Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren Destefano

Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren Destefano
Release Date:
February 21, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Source: Library

Summary

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 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.(courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

Most readers have genres they prefer over others. I think it's important to challenge prejudices and misconceptions against certain genres. Find the right book and you may fall in love. I do not like dystopias. I never have. I know I've said this over and over on the blog. That said, I really enjoyed Wither. The concept of women dying at 20 and men dying at 25 from an incurable virus and its societal consequences was fascinating in a horrible way. But most of all, I loved Rhine and her relationship with her sister wives. I eagerly anticipated Fever. But it was not for me. That's not to say that Fever is a bad book. If you like dystopias, I think you will enjoy Fever very much. Unfortunately, it contains all of the things about dystopias that I dislike and lacked the qualities I liked from Wither.

Fever is dark. 2 AM drowning in solid blackness dark. Wither was a very dark book, but Fever took it down another pitch. Every time you think things for Rhine and Gabriel are going to get better, they get worse. That's not my style. There's a reason I hated The Handmaid's Tale and 1984 when everyone else loved it. I don't want to finish a book only to feel like I need to down a pint of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough to cheer up. And that's what this book made me want to do (good thing I didn't have any ice cream in the house). But a lot of people love that kind of thing.

Fever is constant action. Gabriel and Rhine are on the run from evil Governor Vaughn. They get themselves into one mess only to extricate themselves and then get into another mess. You won't get bored with this book, because things change so quickly. I loved the addition of Maddie, a mute little girl who manages to silently save the day numerous times.

Another high point of Fever is the writing. Not necessarily the plotting or characterization, which I have some issues with, but the writing itself. I'm impressed with Lauren. Plot development and good characterization are things that can improve as she develops as a writer, but sheer beauty of words is a more innate talent. Her prose is so descriptive. I could feel, see, smell, and taste the heavy tension and despair throughout the novel. The words were important players in Fever, rather than simple tools to an end, as often is the case with less talented writers.

Onto my plotting and characterization issues. My quibbles about the plot are mostly personal preference. The sister wives and Linden were my favorite parts about Wither. We hardly saw any of these elements in Wither. Instead, it was focused on Gabriel and Rhine, who unfortunately weren't as thrilling to me. I like Rhine. Her inner strength and stubbornness carry her and Gabriel through all their trials. I neither like nor dislike Gabriel. And that is a failing, I think. The romantic lead should be more compelling. He feels like a blank slate. I much preferred Linden in Wither, who may have been a wimp but was more sympathetic. Then there's Governor Vaughn who is cardboard evil. I like my villains with more layers.

Fever has a lot going for it, particularly constant action and strong prose. It follows the stereotypical dark dystopia theme, which is great if you like that kind of thing. Although Fever may not be for me, I still feel invested enough in the story and plot that I look forward to reading (or at least skimming) the next installment.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

26 comments :

  1. I actually have the opposite opinion lol I loved Fever way more than Wither. I liked it having more action, her being away from the mansion, and I thought it wasn't as dark as the first one. I hated Rhine trapped with Linden and I was sick to my stomach the whole time. I hated Linden and was happy he was barely in this one. I liked her being free with Gabriel even though they also faced some horrible things. But I definitely see your points.

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  2. Well, I read Wither and I think I am one of the very few ones that totally didn't like the book, at all!!!! I had problems with the characters and couldn't connect with them at all... Especially Gabriel was so plain, it hurt me to see him having such a fundamental role in the story. With that being said. I won't pick up Fever, this is just one of these series that won't get another chance from me ..

    Ups... that was a really harsh comment..

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  3. I absolutely adored Wither but the sequel was . . . SO disappointing. But I'm still all for reading the sequel considering how this book ended. Nice and honest review!

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  4. Even darker than the first one? Wow. That first one had me sinking into the deep dark...I'm not sure I'm up to it. While I liked Rhine, I wasn't a huge fan of her love interest. Maybe a library one because I would like to see how this series ends (and it's hard when you skip over the middle bit!).

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  5. totally nodding my head with you in this review. This book was slow for me and I agree it was darker but almost put me asleep reading it.I enjoy her writing :)

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  6. Hmmm. I wonder if this one would be too dark for me or perfectly dark, because I'm a huge fan of the dark stories. I'm disappointed the sister wives and Linden aren't a bigger part of this one because that was my favorite part of Wither as well, but I'm still going to give this one a try because I want to know what happens:) Maybe we'll get to know Gabriel better in Sever!

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  7. Well, between your review, the comments, and other things I've heard about this book, it's definitely polarizing. Perhaps the author is doing her job then, huh?

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  8. Yeah, I'm not a big fan of Gabriel either-he's such a nonentity. However I didn't find it to be that dark and I normally prefer lighter stories as well. I guess because I figure things will turn out alright in book 3.

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  9. I agree with you. The parts I liked about Wither were the whole sister wives and the house. This book was not my cup of tea, but the parts of it that are dystopian, are what I usually like about dystopia. So it just didn't carry the story on for me, but I'm still eagerly awaiting the 3rd, Sever!! Check out my review of Fever here:
    http://misclisa.blogspot.com/2012/03/fever-by-lauren-destefano.html

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  10. I really enjoyed Wither too. I loved Rhine's determination and the complex feelings between her, the sister wives, Gabriel and Linden. It was interesting to see how my opinion of Linden changed throughout the book.

    I'm sad to hear that Fever is darker. I'm not a huge fan of dark books so I'm not sure how I'll feel about this novel.

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  11. Unlike you, I didn't really enjoy Wither. I pretty much guessed how the series would conclude and based on some of the spoilers I've seen, I'm right, so I have no interest in reading Fever. And you review only cements that for me. I totally agree with you on what a male love interest should be and Gabriel isn't it, or IMO, Linden. And Governor Vaughn...evil for wanting to find a cure to save people from this genetic malfunction. Geez. If that is evil then I'd hate to imagine what good is. None of it worked for me.

    P.S. Stock up on your ice cream. :)

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  12. I agree. For some reason while I enjoyed Wither, Fever I just couldn't. For me the way it started and the way it ended really nagged at me. I'm still interested in the next book. Nice review.

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  13. I actually really liked Wither like you, but the fact that it's really dark and gloomy really gets on my nerves a little because I really hate dark books and I haven't read them that many times. I'm sorry you didn't really like Fever! :(

    Eileen @ ***Singing and Reading in the Rain*** | Follower Appreciation Giveaway

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  14. I just want to say that I am also in the minority who disliked WITHER and after reading this review I will not spending any money on FEVER. Maybe go to the library and skim it, but I may not be motivated to do even that. All the character's in the book bothered me too much.

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  15. I haven't read Wither yet, but I am a fan of dystopian novels. It's sitting on my shelf so I do need to actually get to it. I have heard some pretty mixed things about it...so we shall see. Sad to know that this one was disappointing.

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  16. This was such a well-written and so-thought-out review! Even though I'm still anticipating reading Fever, I really loved this review <3 I'm super happy to finally hear someone talk about the writer's writing itself. yes, Ms. DeStefano really does have that sort of effect with her prose! It seems intimidating how much darker this one is..but oh gosh, I wanna read it even more now XD

    anyway, fabulous review!!!

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

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  17. I love dystopians usually but this series is probably my least favorite. I really didn't love either of them. I do think they had potential to be great but missed the mark for me. I don't hate them, and much I do like, but only like. I think I may have given this 2.5 stars as well.

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  18. Wither was really weak for me, I didn't like it at all. It was plenty dark enough for me (I loved The Handmaid's Tale), but overall there was so much that I would have changed. It's nice to hear that I might like Fever a bit more, but I guess I won't know until I pick it up. Thanks for the quality review!

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  19. I really liked Wither, and while I was disappointed with Fever I still enjoyed it. I think my biggest complaint is similar to yours, I missed reading about Linden and the sister wives. But by the way the book ended I'm hoping they are a bigger part of the third book.

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  20. I've had this book since it was released but I was nervous to read it, had a feeling I wouldnt really like it. Might put it off until the next book comes out...

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  21. Sorry you didn't like as much as Wither, though I must admit I loved the 1st a lot more too.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  22. Still need to read Wither! New follower, 2402

    Would love you to stop by my blog, Ensconced in YA
    http://cahreviews.blogspot.com

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  23. That's a shame, especially after you liked Wither so much :( I hear you though, I don't like sad, dreary books either. Every time I see the premise of this series, all I can think is that I'd already be dead in that world.

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  24. Fever definitely wasn't my favourite book in the series -- I have high hopes for Sever, that's for sure!

    I like dystopian books, but not all the time -- they can be very depressing! Though I did really love 1984 and The Handmaid's Tale. :) I just make sure I have a HAPPY book to read once I finish.

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  25. I felt the same way - I loved Wither and was less than impressed with Fever. I think it was because I missed the mansion and sister wives too. Gabriel holds no interest for me. But I do agree that Lauren has a talent for writing, if only she could improve upon characterization.

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  26. I skimmed your review and I have to say that I've heard that the issues you had with this book is what many others felt too. I just don't feel to compelled to read this one. I think I'll wait for the third book to be out to read this one. I, too, thought Linden and the sisterwives were really interesting in Wither. Too bad they don't show up in bk 2 at all.

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