Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Fever
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Chemical Gardens #2
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 1/21/2012
Length: 368 pages
Format: ARC
Genres: Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult
Challenges: N/A
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
Purchase: Hardcover | Kindle | NOOK | ePub
Rating: ★★★★★

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.

Warning: This review contains spoilers from the first book, Wither.

AWESOME! I had no problem getting back into Rhine’s world. It literally starts off where the last book ended and I was sucked back into the plot quickly. There wasn’t a moment that I wasn’t completely riveted to the page. Rhine is just such a great lead. She’s got so much strength and will. She’s one of the most memorable characters I’ve read in a story.

Throughout Wither, Rhine is constantly trying to escape from her situation as Linden’s bride. She’s learned too much about what his father is capable of and is ready to get the hell out of there before she ends up dead. And seriously, some of the stuff that man did really sickened me. Now that Rhine and Gabriel have escaped, they think they’re safe. They find out quickly that the world can be a terrible place and end up in a situation that might be worse than the prison they left. Once again, I’m blown away by the sadness that hovers over this book. The world has become a disgusting place (though I know some of these things happen now). Rhine is surrounded by women who’ve resorted to selling themselves for protection and a place to sleep, only to die in a few years when the fever takes them. They also resort to drugs they don’t understand and call them “calming.” Rhine just wants to get herself and Gabriel out of their alive and on their way to Manhattan to find her brother.

If there’s one thing I had to pick out that I loved about this book, it would be characters. Holy hell, Lauren DeStefano can write some characters. She’s a master at it. I love who I’m supposed to love and hate who I’m supposed to hate. Then there are the few who are more complicated. They’re not the person you want to root for, but you can’t help feeling for them or pitying them. There were some new characters introduced and I loved how they were written just as much as the established ones.

Like I said before, the plot is perfectly paced. It drew me in and kept me locked to the story. It was the kind of plot that stayed with me, even when I wasn’t reading it. That’s the kind of plot I love: something I can connect with so deeply that I think about it while I’m driving or during some downtime at work. It’s like that throughout the book, and the ending is spectacular. It will make you want to scream your frustration at having to wait a whole year for the next book.

The writing is exquisite. I love Lauren DeStefano’s style. Her descriptions are perfect. I can visualize the world Rhine is in, but it’s not too over-the-top. There’s still depth to the story and characters. I really think this is one of the best dystopian novels out there. There’s just so much there. This series would be such a good discussion book. I wonder if I could talk my book club friends into trying it sometime this year, maybe toward the end of the year so that we won’t have to wait too long for the last one.


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    Some of the books reviewed on this blog were sent to me by the author or publisher for review. I did not receive any payment in exchange for the review nor was I obligated to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of these reviews. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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