Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) Featured
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 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.
"It's going to get worse before it gets better."
The first word that comes to my mind when I think of this book? CREEPTASTIC! (creepy (in a good way) + fantastic = creeptastic)
Oh yeah and I *hearts* Gabriel! SO.HARD.
Lauren DeStefano gives us another beautifully written story in this sequel that picks up right where WITHER left off. Rhine and Gabriel have managed to escape from their prison-like life in the mansion only to find themselves caught up in another one when they stumble into a dark carnival. Filled with dancing girls, spinning horses and one haunting Ferris wheel, this is no playground and it's run by a Madam whose as sinister as Vaughn. (As far as I'm concerned, nothing good can ever come of a Ferris wheel which is why I avoid them at all costs. *shivers*) When Rhine discovers what the Madame has in store for her, she and Gabriel must flee again but this time they're not alone.
Along the way they meet new people, some nice, some - not so much, all the while Rhine is constantly searching for her twin, Rowan. There never seems to be any rest for these two and they're constantly plagued with something whether it's an injury, fear that Vaughn will find them or creepy nightmares that make it hard to distinguish dream from reality. Rhine and Gabriel care very deeply for one another and my heart was aching for them to be able to find some kind of peace. On several occasions, Rhine questions whether her decision to leave Linden and the mansion was the best one or her or Gabriel.
Speaking of Gabriel, this journey of theirs changes him, both of them really but he's no longer content to play the subdued house servant. He's...well, he's all kinds of AWESOMESAUCE. ALL.KINDS. (you'll just have to read it to see what I mean.)
The theme throughout this book is "things will get worse before they'll get better" and that means there's still hope. Still hope to find Rowan, still hope to find a cure for the virus, still hope to get back all that's been lost.
I can't wait to see how it all ends!
A Promising Sequel
This may be the unpopular opinion, but I have to say--I liked Fever much more than I liked its predecessor. This book had all the great elements that Wither had (interesting premise, gritty settings, lovely writing), only I found it more exciting.
My biggest complaint with Wither (if you haven't already, you can read the review I posted for it yesterday) was that I didn't feel like enough happened. Fever certainly doesn't have that problem. The pacing is much better in the second novel, so it was way more exciting. There was way more external action and complications. I had trouble putting the book down because I needed to find out what was going to happen next.
Now let's talk settings. We follow Rhine and Gabriel as they make their way to Manhattan to find Rhine's brother after having escaped the Mansion. However, they run into a slight complication when they get taken against their will into a carnival-like brothel. They're forced to be intimate with each other in front of spectators, and they spend a lot of time in a drug haze, Maybe I'm weird, but I love reading about this kind of thing, especially in YA. DeStefano does an excellent job capturing the creepy, gritty atmosphere without being gross or too explicit as to the happenings of the brothel. We also get another taste of impoverished Manhattan, and one of the orphanages there. All of these things were just so incredibly intriguing to me and I loved reading about them.
But here is the thing that bothered me the most--and it bothered me in Wither as well. I didn't feel connected to any of the characters. I like Rhine as a narrator, I've enjoyed seeing her development, I've been hardcore rooting for her...but I can't say I feel a huge connection to her. I kept puzzling over why this could be, but I think I figured it out. I think it was hard to connect to her because she's so focused on herself. That may not seem like it makes sense, but I want to know more about her in regards to the other characters, I don't think we see enough of her feelings in that aspect, which in turn makes it hard to connect with/get to know the other characters as well. The number one thing that pissed me off while I was reading is that Gabriel is supposed to be such an important character, but we don't get to know him AT ALL. It's like he's just a person there for Rhine's benefit--to go on this journey with her, to help her make realizations about herself, to take care of when she's sick. We get almost zero insight into his feelings, and it makes him such a flat character.
Despite any peeves I had while reading, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Lauren's writing is extremely engrossing! I can't wait to find out how the series ends!
slow but writing style shines strong
There are ups and downs with Lauren DeStefano. The ups are twisted world building with a slow pace which I usually hate but she makes it work and the down is that I don't know to say about Fever. It's like the whole book was wrapped in a mist and you can't see right. The same thing happened with Wither.
Fever was mainly about freedom. What would we do to be free? What does it mean to be free? We follow Rhine and Gabriel after they escaped from her Vaughn, Linden and imprisonment only to be chained by so many other things in the real world. Rhine has changed a lot, but she often thinks about how her life would be if she remained in the mansion every time things get unbearable. She is determined to find her brother even though it seems impossible in the world without cellphones or the Internet. I'm actually not sure if there are such things but there weren't any phones so I'm gonna think that technology isn't in use anymore. However there is a lot of drug use, prostitution, kidnapping and even a rape attempt.
There are some new characters, prostitute Lilac and her malformed daughter Maggie, the cruel madame and a kind lady( forgot her name,sorry) whose daughter was kidnapped and who's trying to make up for the lost time with trowing herself into taking care of abandoned orphans. We get to see Vaughn towards the end and get to witness his terrible experiments on girls.
If you enjoyed reading Wither, I'm sure you'll like Fever too. It wasn't as good as Wither but it still got me to read at least hundred pages on a really busy day when I would rather sleep than read.
Another that you're either going to love or hate!
Overall a good read.
Fever (A Room with Books review)
Now, I love a good series, but I’m also not a fan of change, so sometimes the books following the first can be difficult since there’s always something different whether it be a character, the setting, etc. That being said, once I overcame my fear of change I really enjoyed Fever.
Once Rhine managed to escape we were left with a big What Now and boy do we get answers in Fever. There’s quite a lot of adventure to be had outside the mansion walls, but none of it is really the good kind. We do meet some nice people along the way, but Gabriel and Rhine mostly face gobs of horrid people and situations. But we wouldn’t have a story if it was all sunshine and happy endings, now would we?
Once again, DeStefano weaves together a story that is beautiful in all its heartbreaking glory. Everything flows together so well that I found myself completely pulled into the story. I loved meeting all the characters from the terrible Madame to the warm and gentle Claire. Rhine spends a lot of the story in some state of haze, but it’s not at all boring.
We get a few more answers, but not many. I’m hoping the last book in the trilogy answers everything.
Also, I really love the cover. As you read you can identify things from the story on the cover which I didn’t quite get with Wither.
The Nutshell: Fever is almost an entirely different story than Wither, but not in a bad way. It’s full of adventure and new people. DeStefano’s writing is a gorgeous as ever, but despite the haze that Rhine often finds herself in it doesn’t have the same languid feel of Wither. I think that’s due to the fact that we’re following Rhine and Gabriel as they escape up the coast, though. If you loved Wither then you’re sure to be satisfied by Fever.
The Sophomore Slump
I was so intrigued with the ending of Wither, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of Fever. I was excited to see the world outside of the mansion, and to watch Rhine fight to get back to her brother. A lack of real plot progression, the absence of some of the strongest personalities and poor world-building has left me disappointed and unimpressed.
Fever picks up almost exactly where Wither left off - with Rhine and Gabriel washing up on the shore of some unknown beach. Almost immediately they are captured by "Madame" - a seemingly delirious and slightly senile old lady - and brought to work in her carnival. Madame mysteriously takes a liking to Rhine, dubbing her Goldenrod, and decides that she will not be forced in to prostitution like the rest of her girls - she will instead be forced to be intimate with Gabriel in front of men who have paid to watch. Fortunately for Rhine and Gabriel, they're both so doped up on heroin that they're mostly unable to distinguish between their hallucinations and reality. So naturally, I found myself hoping for her to overcome this obstacle and show her strength by devising a well-planned escape. When she's virtually handed freedom, after failing to help herself (or Gabriel) in any way, I couldn't help but wonder why these strangers were denying themselves their freedom in order to give Rhine hers. This theme continued throughout the rest of Rhine's journey to Manhattan - perfect strangers willing to bend over backwards for her, for nothing in return - and I had a hard time coming up with reasons why. What's so special about Rhine that she holds this kind of power over others?
As the plot continues, we follow Rhine and Gabriel (and their newly acquired ward, Maddie) as they slowly cross the country in search of Rhine's brother. Gabriel is mostly useless as he's going through withdrawal (which Rhine magically avoids), Rhine begins to realize that she might have idealized the outside world, and Maddie scampers around a lot on all fours (generally making better decisions then Rhine) but serving no real purpose. And nothing happens. Sure, they encounter some minor obstacles, but for the most part their entire journey from the carnival to Manhattan could have been removed and we wouldn't be without any vital information. I was hoping to see Rhine and Gabriel's relationship develop (as I found it quite lacking in Wither) but when Gabriel wasn't in a drugged-out stupor, he seemed to be angry with Rhine for withholding some important information about life outside the mansion. I felt like I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for SOMETHING to happen, something to explain why Gabriel felt so compelled to follow Rhine, why he continued to stay with her after realizing she pretty much lied about life outside of the mansion and I got nothing. There was no development of their relationship, no steamy scenes, no sexual tension - nothing. And Gabriel might have well been mute like Maddie - he had absolutely no personality and after two books I still can't tell you anything about him - including why he seems so fascinated by Rhine.
After finally arriving in Manhattan, and looking back on their journey, I kept wondering what the point was. What was the point in enslaving Rhine in a prostitution ring, if she wasn't going to be forced in to prostitution? What was the point in showing such physical child abuse, if the child seemed untouched by it's effects? What was the point in showing Gabriel's reliance on heroin, if it wasn't going to play a larger role in his development? I couldn't help but feel like a lot of the things thrown at Rhine and Gabriel were to create shock value, rather than for character or plot development. The repercussions of these experiences, the emotional toll they must have taken on both Rhine and Gabriel, were never touched on. The only response Rhine had to any of her traumatic experiences was her anxiety to riding in the back of a truck, as it reminded her of when she was first captured by the Gatherers. She begins to question her choice to leave the mansion and doubt whether freedom outside the mansion was worth all the obstacles they had overcome. Because of their complete lack of emotional reaction to...anything, I felt completely disconnected from Rhine and Gabriel and their struggles.
The newly-introduced characters were so underdeveloped I wasn't able to care for any of them - I missed Linden and Cecily and Jenna. I even missed Housemaster Vaughan! They were all such strong characters that their absence was felt in every page. Some slight cameos at the end were destroyed by another drug-induced Rhine stupor and we were left with a mostly-unresolved cliffhanger ending. Other then a couple of not-so-surprising revelations, Fever suffers fully from "middle-book syndrome" and does nothing to further the plot.
Thus Entitled Because It Has Caught MBS (Middle Book Syndrome)
This book is pretty fantastic, and by fantastic I mean utterly terrifying and depressing. It's a good follow up to Wither. Even in the portions that are slower plot-wise, which, come to think of it, is really most of the book, the story moves along speedily. There may not be too much actually happening, but the pace remains fast.
Rhine remains a strong character, but she spends most of this book unable, for legitimate reasons, to show too much of that strength. The first portion, she spends drugged (thanks again, Madame). Later, she has other difficulties hampering her ability to act. Thankfully, there is an interlude in the middle where she gets to be more like the Rhine of the first book. I'm pretty sure she'll be back with a vengeance in book three, and I can't wait.
Another thing I really appreciated about this book is that there really wasn't too much of a romance elements to it. In that respect, it reminded me more of The Hunger Games than a lot of the dystopias targeted more to women; Rhine is focused on her survival first and foremost, meaning that romance is not especially important. There was a sort of awkwardness at times between herself and Gabriel, which lent a realistic air to their relations. I mean, think about it. They haven't known each other very well or for all that long, so how do they know how they really feel about each other?
Book three is definitely poised to be stellar. Nothing was resolved in this book, but the players have been moved into position for a real showdown.
a book full of unexpected events
This was... not what I expected. Not that it wasn't good, just that it was completely different from Wither. Again, that's not a bad thing. I liked Wither, and I liked Fever, too.
Some characters are lost, while new ones come in. Rhine and Gabriel are on the run, and they end up at all places they never wanted to be. Their life at the mainsion probably was better, even with Vaugh around. On their way to New York lots of unfortunate events happen, sometimes so unfortunate it seems unthinkable and unrealistic, but since it's dystopia it doesn't really matter :) Some of the characters (Rhine, most of all) developed a lot, and became complete different persons. Also, some of my facourite characters completely disappeared, which made me sad.
The dystopian world where Fever is set is so cruel, with everybody dying so young, after a short life they barely lived. The young girls becoming mothers, and the old people having so much power that it seems unthinkable. The selling of women as if they are nothing, and, above all, the normality of death. When someone dies you are expected to get over it immediately, or at least in a few weeks. Then you should just forget the dead, as if they never were there. This seems unthinkable to me...
The pace of this book was slow sometimes, but not annoyingly slow. I will understand it when people say that they found it slow, because it wasn't full of action or something. It were the small things that happened that mattered to me!
The writing style of Lauren DeStefano is not very special. It's nice but not new. I like to read it, it's easy to read and you can read it without having to repeat full paragraphs. Still, I prefer different writing styles, that are new to me. It doesn't really matter, but the writing style is one of the things that annoys you when it's bad, and you remark when it's good, but when it's normal you don't remark at all.
And now I'm going to talk about the plot *spoiler free*. It was pretty interesting, but I didn't fall in love with it entirely, probably because my favourite characters were not in this book. The thing I loved most about Wither were the love 'triangle', but there was no 'triangle' in Fever. It had been a long time since I'd read a book without a love 'triangle' in it, and it showed me that an author can write a good book without using the love 'triangle' btw, I put triangle in quotations b/c I don't really think there was a real triangle, but there were 2 love interests, so triangle seems like the best word to describe it...
And after looking at the cover, and before reading the blurb, I wanted to read the book. It's beautiful! The cover is worth the book!
You will not be disappointed by the story, characters or romance inside it. A must for all young adults that love dystopia
Review from Mandikaye's Book Blog
When I reviewed Wither, I struggled to give it a rating. There was no such struggle this time around. It’s not often that a second book is better than the first, but this is one occasion where it absolutely is. It didn’t read like a middle book to me. The writing is amazing and the visual imagery had me believing I was actually breathing ash in the air right alongside them.
This was a painful book to read. At every turn something went wrong for Rhine and Gabriel. It caused a physical ache in my chest just hoping that something good would happen (you’ll have to read the book to find out if it did).
This one is definitely much darker than the first, but I think it needs to be. Things always get worse before they get better – and I do have hope that things in this world will get better by the end of the series. It’s been alluded to several times, but I can’t imagine going through all of this – becoming so emotionally invested – for naught. And honestly, despite the dark and cruel nature of the story, it was always laced with hope. That’s what kept me going through the book and what has me dying to read the next installment.
Hope. Sometimes that’s all that keeps you going.
Review From Blkosiner's Book Blog
I was quickly reminded how much I love the characters, Destefano's writing style, and the chilling world that she has created. I've been eagerly awaiting this book, and it didn't disappoint, and I am just as on the edge of my seat for the 3rd one as I was for this one.
If anyone thought that Rhine's freedom would be easy, they will be deeply disappointed. But I loved following their journey, even during the hard parts, because I love Rhine's undying spirit, her loyalty to finding her brother, and how much she is a fighter.
It was emotional as she realized how much she really missed her sister wives, and even how Linden stayed in her heart. Her feelings for Gabriel are still there, but they still really don't get a chance to bloom because of all of their difficulties. I think, like Rhine, I really appreciate the freedom of choice here--I don't think they are in love, but I'm glad they're able to support each other, see if love blooms. I think that her feelings for Linden grew more than she wanted to admit, and I kinda wish that her and Linden had a chance to figure it out without the weird love triangle (was square I guess with Jenna, and I don't even know what you call it if you figure in Rose...) but I also don't want Cecily to be abandoned. So, if I as the reader can't figure it out and see the obvious answer, then I can only imagine the turmoil in Rhine, and that it really must be easier to try to forget/ignore the feelings for Linden. And that is not even factoring in Silas--but I can't really get too much a read on their dynamic. I def liked his character, and hope to see him again.
Destefano really knows how to torture her characters, and its hard to read, but it is awesome how they grow and change. As well as what their suffering and trials make me feel. I have no idea what is next for them, but I am dying to find out.
What did you think of the book/series, and what do you think about the love [insert shape here]?