Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2)Author: Lauren DeStefano
Genre: Dystopian
Pages: 341
Published: 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Rating: 4/5 Stars
"Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.
The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the any means necessary.
In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever."~Goodreads

Warning: May Contain Spoilers for Book 1! 

With Sever, the third and final book in the Chemical Garden Trilogy, set to release in February,  I figured I should read Fever so I was actually caught up for once.  As you may remember, Wither was not my favorite dystopian of all time.  In fact, I had some major issues with it, but it was still a unique and interesting book and I definitely wanted to know what happened to Rhine and Gabriel after their harrowing escape from the mansion.  Fever promised to be a completely different type of story.  Rhine was away from the opulence and seductive danger of the mansion and now we were going to get to see more of the gritty, treacherous, real world as she hunted for her twin, Rowan.  I had my concerns because I had heard from a lot of readers that this book suffered greatly from "middle book syndrome", just a go between, betwixt two awesome plots.  Luckily I very much disagree with this.  I found Fever to be just as interesting and even more emotional and exciting than the first book.  I felt that I really got to know Rhine and Gabriel in this book, as well as the world that they inhabit.

  • Dystopian Roadtrip!:  Rhine and Gabriel travel up the East Coast in a very dystopian "where are we going to sleep tonight and who is going to watch out for kidnappers" kind of way.  The come across everything from a brothel circus, to a creepy cafe owner and little old lady who happens to be a psychic.  They also gain and adorable and awesome companion who really tugs at the heartstrings, but I won't get into that here.  This setup really keeps the plot moving and kept me involved, I wanted to see where they would end up next and whom they would run into.
  • Rhine and Gabriel finally get real:  One of the things that really bugged me in the last book was that Rhine ran away with Gabriel even when she barely knew him and couldn't possibly be in love with him.  I was afraid that this book would continue that trend but I was so wrong.  Gabriel acted like a real human being.  He spent most of the book, seemingly, questioning whether he should have come at all.  The mansion was a beautiful prison, but the real world is hellish.  He obviously cared about Rhine but they weren't about to jump into bed with each other.  In this book they lean on one another for support while their relationship develops and goes through it's ups and downs.  I felt like I liked them more and could relate better.
  • Beautifully Grotesque:  this book was much grittier than the last and that added to the realism and also made for a much more beautiful narrative about freedom and sacrifice and love.


  • Where is Cecily:  When I first saw the cover I assumed there would be a bit of Cecily in this book.  I really wanted to know what was happening with her and the baby back at the mansion, but unfortunately she plays a minuscule role in this book.  
  • The Ending:  Okay, I'm not going to go into any kind of detail because I don't want to spoil anything, but I was just so mad with how this book ended.  First of all, I just felt like it was a bit forced and could have been written in a way that wasn't such a let-down.  Second, CLIFFHANGER, seriously?  Ugh!  I know they make people want to read the next book but they're frustrating as hell.  *pout*
I'm so happy that I didn't find this book to be a "middle book" bore.  This series keeps getting better and I can't wait to read Sever when it comes out on Feb. 12.  Especially after that cliffhanger, I guess it worked then.

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  1. I just read last month and like you found it uniquely interesting. There was enough intrigue to keep my engaged. I'm glad to hear that Fever kicks it up a notch so to speak. Withe Sever coming out this month I really looking forward to reading both to see how it all plays out.