The second book in The Chemical Garden Trilogy reveals a world as captivating—and as dangerous—as the one Rhine left behind in Wither.
Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but they’re still in danger. Outside, they find a world even more disquieting than the one they left behind.
Determined to get to Manhattan and find Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan, the two press forward, amid threats of being captured again…or worse.
The road they are on is long and perilous—and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and men die at age twenty-five, time is precious. In this 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.
About the Author
Lauren DeStefano is the author of The Internment Chronicles and the New York Times bestselling Chemical Garden trilogy, which includes Wither, Fever, and Sever. She earned her BA in English with a concentration in creative writing from Albertus Magnus College in Connecticut. Visit her at LaurenDeStefano.com.
Read an Excerpt
WE RUN, with water in our shoes and the smell of the ocean clinging to our frozen skin.
I laugh, and Gabriel looks at me like I’m crazy, and we’re both out of breath, but I’m able to say, “We made it,” over the sound of distant sirens. Seagulls circle over us impassively. The sun is melting down into the horizon, setting it ablaze. I look back once, long enough to see men pulling our escape boat to shore. They’ll be expecting passengers, but all they’ll find are the empty wrappers from the packaged sweets we ate from the boat owner’s stash. We abandoned ship before we reached the shore, and we felt for each other in the water and held our breath and hurried away from the commotion.
Our footprints emerge from the ocean, like ghosts are roaming the beach. I like that. We are the ghosts of sunken countries. We were once explorers when the world was full, in a past life, and now we’re back from the dead.
We come to a mound of rocks that forms a natural barrier between the beach and the city, and we collapse in its shadows. From where we’re huddled we can hear men shouting commands to one another.
“There must have been a sensor that tripped the alarm when we got close to shore,” I say. I should have known that stealing the boat had been too easy. I’ve set enough traps in my own home to know that people like to protect what’s theirs.
“What happens if they catch us?” Gabriel says.
“They don’t care about us,” I say. “Someone paid a lot of money to make sure that boat is returned to them, I bet.”
My parents used to tell me stories about people who wore uniforms and kept order in the world. I barely believed those stories. How can a few uniforms possibly keep a whole world in order? Now there are only the private detectives who are employed by the wealthy to locate stolen property, and security guards who keep the wives trapped at luxurious parties. And the Gatherers, of course, who patrol the streets for girls to sell.
I collapse against the sand, faceup. Gabriel takes my shivering hand in both of his. “You’re bleeding,” he says.
“Look.” I cant my head skyward. “You can already see the stars coming through.”
He looks; the setting sun lights up his face, making his eyes brighter than I’ve ever seen, but he still looks worried. Growing up in the mansion has left him permanently burdened. “It’s okay,” I tell him, and pull him down beside me. “Just lie with me and look at the sky for a while.”
“You’re bleeding,” he insists. His bottom lip is trembling.
He holds up my hand, enclosed in both of his. Blood is dripping down our wrists in bizarre little river lines. I must have sliced my palm on a rock as we crawled to shore. I roll up my sleeve so that the blood doesn’t ruin the white cabled sweater that Deirdre knitted for me. The yarn is inlaid with diamonds and pearls—the very last of my housewife riches.
Well, those and my wedding ring.
A breeze rolls up from the water, and I realize at once how numb the cold air and wet clothes have made me. We should find someplace to stay, but where? I sit up and take in our surroundings. There’s sand and rocks for several more yards, but beyond that I can see the shadows of buildings. A lone freight truck lumbers down a faraway road, and I think soon it’ll be dark enough for Gatherer vans to start patrolling the area with their lights off. This would be the perfect place for them to hunt; there don’t appear to be any streetlights, and the alleyways between those buildings could be full of scarlet district girls.
Gabriel, of course, is more concerned about the blood. He’s trying to wrap my palm with a piece of seaweed, and the salt is burning the wound. I just need a minute to take this all in, and then I’ll worry about the cut. This time yesterday I was a House Governor’s bride. I had sister wives. At the end of my life, my body would have ended up with the wives who’d died before me, on a rolling cart in my father-in-law’s basement, for him to do only he knows what.
But now there’s the smell of salt, sound of the ocean. There’s a hermit crab making its way up a sand dune. And something else, too. My brother, Rowan, is somewhere out here. And there’s nothing stopping me from getting home to him.
I thought the freedom would excite me, and it does, but there’s terror, too. A steady march of what-ifs making their way through all of my deliciously attainable hopes.
What if he’s not there?
What if something goes wrong?
What if Vaughn finds you?
What if . . .
“What are those lights?” Gabriel asks. I look where he’s pointing and see it too, a giant wheel of lights spinning lazily in the distance.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” I say.
“Well, someone must be over there. Come on.”
He pulls me to my feet and tugs my bleeding hand, but I stop him. “We can’t just go wandering off into lights. You don’t know what’s over there.”
“What’s the plan, then?” he asks.
The plan? The plan was only to escape. Accomplished. And now the plan is to reach my brother, a thought I romanticized over the sullen months of my marriage. He became almost a figment of my imagination, a fantasy, and the thought that I’ll be reunited with him soon makes me light-headed with joy.
I had thought we could at least make it to land dry, and during the daylight, but we ran out of fuel. And we’re losing daylight by the second; it’s not any safer here than anywhere else, and at least there are lights over there, eerie as they may be, spinning like that. “Okay,” I say. “We’ll check it out.”
The impromptu seaweed wrap seems to have staunched the bleeding. It’s so carefully tied that it’s amusing, and Gabriel asks what I’m smiling about as we walk. He is dripping wet and plastered with sand. His normally neat brown hair is in tangles. Yet he still seems to be searching for order, some logical course of action. “It’s going to be okay, you know,” I tell him.
He squeezes my good hand.
The January air is in a fury, kicking up sand and howling through my drenched hair. The streets are full of trash, something rustling in a mound of it, and a single flickering streetlight has come on. Gabriel wraps his arm around me, and I’m not sure which of us he means to comfort, but my stomach is churning with the early comings of fear.
What if a gray van comes lumbering down that dark road?
There are no houses nearby—just a brick building that was maybe once a fire department half a century ago, with broken and boarded windows. And a few other crumbling things that are too dark for me to make out. I could swear that things are moving in the alleys.
“Everything looks so abandoned,” Gabriel says.
“Funny, isn’t it?” I say. “Scientists were so determined to fix us, and when we all started dying, they just left us here to rot, and the world around us too.”
Gabriel makes a face that could be perceived as disdain or pity. He has spent most of his life in a mansion, where he may have been a servant, but at least things were well-constructed, clean, and reasonably safe. If you avoided the basement, that is. This dilapidated world must be a shock.
The circle of light in the distance is surrounded by bizarre music, something hollow and brassy masquerading as cheerful. “Maybe we should go back,” Gabriel says when we get to the chain-link fence surrounding it. Beyond the fence I can see tents illuminated by candlelight.
“Go back to what?” I say. I’m shivering so hard, I can barely get the words out.
Gabriel opens his mouth to speak, but the words are lost by my own scream, because someone is grabbing my arm and pulling me through an opening in the fence.
All I can think is, Not again, not like this, and then my wound is bleeding again and my fist is hurting because I’ve just hit someone. I’m still hitting when Gabriel pulls me away, and we try to run, but we’re being overpowered. More figures are coming out of the tents and grabbing our arms, waists, legs, even my throat. I can feel the skin bunching under my nails, and someone’s skull crashing against mine, and then I’m dizzy, but some otherworldly thing keeps me violently moving in my own defense. Gabriel is yelling my name, telling me to fight, but it doesn’t do any good. We’re being dragged toward that spinning circle of light, where an old woman is laughing, and the music doesn’t stop.
What People are Saying About This
"Rhine's struggles and pain are real, and her story is both heartbreaking and hopeful. I couldn't read this book fast enough."
Beth Revis, NY Times Bestselling Author of Across the Universe
DeStefano’s rich use of language helps set this dystopian tale apart.
Reading Group Guide
A Reading Group Guide to
by Lauren DeStefano
Guide written by Pam B. Cole, Professor of English Education & Literacy, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA
1. Is freedom a right or privilege?
2. Is freedom worth fighting for?
3. To what extent will individuals go to be free? Discuss examples.
1. Having stolen a boat, Rhine and Gabriel are on the run. From whom are they running and why? Where are they planning to go?
2. Describe Madame Soleski and the carnival world she rules. Why does she hold Rhine and Gabriel hostage?
3. In what way is Rhine different from the other girls under Madame Soleski’s care? How do the other girls and boys treat Rhine and Gabriel?
4. Who is Maddie and how does she become separated from her mother? Why is she a vital character in the story?
5. Maddie is a young child, yet she has learned to be resourceful to survive. Cite evidence from the text to support this statement.
6. Why does Lilac want to leave with Maddie? Does she make a good decision in attempting to leave? Explain.
7. How do Rhine and Gabriel manage to escape from Madame Soleski? Might they have been able to escape on their own? Did they make a wise decision to run? Support your answer with evidence from the text.
8. In desperation Rhine and Gabriel seek shelter at the home of Annabelle, a fortune teller. In what way does Annabelle help Rhine, Gabriel, and Maddie. Why do they not stay longer?
9. How do Rhine, Gabriel, and Maddie travel to Manhattan?
10. Greg and Elsa, a couple who own a restaurant, give Rhine, Gabriel, and Maddie a room for the night. How does the couple seem odd?
11. Why does Gabriel take money from the restaurant’s cash register? Was he wrong for doing so? Explain.
12. When Rhine and Gabriel reach Rhine’s former home in Manhattan, what has happened to her home? Where is her brother, Rowan?
13. Why do Rhine, Gabriel, and Maddie go to Grace’s Orphanage? What do they learn there and how are they received by Grace?
14. Describe Grace Lottner. Why does she take in children at the orphanage?
15. Why does Rhine feel guilty about taking Gabriel along on her escape from the mansion? Why does Gabriel go with her, and does he have any regrets? If he could take back his decision, would he have stayed in the mansion?
16. Why does Silas seem to disapprove of Rhine and Gabriel staying at the orphanage? What guilt does he harbor and why?
17. Rhine becomes seriously ill with a fever. Why is she ill? What will save her?
18. When Vaughn comes for Rhine in Manhattan, why does she return to the mansion with him without a fight? What surprises await her there?
19. How does Linden react to the news of his father’s experiments and how he has been treating Rhine?
20. What happens to Rhine after she returns to her father-in-law’s mansion? Who comes to her aid and why?
21. The author has Rhine remember eating June Beans and how the thought of them is a pleasant memory. Why is this reference necessary in the early part of the story?
22. What symbolism can you associate with the title, Fever?
Questions for Further Discussion
1. Rhine has been held hostage in a lavish mansion and escapes only to find herself held hostage in a dilapidated carnival world under Madame Soleski’s rule. Is one world better than the other? Explain.
2. The reader captures snippets of information about Rhine’s sister wives in the story. Describe her relationship with each and support your response with evidence from the text.
3. Readers come to believe that Rhine’s brother may be dead or that Rhine may not be able to locate him. Yet the story ends with her seeing an image of him on a news channel. How does this last scene contribute to the story?
4. Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, manages to track her to Madame Soleski and later to Manhattan; however, the story contains scant information about how Vaughn plots to recapture her. What plausible explanation does the author give for his ability to trail her? Without this simplistic, yet credible explanation, how would the author have needed to write some parts of the story differently?
5. What happens to Gabriel in the story? In what way might he play a part in a future sequel?
6. How does Rhine feel about Linden, her husband? Is he a good person? Why or why not? Support your answer with information from the text.
7. Metaphor is a technique used by authors to create more vivid descriptions. Rhine describes herself as “a corpse on a rolling cart”. How is this description fitting? Identify two other examples of metaphors that paint a vibrant picture and explain why you chose them.
8. Mood is the feeling a story creates. How does the author use setting to create mood? What mood does the story evoke? Cite phrases from the story to support your response.
9. Readers learn from Rhine that she had a close relationship with her twin brother, Rowan. Though she speaks of him in the story, he does not enter any scenes. Discuss the types of scenes that could be used to tell Rowan’s story after he and Rhine are separated.
10. Define dystopia. In what way is this story a dystopia? What can we infer about the idea of a “perfect” world from reading this story? Support your response with information from the text.
11. The setting of the story is futuristic. DeStefano develops this setting, in part, by letting the reader know that items such as iPods are “antique.” Find other evidence that places the story in the future.
12. The story is based on the idea that genetic engineering has perfected the human race; however, in doing so, it has also produced a deadly virus that kills young girls at the age of twenty and young men when they reach twenty-five. Discuss the pros and cons of genetic engineering. Support your answer with evidence from this text as well as evidence from an informational source of your choice.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Where do I even begin to tell you how much I love The Chemical Garden series. When I first read Wither, I was in love. I could not put the book down. It was defiantly one of the best books I read this past year. I had to know what happens to Rhine and Gabriel. I had to know if they made it all right. So when I saw that the second book Fever was coming out, I knew I had to get my hands on it. I tried entering contests and giveaways. But I was not winning. :( Then in November of 2011 I was able to attend NCTE in Chicago. There I meant the wonderful people at Simon and Schuster. I was talking to one of the girls at the booth and I asked her if they had arcs of Fever there and if they did when are they going to give them out. And then this wonderful person went under the table and received the one book that I was there to get. I was on cloud nine. My life was complete. You can ask Lynn from Bringing the Epic.....the book did not leave the my side until we left to drive home. Well to make a long story short, I was about to embark on a great journey with Rhine and Gabriel and I could not wait! This book starts off exactly where the first book ended. You are with Rhine and Gabriel and they are on the boat sailing up the coast. Rhine and Gabriel are going to Manhattan to find Rhine's brother. They come across many bumps in their journey and forks in the road. And each challenge in my eyes makes them stronger. They are first kidnapped to become part of a show, then they sneak on a truck and take it to West Virginia, then they make it all the way to Manhattan and that is where all the fun begins. That is where you start to understand the title of the book and where this whole story is going. Lauren DeStefano is a genius! I thought Wither was good then I read Fever. I am so happy that I was able to read this remarkable book. Fever is everything that you want it to be. Fever is amazing, and breathe taking. It has suspense, sorrow, love, and hate all tied into one. It is everything that you would want in a story and more. I would say this might be book of the year for 2012!
Great Book with great story line. Kept me entertained
I can't wait for this book to come out!(Feb. 2012) Wither was great I read it in 48 hours. And I really hope the author will give us more excperts.
Its just as good as the first book wither! Just when rhine thought she escaped it all, there was worse to come. Still searching for her brother, she finds that there is something she isnt admitting to herself about him. Maybe she is too emotional, but it is also what makes her strong. Secrets of her brother await her, along with things her long lost sister told gabriel about rhine that she never heard. Trying to be free seems impossible, especially when vaugnn seems to be tracking her too easily, and there are others that want her for her youth, beauty, and unique eyes. Will she ever escape? Will she find her brother? Can she save herself and the ones she loves from the fever?
I LOVE IT !
DELICIOUS! I WANT MORE! AS THE BOOK UNRAVELS, IF MAKES YOU FEEL ALL THESE DIFFERENT EMOTIONS LIKE WORRY, ANGER, SADNESS, ETC. IF YOU LIKE THE FIRST BOOK, YOU WILL LOVE THIS ONE. PLEASE READ IT.
This wasn't as interesting as the first book. I kept skiping pages trying to find something interesting. The ending was a little rushed. Does Rhine and Gaberial even like each other? The half of the book that i did read was some what good but not great.
The book justt makes want keep on reading! I cannot wait for the next book.
Let me tell you, Fever is aptly titled. The first part of this book–until about Chapter 9 or so (out of 27 chapters)–reads like a haze. DeStefano has a very lyrical way of writing, and its infused with a sort of haze all throughout the beginning that gives the book a sense of surrealism. Usually, I hate that kind of thing. Hey, have you seen my review of Shatter Me? Usually lyrical writing–overdone like that–really turns me off. But it works rather well with the surrealism of Rhine’s current situation, somehow. It still doesn’t completely jive with my particular taste in style (part of the reason this isn’t a five star review), but I found myself stuck reading…and reading…and reading. After Chapter 9, the book falls into the saner rhythm, with the lyrical phrasing and such more interspersed–the way Wither was written, basically. There is still a tinge of the “fever,” though, which helps to connect the switch. Another thing found in those first few chapters? DeStefano’s other magical ability, to take on a situation that has such a bad stigma to it and make it work for her story. It was polygamy in Wither, and it’s prostitution in Fever–neither of which are small change! You clearly don’t get the feelings of approval or anything, but… Well, it’s hard to describe. Anyone who’s read Wither knows what I mean. (Wait a sec. If you haven’t read Wither, what exactly are you doing here? Go check out my review of the first book and check back in here later! ) The pace of the entirety of the book is FAST. There are a few moments of peace for the characters, but even then there is hectic undertone that makes you keep reading and reading until the book is all gone and you go WAIT GIVE ME MORE. Of course, I’m getting ahead of myself. Fever was also great about answering a few questions but then opening up a hundred more. (Read “great” with AGH I WANT TO KNOW accents.) I, for one, prefer fast paced books where things are just hitting me one after the other because it’s the only way I can keep my interest in it, and this book delivered. I wish I could go into my other reasons for docking a star from this review, but in my efforts to stay spoiler free I must say rather little. Actually, they are a lot like the issues I had with the first book. Most of them came from character development, nominally Rhine and Gabriel, whom I’ve had issues with since Wither. There is an aspect of falseness to their relationship still, though events in Fever suggest this might be intentional. (Though I am still completely befuddled by the whole Rhine-Linden dynamic.) Also, the tempo. Despite being fast paced, I was never utterly and completely invested in characters such as Rhine, yet I found myself liking the characters of Lilac and Maddie (don’t worry, you’ll meet them soon) right away. Thus, when things happened to Rhine, my heart wasn’t pulsing like it should have been. As I said in my review of the first book, perhaps DeStefano’s way with words is one reason the plot never got to my heart rate, but I refuse to put too much blame there because she has a way with words. Fans of the first book, of course, just want to know one thing (besides the entire plot and all the spoilers that they can’t get til Fever hits shelves, but you know): Does Fever measure up to Wither? The answer is yes. Totally and absolutely yes. If you were having sequel anxiety, worry not! If you loved the first book, you’ll be heading head over heels for the second one.
I am a huge fan of wither. It captivated me from the moment i started reading. However fever was a little disapointing. I could only really grasp the basic plotline for most of it probably because she was in a medicated derlium for most of the book. So i have to say she did a great job with that. Still incrediblly eager to find the conclusion in her next book.
I loved this book! I read it in 5 hours and I highly anticipate the third and final book. The story's plot becomes intricately weaved and much it explained; I could not put it down
This book does not disappoint! I could not put it down, it is beautifully written. I cannot wait for the the final book to be released!
This is the second book in the Chemical Garden Trilogy by DeStefano. I enjoyed this installment in the series, although not quite as much as Wither. DeStefano writes beautifully and delivers a compelling story that will definitely grab the readers attention.Rhine and Gabriel have escaped from Rhine's husband's house only to be trapped by a twisted ringmistress of pleasures. Rhine is determined to get back to Manhattan to find her brother, but the place she is trapped in now is even worse than the house than she had to watch her sister-wives die in. Even if Rhine and Gabriel can escape the Madame they have to evade Rhine's husband's twisted father Vaughn and actually find Rhine's twin brother Rowen.DeStefano just hands down writes beautifully. She is absolutely adept at making locations and scenes come vividly alive; she makes the characters come alive and then makes you despair as she sucks the life out of them...only for the characters to regroup and come out of their trial...well not intact, but alive. I think it is the metaphor's Rhine uses that make this book so alive; Rhine sees beauty in the simplest things even when she is surrounded by squalor.Seriously Rhine goes through so much in this book, I felt bad for the poor girl. She is defintiely the driving force in this book. She is the one who makes decisions and survives, yet still manages to make caring for others (no matter how horrible the people she deals with) one of her main goals. Rhine is one of those characters that totally kicks butt, without ever resorting to violence.Gabriel was an interesting character in his own right. It was intriguing to watch how someone who never left the Mansion reacts to the world that Rhine grew up in. I tried to keep this in mind as I read about Gabriel, because he acts extremely sheltered throughout the story. That's not to say he doesn't grow as a character, but especially very early in the story I was frustrated with how complaint Gabriel was and his lack of fight. Vaughn is everything an absolutely horrible evil man should be, he is the perfect villain, and creeps me out just as bad as he did in the first book.We meet a ton of wonderful new characters. Lilac is trapped at the Carnival with Rhine and Lilac has a wonderful deformed daughter named Maddy. Maddy really adds a ton to the story; she is smart as a whip and just a spectacular child.The plot was very well done and this book is mostly about the journey the characters take. It was fascinating to finally see more of this destroyed world and to watch as Gabriel is exposed to it. As with many of these dystopian books, there is more going on politically than first meets the eye and the reader is exposed to more political unrest than we saw in the first book. I just can't wait to see where this series ends up.Overall an excellent addition to this series. I love the characters, the world, and the plot. We get to meet wonderful new characters, the plot is broadened, and the world is heartbreaking. The thing that really elevates this book over many other YA dystopian books is the beautiful writing; it just brings the story alive for me. I can't wait to read the next book when it releases next year. Highly recommended to fans of YA dystopia books. I also recommend Divergent by Veronica Roth and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This book is a good reason why I don't read reviews for books that I am excited to read. I rarely give books 5 stars, most get a 4 star at the best. The only reason Fever did not get 4 stars is because it wasn't as good as the first. I did enjoy this book, it just was a bit different than the first.In Wither, Rhine was mostly at the mansion of her husband and father-in-law. Fever is the story after Rhine and Gabriel escape from the mansion. From one adventure to the next, these two characters are bound and determined to make it to Rhine's house in Manhattan. I really enjoyed the various twists that Ms. DeStefano used throughout the story. It was definately a memoriable trip for Rhine and Gabriel.
I didn't really love this book, although I can't quite put my finger on why. It wasn't bad, it just didn't grab me the way the first one did. Perhaps its because the characters were in such an in-between state for the entire book...feeling trapped and not knowing where to go next, or what to do. I'm still curious about where the story is going...a few events happen at the very end of the book that peaked my interest again in reading the next in the series, but it's going to have to be good to hold my interest...
Note: This is book two of the The Chemical Garden [dystopia] Trilogy. There are no spoilers for either Wither or Fever in this review.The middle book of a trilogy is a huge challenge, and not all authors meet it successfully. In my opinion, this book was a big snooze. Literally. One of the main characters was always asleep from being drugged, and as soon as that got resolved, the other main character was always asleep from being sick. The non-affected character would spend many pages mopping the brow of the sleeping one. Zzzzzz¿..However. In the last eighth of the book, everybody is awake, and we finally get some action. Just in time for readers to resolve to seek out the third volume after all!Evaluation: For most of the book, one or both of the main characters is asleep. But thankfully there are a couple of new characters who stay awake and who are fairly interesting. I especially loved the little girl Maggie.
This book didn't do much for me. I liked Wither well enough, but this didn't accomplish much. It's middle book syndrome, I guess. 300 pages of walking around from one dreary, depressing situation to another. Just to find out her father in law made her sick. Sometimes, authors, it's okay just to write a two book series...they don't all have to be trilogies.
It's amazing how a good ending to a book can almost (and I say that word with a lot of gusto: ALMOST), make you forget how long it took you to get there! This book took me forever to get through. I thought for sure it would be better than the first one, but I was sorely mistaken.The thing is, the story is there, but it's the way the story moves that has me scratching my head. There is so much extraneous stuff before you get down to what actually needs to happen to make the story move along.And it is so far away from the first book. It does not mesh at all with the scenery, which is understandable since she had escaped, but it just threw the book in such a different direction, I felt a little lost. And it seemed constantly circle like something was going to happen, but it just didn't.Rhine annoyed me a bit. She was not strong at all. MAybe that was the illness/fever? But in my mind it just wasn't. And what is with the dabble in love here and there and nothing really coming of it. And by that I don't mean sex or anything, I just mean a real relationship where you can see the two people growing together. I feel like Rhine is all wrapped up in herself, as she keeps saying in the book. Too much so to even worry about Gabriel. And all this after he chose to follow her.And Linden, I am not sure what to make of him. I get the victim part, definitely. And I realize that he would not immediately believe her that his father is a monster, but I need more. I need to know more of how he thinks.And Vaughn, he's creepy. He's one of the creepiest characters I have met in a dystopian book. He's what made me want to keep reading to the end.I really do like DeStefano's writing all in all. I think she has a natural way of working poetry into her writing (although some of her descriptions I just found didn't make any sense when I actually paused to think about it).Like the first book, this one was slow moving. I felt like there were too many dips that just kept sinking deeper until finally something had to happen or I would have thrown the book against the wall!I am annoyed that it took until page 278 before something interesting really started to happen. Why wait so long?And, I know me, I will read the next book, because the ending left me wanting more; left me wanting to know where Rhine's story goes. Does she convince Linden of his father's insanity and cruelty? Does she get in touch with Gabriel? Does she find Rowan? Does Cecily die? What happens to Deidre? I need to have these questions answered, so I will read the next book in the hopes that it moves more quickly than this one did.I found this book to have a strange cadence to it. Like the words were seeking to find a suitable ending, but weren't quite sure how to get there. I found parts to be quite repetitive, and was sick of hearing Rhine say the same things over and over again; describe the same things over and over again.I am stuck between giving this book a 2.5 and 3, as I was with the first one. So I will give it a 3, as I did the first one, and hope for a better book the third time around!
From the very beginning of this book, once again, Lauren DeStefano had captured my attention. The story immediately picks up where Wither left us hanging. Rhine and Gabriel are wandering the streets, determined to make it back to Manhattan with finding Rhine's twin brother, Rowan in mind. All the while, with Rhine's evil father-in-law not far behind, determined to get Rhine back no matter the cost. The ending of this book defintley keeps you on edge, in anticipation for the next and final book of the Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano.
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie TalesQuick & Dirty: The sequel to Wither brings back everything we love about Rhine as well as the dystopian world DeStefano built with her wonderfully detailed descriptions. It¿s a wonderful book and far more fast paced than the first one!Opening Sentence: We run, with water in our shoes and the smell of ocean clinging to our frozen skin.The Review:Everything there was to love about Wither¿the worldbuilding, the narrative voice, the characters¿is resurrected in Fever and even better. If that¿s possible. Fever picks up almost right where the first book finished, with Rhine and Gabriel jumping ship and ending up somewhere on the coast of South Carolina (the mansion, we¿re told in Wither was in Florida).This book is much more location based instead of character and relationship based, maybe because the main character¿s relationships have already been established. Rhine and Gabriel are trying to make it two Manhattan to find Rowan, but Vaughn is right behind them. There are two phases two the story, when they are at Madame¿s Carnival of Carnal Delights and when they finally make it to the city. The carnival is the debilitated skeleton of what we think of as a carnival, with the Ferris Wheel and Merry-Go-Round the only recognizable features. It¿s used by Madame¿s prostitutes to service their clients, and the girls are color coded by name and tent based on price, beauty, etc. The Madame, needless to say, is crazy. She¿s first generation and watches her girls die with the same blase you¿d see if someone killed their plant.But it¿s at the carnival we see Rhine taking up responsibility the same way she did in Wither. For Gabriel, for the little malformed girl they meet. One of my favorite things about Rhine is that though she grows as a character, she stays consistent. She¿s constantly thinking of her twin Rowan, and we learn more about him as being out in the real world sparks more memories of him. As we read about her memories the reader starts to get more worried for Rowan too as more of his character comes into focus.Rhine is a beautiful narrator. We see a lot of uncommon metaphors that draw you deeper into her character as they ground you in the details of her world. Things are constantly getting caught¿laughter in wind chimes, ghosts in hair¿and it makes not only the voice of the author distinct, but Rhine¿s world far busier and more treacherous than our own.We get to revisit a lot of character¿s we met in Wither, like Jenna, through memories that Rhine has. Rhine ends up spending a lot of time thinking about what¿s going on at the mansion, especially because Vaughn always seems so close behind them. Rhine never removes her wedding ring, which grows to represent the emotional tether she feels to everyone still at the mansion. Cecily, the baby Bowen, Deirdre¿and Linden. DeStefano ties Rhine to these character¿s throughout the book, making it clear that even though she¿s finally escaped the mansion she¿s more tied to it than she thought.Gabriel plays an important role as well, and their relationship evolves both romantically and platonically as they fight to survive. Gabriel was auctioned off at the age of nine and never left the mansion. It¿s interesting to see this broken America the way Rhine does and the reaction Gabriel has to it, which is similar to the readers. He¿s strong, but he¿s perhaps not as strong as Rhine, who didn¿t grow up as isolated as Gabriel did. He never had to worry about Gatherers, or riots, or sleeping in shifts while your sibling held the rifle. But he adapts and evolves and in the end he¿s fighting for more than his life. He¿s fighting for Rhine¿s too.I loved this book. In many way¿s even more than I did Wither. It¿s more grounded in the world, has considerably less description about the clothes the wives were wearing (understand when you¿re on the run you don¿t have much), but the plot moves a lot faster too. Or maybe it just seems that way because they¿re on the move.
HOLY WOW. People say that it's hard to write reviews for books you don't like, but I honestly think it's harder to write them for books you absolutely LOVE! Wither was one of my favourite reads of all time and Fever is just as breathtaking, if not more!Lauren DeStefano has some of the most beautiful prose I've ever read! She hooks you in from the very beginning and traps you in a dark dystopian world unlike any other. And you wouldn't think so, but the GORGEOUS cover actually has a lot to do with the story ¿ with its old carnivals, rusty merry-go-rounds, and dying girls covered in glitter. Rhine is such an amazing voice for this novel! Like a poet at heart, she's strong and hopeful and resilient and caring. We get to spend more time (and fall more in love) with Gabriel too ¿, and some old characters surprise us while some new ones cling to our hearts. I love the dystopian world that DeStefano creates because it's so dark and gritty and scarily realistic, where a disease claims the life of ever man at age 25 and every woman at age 20. With amazing characters, writing, and story, she makes every surprising corner come to life!Beautiful, lyrical, and dark in its enchantment, Fever is one of those books that makes me want to invent a new rating for it! Some may say that The Chemical Garden series isn't for everyone because it's so dark at times, but I would honestly recommend it to everyone! :) BUY or BORROW?: You need to buy this book when it comes out ¿ I'm definitely buying my own finished copy! Lauren DeStefano is undoubtedly an author worth starting a collection for!
MY THOUGHTSABSOLUTELY LOVED ITGabriel and Rhine have escaped the mansion only to find themselves in even greater danger and still within reach of Linden's father, the pair just don't realize how far his reach is. Rhine thinks she has experienced everything that she needs in order to survive but her fight is only just beginning now that she has ended up in an even rougher scenario that involves prostitution and addiction to a heroin like substance. Not that Rhine gets addicted, but Gabriel starts to show signs and she know they must escape the carnival like atmosphere that they have tumbled into where girls have relations with men for coins and drugs. Most of them are already being taken over by the disease that haunts the young adults.Even though Rhine feels she is deeply in love with Gabriel there are times when I doubt her true feelings for him when she puts on her act for the viewers in order to keep the place they have at the strange circus they have fallen into. Vaughn of course manages to track them down and plays on Rhine's good nature and her feelings for the other girls she left behind. When she finally is reunited with Linden she is taken back to the mansion where she finds Cecily who has plenty of information for her.This installment of the Wither series is amazingly fast paced and will have you running while the pair try to make it to Manhattan and discover clues about what is actually happening outside their cloistered existence there. There are some strange twist and turns that will probably shock you a bit but by the end, you will be dying to read the next one which will probably be in another year. Sigh. It is going to be another long wait.
What should I say about Fever?! Was it as super-good as Wither? No. Did I still totally enjoy it? Yes!In Fever, we get to see how the world outside of the life as a sister-wife is. On their way to finding Rowan and escaping from the household, Rhine struggles with whether or not she did the right thing by leaving Linden and a ¿comfortable¿ life to a hard life on the run with Gabriel. We get introduced to a ¿new¿ villain and a different way of living in Fever. The creep factor of Vaughn doesn¿t compare to this new villain, but she still gave me the creeps that¿s for sure. It was interesting to read what goes on in the other areas and what is needed when you aren¿t being taken care of (food, shelter, etc.), like she was as a sister-wife.In this new situation Rhine gets herself into, at first I was afraid I wasn¿t going to be able to read on if certain drug use was continued throughout the book¿or at least the actual description of using it continued. In case you¿re like me and can¿t personally handle hardcore drug use while reading, you¿ll be happy to know it is something in the background during the book that didn¿t bother me after the first initial mention of it. This was something I even had to ask those who¿ve already read it¿I didn¿t want this to make my reading experience suffer.I think many of the fans of Wither struggle with Gabriel and Linden. Who is better for Rhine? Well in Fever, we get to see Rhine and Gabriel¿s relationship¿grow? I¿m not sure I can call it that since they¿re put in hardships that really no relationship can grow in. At least they don¿t have to sneak and hide.I enjoyed reading Fever even though once I¿ve finished reading it I see that not too much has happened. Like with almost every second book in a series, Fever seemed to just be a filler book to get us from Wither to the untitled book three. It¿s at the end that Lauren reveals much information we¿ve been waiting for.Lauren¿s writing style is as wonderful as it was in Wither. If you¿ve enjoyed Wither, you¿ll be happy to here that. I can¿t wait to see what Lauren DeStefano has in store for us in the last installment of the Chemical Garden Trilogy!
The Good Stuff Fabulous character development of Rhine, she has become a far more three dimensional character in this installment of the trilogy DeStefano's writing is beautiful, one could actually say lyrical or poetic Very dark but truly compelling The mood and landscape of the story feel so real you feel like you are part of the story (hence the mention in the not so good stuff section) New characters bring a lot to the story. Especially enjoyed and want more of Lilac, Silas, Maddie and Claire) The story moves along at a good pace, keeps you interested throughout with lots of twist and turns Was actually some humor which was unexpected due to storyline Nice fleshed out background of Rhine's parents and what has happened to their world Even-though this installment is quite dark, I didn't want to put the book down and the ending has me waiting very impatiently for the finale of the trilogy (don't even want to think how long I am going to have to wait) reminiscent of Atwood's Handmaid's Tale - which is a compliment as I think it is a brilliant book Story starts with a bang too got me hooked right awayThe Not So Good Stuff Gabriel was very whiny and I was extremely irritated with him, without putting a spoiler in, it does makes sense in terms of the plot, but I still found him weak It was very bleak and depressing and sort of put me in a down mood while reading (But as mentioned in the book sometimes things have to get worse to get better) I think I am the only one, but I really didn't like the coverFavorite Quotes/Passages"I think of Deirdre's small, capable hands making it for me; they were etched with bright blue veins-her soft skin the only indication of her youth. Those hands could turn bathwater to magic, or thread diamonds into her knitting. Precision was in everything she created. I think of her wide hazel eyes, the soft melody of her voice. I think of how I will never see her again.""My brother says the presidency is a useless tradition that might have once served a purpose but has become nothing but formality - something to give us hope that order will be restored one day.""In my captivity the outside world became twice as bright in my memories, and wonderful, and so deliciously tempting that I wanted him to be a part of it. I wanted him to know what life was beyond Vaughn's mansion. I was so swept up in these things that I forgot how cruel the world can be. How chaotic and dangerous."Who Should/Shouldn't Read If you enjoyed Wither you are going to enjoy Fever I recommend this for more mature YA readers (14+) due to subject matter I think you must read Whither first as you would be quite lost if you started with this installment of the trilogy -- there is enough to be able to make sense of the storyline, but you would be missing so much, I think it would effect your enjoyment Definitely for fans of Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic (Really someone has to explain to me what the difference is between the two terms) 4.25 Dewey'sI received at the Ontario Blog Squad Tweet Up
Fever picks up right where Wither left off. Just as she did with the opening chapter of the first book, Ms. DeStefano begins with a bang. Even though Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, it doesn¿t mean they are safe. Their journey north toward Manhattan is a rocky one, and they¿ll be lucky to make it there alive.What I love most about these books is that the author uses fluid, gorgeous prose to tell a very horrifying and ugly story. I mean who would have thought that reading about young girls (dying young girls no less), captured by a demented old woman and forced into sexual slavery in a circus setting could be so beautifully ugly?I especially liked seeing Rhine questioning her decision to escape the mansion. In the first book she wanted to be anywhere but where she was, and now, once she¿s gone, the horrors that she stumbles upon outside the mansion gates make her life there seem like heaven. In the first book we saw a strong and determined Rhine, willing to do anything to get back to her brother. In this book, Rhine is still determined, but her decision to leave weighs heavily on her, as does her mortality. Was the escape worth it? Will she ever find her brother? Did she make a mistake when she left?These are all questions that hang heavily around Rhine¿s neck, and she carries them with her throughout the book. Any fan of Wither should definitely check this one out, and if you haven¿t read the first book, I do recommend it. This is an interesting and different type of dystopian series that crawls under your skin and holds tight.