January 13, 2013

Review: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Fever (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #3)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: February 21st, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Page Count: 341
Source: Purchased
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.

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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

This book was a seriously wild trip. And I do mean trip, considering Rhine and Gabriel took turns being all drugged up throughout. You'd maybe think this would be a negative, but honestly, this book is pretty brilliant, SO IT'S NOT.

Let's break this down:

Can I just start by saying that Lauren DeStefano's writing style is brilliant? I could sit here all day writing down all the gushy adjectives to describe how amazingly lyrical her prose is, but I really feel like that would be a giant waste of everyone's time. I mean, you've all at least read Wither, right? So you should know. And, y'know, if you haven't read Wither, I'm not exactly sure why you're reading this and not that, or at least my review of that.

Anyway, now that I've gotten all dramatic and shirty over HOW MUCH I LOVE Lauren DeStefano's writing style, I think we can move on. 

So this book. A lot of second books in series start a few months after the first book, or at least show a sign of a break in between books. But this series? Where Wither ends, Fever begins. And y'know what? I'M GLAD because I don't want to miss a single second of Rhine and Gabriel. Their story is just so INSANE. Okay, I'll admit it, I was a little thrown by the carnival, but as I kept reading, I realized that every pit stop and plot point in this book is VERY IMPORTANT. Sure, Wither explains the basics with the disease and the gatherers and whatever else, but Fever makes everything seem so much more real - likely because the second installation of this series FINALLY takes us out of Linden's mansion. Fever shows us the first bit of outside world and expresses the idea that, no matter what, Rhine is always somehow caged. And that's when you begin to realize that this disease isn't just something that dictates death, but something that dictates life, too. It has so much shaped society that there's really nothing else.

And guys, as amazing of a job as I think Lauren DeStefano did with the world-building, the way she develops basically all of the characters in this book is just stellar. Linden really takes a stand in this one. Cecily, oh little baby Cecily, how I suddenly want to hurt you so much. And Housemaster Vaugh is like 10 times the psycho he was a book ago. We also gain a lot of insight into Gabriel's personality. I think we all kind of knew he wasn't so street smart, but the juxtaposition between him (the boy who grew up inside) and Rhine (the girl who grew up outside) is well developed and truly shows us more of  our leading man than we've ever seen before.

Of course, this brings me to Rhine. This whole book sort of just kind of happens to her, but not in a bad way. She obviously does what she can to reach her goal, but she's totally thwarted at every turn. So instead of making progress with her external goals, the book becomes about her internal development. Honestly? I'm glad that's the case. This book wouldn't be half as emotional and meaningful if we weren't in Rhine's head as she felt all of the confusing feels.

All in all, this book is kind of hard to pin down in a review and I think that's because of the weight of the characters emotions. This book isn't about the action, it's about the development (both world and character). It's because of this that everything in this series is built up to the point it all just feels so solid and real. All I can really say now is that the end is nigh, everything is set up for it and, thankfully, we only have to wait one more month.

The long and short of it?

Plot: A brilliant use of the second book in a trilogy.
World Building: Wither showed us the cozy, sheltered side of this world, but Fever vividly describes the terror of the outside world.
Character Development: Rhine, along with everyone else, really grows into themselves.
Prose: Guys, it's Lauren DeStefano. Do I really have to talk about this?
Would I Recommend This Book?: Go read Wither and then pick this one up. You won't regret it.

This book made me feel all of the feels. How did you react to it? Did you love it as much as I did or was something missing for you? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. I love your initial comments. You would think that the characters being drugged for a good portion would make the book kind of bad but that was so not the case. I also adore Lauren DeStefano's writing. She's amazing. I pretty much went through the range of emotions with this book and I can't wait to read Sever. Great review!

    1. I'm glad you liked the books (and the review)! Lauren DeStefano's writing really is fantastic - whether she's writing drugged characters or just Tweeting about her cats. I can't wait to read Sever!

      Thanks for commenting, Katie :)


Hey there! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment. Also, if you have a blog, be sure to leave a link so I can go check it out!