Saturday, 3 March 2012

Review: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren DeStefano
Published by Harper Voyager 2012

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 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.

*WARNING: I cannot review this book without including spoilers from Wither. If you are planning to read Wither soon, it's best not to read this review.*

I loved Wither, and I was eagerly counting down the days until the release date. I defied my book ban (not that that was ever officially in place ;)) for it. If you loved Wither, you'll probably love Fever.

Fever picks up right from where Wither left off. Rhine and Gabriel have finally escaped the mansion and are setting off to return to Manhattan to find Rhine's twin brother, Rowan. The journey to freedom is not so easy however, and quickly Rhine and Gabriel are captured by a mad woman who runs a scarlet house in an abandoned circus. They encounter many evils in the real world but also manage to gain some friends and companions. They soon find out that Housemaster Vaughn is hot on their trail though, and they need to be careful.

When I first started reading Fever, the first sentence immediately caught my attention and I filed it away for future reference in my brain:

"We run, with water in our shoes and the smell of the ocean clinging to our frozen skin"

That line just really stuck with me, and from then on, I was hooked. The book dives right into Rhine and Gabriel's journey, and wastes no time bringing up a new situation. In this book, you really get to see more of the real world in the series, and what it's like. For me, the one word that comes to mind is: bleak. The world has become devastatingly desperate and broken, and that theme continues throughout the book. 

Rhine is as determined and strong as ever. She doesn't stop to relish in her freedom, and her mind is always at the task at hand. However, when things start to seriously get tough, the determination does waver. Who can blame her though? The situations she's put in do bring on a feeling of hopelessness. Gabriel is further developed as a character in this book, and we get to see how he adjusts to the outside world. The romance was also very sweet. The secondary characters were very good, albeit mostly creepy and just plain wrong. Now on to Vaughn. He's more of a threatening presence than an actual person/figure in the book; he's constantly in the background, waiting to pounce. This really adds to the sinister and creepy feeling of the book, and the characters never truly feel safe.

Things really start to pick up about three-quarters of the way into the book, and all the secrets come pouring out. I couldn't read it fast enough and the ending was very shocking. However, things overall were quite slow which means you might need a little bit of patience, but trust me, it's worth it. I can't wait to see what happens in book 3!

4 stars

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