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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Lefty's Lowdown: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Fever by Lauren DeStefano
(The Chemical Garden #2)
Published: February 21, 2012 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Source: Purchased
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
*WARNING: This review may contain slight spoilers for Wither*

This may be the unpopular opinion, but I have to say--I liked Fever much more than I liked its predecessor. This book had all the great elements that Wither had (interesting premise, gritty settings, lovely writing), only I found it more exciting. 

My biggest complaint with Wither (if you haven't already, you can read the review I posted for it yesterday) was that I didn't feel like enough happened. Fever certainly doesn't have that problem. The pacing is much better in the second novel, so it was way more exciting. There was way more external action and complications. I had trouble putting the book down because I needed to find out what was going to happen next.

Now let's talk settings. We follow Rhine and Gabriel as they make their way to Manhattan to find Rhine's brother after having escaped the Mansion. However, they run into a slight complication when they get taken against their will into a carnival-like brothel. They're forced to be intimate with each other in front of spectators, and they spend a lot of time in a drug haze, Maybe I'm weird, but I love reading about this kind of thing, especially in YA. DeStefano does an excellent job capturing the creepy, gritty atmosphere without being gross or too explicit as to the happenings of the brothel.  We also get another taste of impoverished Manhattan, and one of the orphanages there. All of these things were just so incredibly intriguing to me and I loved reading about them. 

But here is the thing that bothered me the most--and it bothered me in Wither as well. I didn't feel connected to any of the characters. I like Rhine as a narrator, I've enjoyed seeing her development, I've been hardcore rooting for her...but I can't say I feel a huge connection to her. I kept puzzling over why this could be, but I think I figured it out. I think it was hard to connect to her because she's so focused on herself. That may not seem like it makes sense, but I want to know more about her in regards to the other characters, I don't think we see enough of her feelings in that aspect, which in turn makes it hard to connect with/get to know the other characters as well. The number one thing that pissed me off while I was reading is that Gabriel is supposed to be such an important character, but we don't get to know him AT ALL. It's like he's just a person there for Rhine's benefit--to go on this journey with her, to help her make realizations about herself, to take care of when she's sick. We get almost zero insight into his feelings, and it makes him such a flat character. 

Despite any peeves I had while reading, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Lauren's writing is extremely engrossing! I can't wait to find out how the series ends!


1 comment:

  1. I had to scan this review because I haven't read book one yet and generally avoid spoilers at all costs just in case I do end up picking the series up! But I am glad you could like this one more than the previous one; that always makes me so happy when I read a series! And unpopular opinions are good! :c


Thank you so much for taking the time to read what I have to say and give your opinion on it. It really means a lot to me. And of course, I will do my best to return the favor. However, as easily distracted and scatter-brained as I am, please don't be offended if I forget to comment on your blog.