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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Lefty's Lowdown: Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Sever by Lauren DeStefano
(The Chemical Garden #3)
Published: February 12, 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Summary from Goodreads:
Time is running out for Rhine in this conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Chemical Garden Trilogy.

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.
Holy crap. It's so hard to write a review for the last book in a series without repeating everything I've already said about the previous books or discussing spoilers. I know everyone won't agree with this, but I found Sever to be a satisfying conclusion to The Chemical Garden series. 

I'll admit this book wasn't as exciting as the previous one, Fever. It got off to a slow start, but then, all of a sudden, I was hooked. I read 70% of the book in one sitting because I just couldn't put it down. I think Sever is by far the most interesting book in the series. There are so many bombs dropped--literally and figuratively. I accidentally read a few spoilers beforehand, but I was still shocked when certain events took place. Another thing that I really liked about this one was that we were finally offered an explanation into the dystopian world and Vaughn's mind. I'll be honest, the worldbuilding isn't flawless. It's not all that intricate, and there are holes, but I found it sufficient enough. There were no glaring errors that got on my nerves or anything. Then again, worldbuilding is not really my focus when I'm reading. 

This is also the first book in the series in which I felt a real emotional connection. I actually cried a little in this book! In the past two, I had a hard time feeling connected to any of the characters, but something shifted in this book. Gabriel was basically not in the book, and I have to say, I didn't miss him at all (his ending is one of the only ones I'm not particularly fond of). I did, however, really enjoy Linden's presence in the novel. I wasn't exactly sure how to feel about him before this novel, but he really won my heart in Sever. He was going through a lot and he had a hard time processing the reality of the world he lives in. But the way he cared for Cecily and Rhine, even though she wronged him in so many ways, was adorable. I can't say any more on my feelings about Linden without revealing spoilers, but know that I loved him. 

We get to know two new characters in this novel, both of whom I enjoyed. It took two and a half books but finally it happened. We got to meet twin brother Rowan in the flesh. Some people didn't like him, but I did. The way he interacted with Rhine just made my heart happy. Maybe it's because I have always been super close with my brother, but I just adored how much he obviously cared for his sister. Then there is Reed, Vaughn's way less maniacal brother. I loved him a lot too. He is a unique one, that's for sure. Maybe he isn't great with people, I could tell how much he ended up caring about Rhine, Cecily, Bowen, and of course Linden. I wish we got to know him a little better, but I loved the way this story ended for him. 

Everyone grew so much over the course of the series. Cecily...Cecily. She has come so far from the first novel, and I hate the she had to experience so much tragedy and was forced to grow up so quickly, but she is such a dynamic character and never dull to read. Rhine is so much stronger and much more independent. In this final novel, I felt like I finally connected to her. She finally let herself feel something other than sorry for herself.  

I'm so glad I read this series. With beautiful, gorgeous, completely stunning writing, and a seemingly hopeless world, DeStefano has gifted us a dystopian story that stands out from the rest of the pack. I really enjoyed this final installment. I didn't like everything that happened in it, but I think it ended the way it needed to, and it left me with a fluttery feeling as I closed the book. I'll miss these characters and this world. It was a good run, and I can't wait to read anything else DeStefano graces us with. 


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