This is the second book in The Chemical Garden Trilogy. Although this review will contain NO spoilers from Fever by talking about the plot there may be unintentional spoilers from the first book in the series.
Fever by Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: 16th February 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Romance
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review
"For 17-year-old Rhine Ellery, a daring escape from a suffocating polygamous marriage is only the beginning…
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."
Last year I absolutely fell in love with DeStefano’s debut Wither and have been pining for Fever ever since. The covers to this series are absolutely stunning and I like that they give a little hint as to what you can expect to happen in the book. In Fever’s case we have a wooden horse, a tarot card and a spaced out looking Rhine in a golden dress which ties in perfectly with what you can expect at the beginning of this book.
Fever begins directly where Wither left off. Rhine and Gabriel have escaped Vaughn’s sadistic mansion of corpses and experiments but before long they are thrown into another dangerous situation when they find themselves trespassing on to a twisted carnival full of prostitutes and drugs. The ringmistress, also known as Madame, takes an instant liking to Rhine because of her unique beauty and resemblance to her late daughter and so makes Rhine and Gabriel her star attraction known as “The Lovebirds”. Rhine soon learns that the world of the carnival is just as dangerous and disturbing as the life she left behind but with guards with guns patrolling the tents and Vaughn, Madame, and The Gatherers desperate to own Rhine will she and Gabriel be able to get out alive in their pursuit to reach Manhattan?
I thought that Fever had a much faster pace than Wither. There is never a dull moment as Rhine flits from one danger to the next in her quest to reach her home in Manhattan and reunite with her twin brother Rowan. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and wasn’t sure what was worse living a lie as Linden’s wife? Or acting as Madams puppet in her Carnival? Both lifestyles are equally as shocking and horrendous and I love that about Lauren DeStefano’s books, how she doesn’t shy away from tough topics. Whereas in book one we got to look at life as a bride this book takes a look into life as a prostitute which was as equally harrowing yet fascinating to read about. Although controversial topics, I think they add an extra layer of horror to the books and because of that make this future in particular one of the bleakest and cruellest I’ve read in dystopian fiction.
As with Wither DeStefano’s writing was completely absorbing. She has a way of describing what’s going on and how Rhine’s feeling that makes the world seem so vivid like your actually there. Rhine was also as strong and brilliant as ever and I loved the introduction of some new characters especially Maddie a brave and eccentric little girl who ends up accompanying Rhine and Gabriel on their journey.
The only thing that lets this series down for me is the romance. Even after two books I feel like I don’t really know Gabriel. His personality reads a bit flat and undeveloped to me and for this reason I can’t fully support him and Rhine as a couple, I can’t help but feel that a heroine as wonderful and bright as Rhine deserves a better hero.
Fever has a seriously great ending. In the last few chapters epic, crazy, scary thing happens after epic, crazy, scary thing and I absolutely raced to get to the end. There’s an interesting cliff hanger to this book which makes me excited to see what Lauren DeStefano pulls out of the bag in the final book to this trilogy. If you loved Wither I don’t think that Fever will disappoint you. I loved this book just as much as the first and am pleased to say that it didn’t suffer from middle book syndrome at all.
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