Lauren Oliver's Requiem feels far less like the conclusion of a trilogy than the third book of a tetralogy. Readers who are comfortable with ambiguity will enjoy the ending, and readers who want to know what *exactly* happened, and to whom, and who survives and who doesn't, and what will happen next will likely be very disappointed. Many novels begin in media res, but this one kind of ends there. I'm fine with that. I'd rather have an ambiguous ending than one whose ends are tied up too neatly or implausibly. And to be honest, I'm not so enamored of this series that I really care all that much. I'm mildly curious to know what happens to Lena, Grace, Alex, Hana, and Julian after the book ends, but it's not the sort of thing that will keep me up at night. It is the sort of ending that will inspire much fanfic, though.
This book has two first person, present tense narrators. Double ugh! I think employing multiple narrators makes for lazy storytelling (and this book is no exception), and first person, present tense point of view usually makes me want to pull my hair out. In some books it works to an advantage, but most of the time I think it creates a false immediacy that carries readers along in the absence of real plot.
Anyway, back to the narrators: Lena, whom we know well from all three books, takes up half the book, with the other half narrated by her former best friend, Hana, whom I'd all but forgotten. Lena is still reeling from the revelation in book two that Alex, her love from book one, is still alive, and for most of this book she is torn between loving Julian and not being loved by Alex. In the meantime, Hana is preparing for her wedding with Fred, son of the former mayor of Portland and, it turns out, a very dangerous man to cross. The kind of man who would make your blood run cold, demanding a deadly level of loyalty and exacting any punishment he can think of for those who cross him.
Lena's story in the Wilds is mostly about survival, and her clan has to deal with its own treachery and anarchy of a sort. She's kind of mopey until near the end, where she's dealing with three separate females: newcomer Coral, who is a rival for Alex's love, her cousin Grace, and her mother. Surprisingly, I thought Hana's story was the more interesting of the two; so often in fiction, the stories of those who are left behind intrigue me more than the stories of the wanderers and wayfarers and war makers.
I think Lauren Oliver is an acceptable stylist whose prose serves the story, and I think her plotting across this trilogy shows tremendous potential. I just wish she would try her hand at something more worthy of her (mostly hidden) talents. I'd like to see her write a chunky, single-volume, plot AND character driven novel for YA or adults that stands on its own merits without capitalizing on the trendy and popular tropes of dystopian love triangle stretched out into trilogies when really a well-edited single volume would suffice.