January 19, 2013

Review of Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren DeStefano


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.

add to goodreadsFever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren DeStefano
Publication Date:  September 21, 2012
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

Available for Purchase:
amazon | B&N | TBD | indiebound

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Gabby NewFrom what I’ve read in Fever I’ve come to one conclusion: Rhine Ellery has the worst luck in history. In Wither she finds herself kidnapped and sold to a stranger to be one of his many wives, now in Fever Rhine finds herself  at a prostitution carnival (I’m not making it up) and comes up with the fact that everywhere she turns, her deranged father-in-law shows up in an attempt to take her back to her husband. I loved Wither and I’ll admit that while I was reading it I loved Fever. It was everything that Wither was and a little bit more. Instead of seeing the world of a bought wife, we see what the world actually is in the Chemical Garden Trilogy.

Fever takes place right after Rhine and Gabriel finally manage to flee from Linden’s mansion and can live a life together. The first thing on Rhine’s agenda is to find her brother and then start a very limited life with Gabriel. However their first stroke of bad luck is when Rhine and Gabriel stumble upon Madame’s carnival: a place where girls are made into prostitutes for the rest of their short lifespans. It’s there that Rhine learns that the world is darker than she believed it to be and the woman running the place, Madame, plans on making Rhine her best piece of merchandise. Barely managing to escape with their lives, Gabriel and Rhine find themselves travelling with an unexpected companion as they go to find Rhine’s brother. However when they reach Rhine’s home they find something surprising and something that completely crushes Rhine’s sense of hope.

I’m stuck between which novel I liked more in the trilogy so far, while Whither did just have an ominous and creepy feel, Fever completely changed how I saw the series. Instead of it being the story about a girl who is stolen in a world where nobody lives to see their thirties and is forced to marry a stranger or die, it becomes the story of a girl who just ran away from her husband with a boy that she’s really in love with while fighting fate. Everything about Fever was foreboding and I’ll admit that as the novel progressed I was beginning to feel more and more helpless/sorry for Rhine. After meeting with a woman who did a tarot reading for her, I’ll admit that I started to have a ton of predictions as to what would happen in the novel and what actually did happen blew me away.

What I was surprised by was how quick paced the novel was, it actually felt a lot shorter than it is in reality.  I remember that by the time I had finished the novel it felt as though I had already just started it. The fact that DeStefano’s writing style consists mostly of descriptors may have played a big role since I spent a lot of time while reading to imagine the dystopian world that is created even more so in each chapter and  the scenes unfolding before me. Throughout the novel I constantly hoped that Rhine would be able to escape from her father-in-law and manage to have the happily ever after she dreams about.

One thing that I think a lot of readers will notice is the relationship between Rhine and Gabriel. They finally have more romantic interactions and Gabriel begins to show just how much he cares about Rhine, what really hammers the point down is when he threatens to kill a man who attempts to rape Rhine. What puts a major dent in the relationship is the fact that Rhine still has some emotional ties to the husband who bought her and Gabriel is too willing to tear heads off if they threaten Rhine. I’m still cheering for Rhine and Gabriel as opposed to Rhine and Linden.

Nearing the last few chapters, I’m just going to go right out there and say that when Rhine does see her father-in-law again and Linden, it was in a way that had me furious at Rhine for not taking more risks. With the way the novel came to a close, I’m hoping that the final novel in the trilogy finally gives readers a Rhine that will take the risks she needs to take to secure a happy few years left to her life. I’m also hoping that she gets rid of any ties she has to Linden Ashby because as a character, I totally despise him (and I mean that in a good way).

I’d recommend the Chemical Garden trilogy to fans of dystopia, readers who like dystopic romance and those of us who just want to get swept up in awesomely written stories with even better plots.

About the Author:

Lauren DeStefano (pronounced: de STEFF ano) graduated Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT in 2007. Her debut novel, WITHER, the first in The Chemical Garden Trilogy, published by Simon & Schuster BFYR, is out now.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


  1. Interesting – I had not heard of this series before but I will definitely check it out. :) Nice review.

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