Fever (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #2)
by Lauren DeStefano
Summary: The New York Times bestselling sequel to Wither reveals a world as captivating—and as treacherous—as the one Rhine left behind.
Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but they’re still in danger. Outside, they find a world even more disquieting than the one they ran away from. Determined to get to Manhattan and find Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan, the two press forward, amid threats of being captured again…or worse.
The road they are on is long and perilous—and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and men die at age twenty-five, time is precious. In this 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.
Release Date: January 1, 2012
Genre: YA Dystopian
Where to Buy: Amazon . Barnes and Noble . SimonTeen
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Source: I purchased a paperback
Fever is named well. I felt like the characters were in a daze the entire time. In fact, I’m fairly certain at least one of them was at any point in time. This added to the narration because so much was happening that was beyond Rhine’s control. I enjoyed the book, but I also disliked certain aspects a little bit. Fever is very different from Wither and I don’t feel as if the overall plot actually moved much. There was plenty of action and character growth in Fever, along with incredibly helpful realizations, but I felt like things were back to square one when it was all said and done.
Things were bleak from the moment Rhine and Gabriel stepped out of the boat and ended up in a twisted carnival of prostitutes. The Madame kept herself drugged on opiates and kept everyone else drugged to some degree. Rhine was fortunately not forced to become a prostitute herself, but she was forced to perform in other ways in the circus. Gabriel was kept drugged to keep him from becoming a problem. There didn’t seem to be any way out. The circus was absolutely horrifying and it made the mansion look like the safest place on earth.
I enjoyed the contrast of book one and book two. While book one was the kind of horror that disguised itself in luxury, the things Rhine encountered in book two were the obvious kinds of horrors that show how bleak the world outside of the mansion really was. Gabriel came with Rhine and she struggled with her guilt because the world was so much worse on the surface than the mansion was. And she dragged him along with the promise of freedom.
I don’t want to go into a whole lot of plot detail, so I won’t expand on anything. The characters found themselves in terrible situation after terrible situation. Anything I thought would happen during the escape from the mansion was wrong. I thought perhaps the relationship would bloom a little more between Gabriel and Rhine, but with one of both of them being drugged or fevered or sick throughout the book, there was little time for exploration of feelings.
I loved the overall feeling and tone of fever, even the fact that everything was hazy and the characters weren’t always lucid. The circus scenes were incredible. The author is very talented at writing and bringing scenes to life. I love that book two differed so much from the same themes as book one because it brought some new things to the table. However, Fever didn’t really expand on the original plot by a whole lot. I wonder sometimes if the series is too jumbled and if the author would have been better off writing horrific short stories. The two things I think book one and two have the most in common are the aspects of horror in certain elements. The first book was the luxurious mansion with secret horrors and the second book was the twisted circus with the crazed Madame. I love the way they were explored, but I question what one really has to do with the other besides being things Rhine experienced. I’m not even sure the circus was anything more than a stumbling block, whereas the mansion still seems to be the focus of the series.
The dystopian world, aside from the threat of Vaughn coming after them and experimenting on them, has little place in the novel. There are things about the world outside of just Rhine that still bug me a little bit and I was really hoping book two would take these things and sort of expand on them, but instead the characters experienced things in a drug induced haze and that was pretty much it. I loved Fever and I loved the contrast and different style, I just wish things made a little more sense in the grand scheme of things. Book one lacked some needed world building in terms of the how the world got the way it was, but I suspended disbelief and went with the flow. After book two, I’m a little more skeptical and I need to be pulled back in and believe this world exists. I recommend Fever. The book itself is very good and extremely well written. I can’t wait to read Sever and see where the series takes me.
Labels: Dystopian, Review, YA