. She then escapes and lets the bomb explode the house into pieces, together with Fred. That is actually the another one of my favourite parts in the book, to be honest. Heh.
In the end, Lena meets Alex again. Turns out he left the camp and came back to Portland. Lena tells Alex that she never stopped loving him, and I was like, finally! After that, God knows what happens to them. I mean, there is no finality in the book as to what will happen to Lena and Alex and Julian, and what would happen to that society altogether. Will they be able to restore things back to where they were before? Will the people accept it? Who will Lena choose? Those questions still remain, and that is why I kind of have a love-hate relationship with the ending. The love part of it is because of how the author pens out the ending. It has such a strong message to it that I really like.
Well, that’s that. I’ve come to the end of the super long post and also to the end of the 3-book review. I may mess up a few parts here and there but I think I’ve stayed as true to the book as I can possibly remember. I hope you enjoyed reading my reviews 🙂
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