Series: Chemical Garden Trilogy
Published by Simon & Schuster's Childrens Books on 2/21/2012
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Amazon • Goodreads
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 mansion...by 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.
I came in a little late to the Wither party, but boy did I jump in with both feet. I absolutely loved Wither and so I couldn’t wait for Fever to come out. Fortunately, since I only just read Wither in December, I didn’t have to wait long.
*This review may contain spoilers from the first book*
Rhine and Gabriel have escaped Vaughn’s little large house of horrors and gained their freedom, something Gabriel has never known and Rhine has been desperate to get back. But when they land on the beach, somewhere between there and their final destination, what waits for them isn’t a pleasant society that’s willing to take them into the fold; it’s much more brutal and forsaken than that.
If Wither was descriptive and fluid, Fever is beautiful and horrific and DeStefano’s writing flows from the pages in vivid colors and sounds. It’s like looking through a warped glass that adds a strange distortion and technicolor until they run together just a little bit. It’s a little hard to look at, but you can’t turn away because you have a fervent hope – just a hope – that Rhine will get her happily-ever-after.
DeStefano’s characters still come to life right off the pages, as if they could just step right out of the black-and-white words in full, vibrant life. Rhine is not a delightful person; she is hopeful, but lives in a world where women are sold into marriages and prostitution akin to slavery and her outlook on life reflects that. But she is very strong and her point-of-view is brilliantly read. Gabriel is more subdued but he shines all the same. More bad things happen to him in this book and we get to see what he’s capable of and what he’s willing to do for Rhine. Madame, Lilac, and Maddie sang and danced through the pages, each in their own ways. Madame is especially intriguing and I loved every scene with her in it. She is conniving but there is something deeper there as well. I’d like to have learned more about her past and how she got to where she was. In fact, I think her scenes are my favorite in Fever, for the music, color and imagery. Oh the brilliant imagery!
The ending was surprising and yet, not surprising. I can’t say more than that, really. But it did make my heart palpitate and some characters DID surprise me very much. I loved the ending, and I really can’t wait to see where this trilogy ends.
“Because if we weren’t wives, it would just be what it is – stealing girls and making them obey. But people used to get married to spend their lives together. There’s intimacy. It implies it was consensual. It’s not just our freedom that was taken, it was our right to be unhappy, too.”