Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fever (Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren DeStefano

Fever (Chemical Garden #2) 
By Lauren DeStefano
Pages: 341
Source: Library
Format: Hardback

Rating: I liked it

Goodreads Synopsis: 
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.

My Review:

To be honest, I didn't go into this with high expectations and that might be why I enjoyed it more than most. I know a lot of other people didn’t like this novel and thought it was boring, but, personally, I thought more happened in this novel than in its predecessor.

I thought the beginning was very interesting, albeit disturbing. Rhine and Gabrielle are finally free from the mansion but are they actually free? Within the first few chapters, they once again find themselves captured, this time by a crazy gypsy woman who owns a circus brothel. To see these girls is heartbreaking but with life spans being so short love is a lost commodity. Most just want to be less lonely, if only for a bit and are therefore, willing to be with any amount of men. This part had my heart-racing because I wanted to know what was going to happen to Rhine and Gabriel. Was Rhine going to end up like those empty shells of girls? This part was crazy and exotic with its mad circus-mistress, young prostitutes and drug-hazed atmosphere. I liked the creepy circus feel throughout the beginning of the book. It was both creepy and intriguing. 

And this was all fine and dandy up until the middle of the book. Meh. I have to say that I could've skipped a good majority of it and not missed a thing. It was way to repetitive. While yes, that part of the journey is necessary, it definitely could have been shortened. A lot. The only thing that actually kept me interested during this part was the writing. I'll give the author credit when it comes to her beautiful writing. That in and of itself is what kept me going during the boring parts (now that I think about it, same thing happened in Wither). With this beautiful writing, she creates amazing atmospheres that are both eerily creepy and beautiful

Then, the last couple chapters start to pick up. You finally start to see something! Woot! though I don't want to give much away, it leaves me excited for the third book because we might actually get to learn about this darn virus! And this brings me to....

I'm still so lost. I'm not sure if this is 100 years in the future (there is a "kind of" reference that means this might be possible) or heck, it could be just 10 years in the future. And while there are holograms and what-not, and the buildings are kind of dilapidated, I don't really get a feel for this world. Though, you do get to know that America is all thats left. But what is the virus exactly? We still don't know how it came to be. All we know is that it kills people off at a young age. Um...Okay. Well how did it start? What were they actually trying to do when they accidentally created a virus? How come it kills everyone off at the same age (girls-20, boys-25)? How does it know when someone is that age? I know nothing and I hate that. Ugh...

Rhine was much like she was in her previous novel: brave, defiant, determined. However, this time, I believe she actually learned the cost of freedom. She really learns to think through her choices. Is it better to be well fed and taken care of but have not happiness or freedom? Or is it better to be free, fall in love and be happy, if only for a short while? These are the questions that plague Rhine throughout Fever and she must learn what is worth it, and what isn't. However, sometimes, she thought about her past life too often and it became weary. She got what she wanted, and yes, there are always the what ifs in life, but since this is what she wanted from the beginning, she needs to be happy. 

I'm also glad we get to see more of Gabriel. I didn't like him in the previous novel, because he was hardly ever there. However, you learn that he is an incredibly sweet guy that truly cares for Rhine and wants to make her happy, even if that means leaving the comfort of the Mansion for a world unknown to him. 

This book also brings up many ethical and moral issues such as the sexualization of women. Its sad that in this world, all women are good for is for having children. Its always 1 man with a bajillion wives. Guys get all the choices and can do as they please while the women are left being used for their bodies. Its sick, disgusting, and quite heart-breaking. Love is a lost thing in this world. With time being so short, most don't fall in love like in the olden days when you knew you have 50 some odd years together. In this world you'd be lucky having 5. So, instead of actually falling in love with a women, they are only used to keep the populace alive. Would you be like that? If you knew you only have 20 years to live, would you do anything, including prostitution, just to be a little less lonely just for a little while? 

This book was very interesting, although the middle definitely could have been shortened. While the world-building still leaves a lot to be desired, I'll admit the writing is stunningly beautiful, sometimes making me forget the lack of plot and world-building. I think if you enjoyed Wither you'll still enjoy Fever. 

All the best ♥


  1. I agree -- I thought this book was more philosophical then Fever. They escape, but they're never really free. I just love Lauren DeStefano's writing and the way she creates such a sinister mood. I don't need tons of action if there's great writing.

    1. Exactly! Her writing is truly phenomenal and it definitely kept me going, but in the end, I'm still an action girl :P Glad you liked it!

      All the best ♥

  2. My review for Fever is up, so now I can finally read yours! ;)

    I did like this one more than Wither, because of the action. But you're right, it did slow down in the middle.

    And the worldbuilding still has me at a loss, too. I do think that it's more than 10 years into the future (because at one part in Wither she talks about something from the 21st century, which would mean that it's set in at least the 22nd century). But we still don't really know much about the virus at all! And it's weird to me that finding a cure for the virus hasn't been more central to both of these books. I mean, sure, Vaughn has been "searching for a cure" or whatever, but you'd think there would be a few more characters that were adamant about finding a cure. It makes me wonder if there even is going to be a cure in book 3. I feel like we should have gotten some steps towards finding a cure already.

    Great review, Mackenzie, and thanks again for participating in the Catch Wither Fever event!

    1. I'm glad you liked it!! Yes, the middle was snail-pace slow.

      I definitely agree that it's in the 22nd century, but that's about all I know. Thats what is most irritating! In most other books, the characters have already started the journey to figuring out the answer or whatnot. But they've hardly even started! The third book better be chock-full of answers!! Thanks!!

      All the best ♥


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