"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton
This is where I chronicle my reading life. I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.
After feeling somewhat let down by both this book and "Monsters of Men," I found myself wondering if I just have something against the third books in trilogies. But after reading several other reviews of Requiem, I found that I'm not alone in feeling that this is a lackluster way to wrap up the series.
Requiem was good, but Pandemonium deepened the characters and made me care about them more than I had in the first book. I was especially excited to start this book when I learned that it was told from both the perspectives of Hana and Lena. In the first book, I'd found Hana and Lena's relationship to be more compelling than Lena and Alex's, and I thought Hana was the most vivid character. I'm also glad we got to see the perspective of someone who has been "cured," and the scene where Lena and Hana finally reunite was one of the strongest in the book. For a moment, it shook me out of what was turning out to be a rather forgettable installment.
I don't know how characters can "lose dimensionality," but that definitely seemed to happen here. Characters that grew significantly in the last book, or that were introduced as full-fledged people, somehow became flat and two-dimensional here. I got to a point where I felt like there were now "too many characters," but really, it was just that there were too many characters that I didn't care about -- even if I had cared about them in past books. It feels simultaneously as though Lauren Oliver was trying to wrap too much up, and that she didn't really have enough story to stretch into three books. Because although this is the shortest in the series, that's just how it feels: stretched.
The love triangle takes up far too much space and didn't really break my heart, because I felt ultimately that Lena was making the wrong decision, and that, moreover, it could send a somewhat dangerous message to teens. A disappointment over all; although I only gave it one star less than Pandemonium, the gap between them in my mind feels wide.
[Also, as an aside, I HATE the covers on these books; they have absolutely nothing to do with the stories and just feature another handful of glammed-up teens.]