Fever by Lauren DeStefano
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages (Hardcover): 341
Series: Chemical Garden Trilogy
Author: Website | Twitter | Blog
Series Reviews: Book 1 (4★)
Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.
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 a world of devastation, Rhine and Gabriel have journeyed out to face the terrors with no plan and no resources. Danger seems to lurk at every turn while the invisible dangers of starvation, sickness, poverty and more rack our young survivors. This book didn't not fit into the same mold that its predecessor, Wither, had set. Previously, Wither had a very rigid setting and it was a unique approach for a setting of such a desolate world; this book however, was an open world. A world that allowed Rhine and Gabriel complete exploration of its depravity and desolation.
I went into this book expecting the terrors of the carnival to be a persistent problem. The cover eludes that it will be a significant part of the story and even the synopsis sets up that same expectation. With that in mind, the plot of this book fell a little short; I feel like this may be common in terms of a trilogy's middle read. The creepiness and haunting experience of the carnival was limited and extinguished early and set up for only a few major plot points following its end. It left this book feeling oddly paced and hopeless.
The characters made up for a wavering experience because in this book we get an intense look at Gabriel and his love for Rhine. Gabriel's love is different from the shallow, naive love that we saw from Linden in the first book and it really grows into major focus and safe harbor for Rhine. Rhine on the other hand doesn't grow and expand in this book the way a hard-knocked survivor would. I think that is accomplished through the overtone this book starts early on with intense yet unintended drug use. It inhibits Rhine from really becoming a thoughtful character that would perhaps have had the opportunity to devise plans and concentrate on truly surviving.
The villain of this book, House Master Vaughn, is incredibly well crafted and has a haunting and invisible tie that leaves Rhine and the reader increasingly terrified that he is lurking and watching every move she makes. It is a thrilling twist to really understand how twisted and determined he is without the use of common means such as guns and violence; his presence is always surrounding the escapees even if he is not.
Though this book was languid in its pacing and climax, it brought out a lot of characteristics about the characters that pull the reader in and leave us wondering where we will find ourselves and our little heroes in book three.
Rating out of 5: