Saturday, March 10, 2012

Book Review: Fever

Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Series: The Chemical Garden #2
Release Date: February 16, 2012
Pages: 341
Read it in: Longer than you want to know, but it had nothing to do with actual book...
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Summary: 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.

LC's Take:

So I have to start by just saying that Lauren DeStefano seriously puts me into a trance with her writing, it's that flipping good. Her world-building and descriptive abilities are incredible, and she was easily able to carry me back into Rhine's world in this second book-- one that is both beautiful and disturbing at the same time.

Fever begins after Rhine has managed to escape from the mansion where she was being held captive as a "sister-wife," forced to marry and ideally produce children to make up for the deadly virus that has overtaken the population. Rhine and Gabriel are now on the run, to escape from Linden's sadistic father, Housemaster Vaughn, and find Rhine's twin back in Manhattan.

Rhine has matured in this book, and continues to grow and become stronger and more resilient throughout her journey back home. I really liked that she wasn't afraid to fight for her life and protect those she loves. Fever also helped me to come to better terms with Rhine's decision to leave the mansion in the first place-- I remember thinking while reading Wither, why the heck is she so upset with being chosen to be a sister wife? You know, besides the whole being-kidnapped-to-become-a baby-machine-thing, the gig wasn't so bad compared to how crap-tastic her life in Manhattan was before. I think that you really see in this book how Rhine starts questioning whether or not life in the mansion was so bad after all, and what price she has to pay to have any sort of "freedom" in the real world-- which in this case, is pretty dark and nightmarish, too.

Then we have Gabriel... OK, so it's not that I don't like him, I mean he's a nice guy, he's always there for Rhine, and he does what is right, but at the same time I find him to be sort of generic. Well, actually scratch that-- I find him to be dull as a doornail. It's almost like, OK, we have to have a male love interest in this book, so we'll throw in Gabriel and make him the perfect guy but not spend too much time giving him an actual personality or anything that would help me to connect and relate to him as a human being. And not JUST a human being, but one who has just been torn from the only world he's ever known to run away with a girl who has no clue what she's doing or what her ultimate goal is. Yes, he gets sort of pissy at some points in the book, but seriously dude, punch a wall or something! Gabriel just seems like more of a (boring) ideal than an actual person.

As for the other characters, Housemaster Vaughn proved himself once again to be one of the evilest evil villains ever, and his sadistic experiments and torturous procedures were pretty hideous. And yet, the guy does have a motive, which I have to give him credit for. It's refreshing because I feel like in so many YA books it's difficult to figure out what everyone's motive is and why they're doing what they do, but all of this is laid out pretty well. His son Linden is a ghost we hardly ever see, even more washed out and unmemorable than he was in the first book, and Cecily returns with all her sweet, sexy charm to try and help Rhine. And can I just say, I loved Maddie-- seriously she was probably my fave character of the whole book, because without speaking a word, she had so much personality and quirkiness and this creepy-cuteness, that I just couldn't help but love her.

I also really loved the parts having to do with Madame's carnival and I could literally picture every scene-- the prostitutes in the tents, the rusty Ferris wheel, the feeling of desperation underlying this supposedly magical place-- just the whole atmosphere of rot and decay underlying an illusion of youth and beauty, it really stuck with me. That, and the world-building took my breath away.

I guess my one major problem with Fever was that it suffered a little from S.B.S.-- also known as Second Book Syndrome. S.B.S. is characterized by little to no action in the plot line, scenes that drag on and on and seem to have very little point to the overall story, and few if any ground-breaking revelations or "aha!" moments that would otherwise break up the monotony of description and inner-dialogue. There were parts of this book that just seemed to drag on for pages and pages at a time, leaving me wondering when on earth the plot was going to finally pick up again, and when they were going to stop wandering aimlessly around. (It wasn't as bad as Crossed, AKA Matched #2, but it got close a few times.) The first part of the book was absolutely brilliant, no doubt-- I just wish that it could have kept with the fast-paced action and suspense that it started out with!

Altogether, Fever was a good installation in The Chemical Garden series, and Lauren DeStefano is such an incredible writer. Admittedly, I didn't find this second book to be as jaw-droppingly incredible as the first one, but it was still enjoyable. I guess the problem with amazing debut novels is that any book coming after has a lot to live up to. Fever was a good read, but I was so excited and expectant when I got my hands on it finally, that I was ultimately a little let down with the overall story. How do you think it compares to the first? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

~Cover Talk~

When I first saw this cover on Goodreads and other people's blogs I wasn't initially a fan, I guess because I thought the girl looked stoned or something, but once I got an actual copy in my hands, it took my breath away. And did I mention that UNDER the book jacket the actual bound book is hot pink?! Oh yeah, that gives it two thumbs up in my book any day. Not to mention that the overall design of this series so far is absolutely stunning-- the credits, title page, even the publication info on the inside has this amazing detail throughout that is just gorgeous and totally unique. If I were ever to have a book published, in my dreams it would look like this!

LC's Rating:
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More beautiful writing and world-building, although somewhat slow about half-way through. Fever is another example of Lauren DeStefano's amazing ability to write, but the plot itself suffered a bit from Second Book Syndrome.
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21 comments:

  1. I must say, few things will ever be as bad as Crossed. >.>

    Also, I have always had a soft spot for loving the guys the MCs are clearly set up to be with, but...Gabriel makes me be "Team Linden" just because there is more of a character there.

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    1. Oh agreed, no way was Fever as monotonous as Crossed! :P

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  2. I really really liked this one!! So sorry you thought it suffered second book syndrome. Those are definitely the worst. I liked how it was placed in the outside world, and we got to learn more about the characters and what was going on and stuff. I'm definitely excited for the next one!!

    Anna @ Literary Exploration

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    1. I guess it only suffered from it a **little**, it wasn't horrible. And yes, I agree that it was awesome to see what the "real world" was like in this book after spending so much of the first book at the mansion! :)

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  3. Oh my goodness Fever BROKE me. Where I loved Wither, I loved Fever exponentially more because I just FELT every emotion more. BUT...I read Wither and then the second I finished - literally the second I finished - I put Wither down and picked Fever up. So I went straight through the two books. I felt really connected to Rhine and Gabriel and GAH Lauren DeStefano kills me with her gorgeous writing. It's amazing how she writes such a horrific and cruel world so beautifully, isn't it? And I think that Vaughn is the worst thing in the history of the worst things. Which makes him one of the best villains I've ever read. He literally makes my skin crawl.

    Honestly, I bit my nails, I talked out loud to the characters, and I paced the floor while I read this one. And when it was over I felt this hollowness that comes from being fully immersed in a story (that, for me, spanned two book-lengths). I CANNOT WAIT to see what comes next. But I'm scared to death!

    Great write-up! I love reading everyone's different takes on a book that I loved so much. It's always so interesting to see what each person loved the most!

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    1. Hmm... this makes me think that I would have enjoyed Fever SO much more if I had read it right after finishing Wither-- the trouble with waiting for second and third books in series to come out is that, by the time they do, it could be like 6-7months AFTER you finished the last one. I read Wither ages ago it seems, so when I picked up Fever I only remembered bits and pieces.

      This makes me think I should maybe start waiting to read a series until all the books are out so I can read them one after the other-- then I can become more invested in the characters and their stories.

      I'm SO glad you loved this book! Maybe someday I'll go back and read them all again but together, so I can appreciate all the details of the story more :)

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  4. Ohhhh, I NEED TO READ WITHER! I can't wait to read this series! They sound brilliant!
    ALSO!!! Just wanted to let you know, I LOVE your new blog design! It looks amazing! (It is new right? I swear it's changed!)
    <3

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    1. Yes it's new! Right now it seems to change everyday because I'm trying to get the design and colors JUST RIGHT lol :D

      I am starting a web design business so I figured I would start by first pimping my blog out haha :)

      So happy you love it! ;)

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  5. Great review Lea I feel the same way about Gabriel he's ok but he's not that interesting. I did enjoy this one, more than Wither even. I also thought the world building was great which is what I thought was lacking in Wither. Glad you enjoyed it! :)

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    1. I am SO happy Lauren let us see the outside world in this book, dismal as it was. I think that she is a lot more ambitious than some other authors who write dystopians, because she really takes the time to flesh out everything-- society, government, the economy-- that's not easy to do I bet! So I totally appreciate her taking it to the next level and creating a vivid, realistic dystopian setting. LOVE IT :)

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  6. I haven't read this series..but your review has me intrigued..adding the first one to my list

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  7. I HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!!!!

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  8. New follower courtesy of Blogoholics. Come by my blog when you get a chance.
    www.walkingonbookshelves.blogspot.com

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  9. I just read Wither and felt that was a little bit slow too. Glad you liked this one! I'm more excited to read Fever now! I love Lauren Destefano writing style.

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  10. Thanks for the great review. I haven't read this series yet, but I've read so many good reviews and some of my friends are urging me to read them, so I guess I should just go and read them right?

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  11. this book seem interesting, i going to check this at the bookstore.

    REYAH'S PAGE

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  12. i read wither (chemical garden #1) and i really love it! I can't wait to read fever :)

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  13. Ohhh! I really want to read it and have it on my shelf!! The hot pink book bound!! Oh god!

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  14. I LOVED Fever!

    I loved how we got a look at the outside world, and I loved how Rhine had to deal with her brother not being there, pulling Gabriel through. And I thought Gabriel was so sweet:)

    Maddie was awesome!

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  15. Definitely agree on the SBS. Also, on Gabriel being boring as all get out in this book.

    However, I really didn't think Rhine was strong at all. I hope Lauren DeStefano rocks the next installment.

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  16. I wish I could've seen under the cover.. but mine was a library book so I didn't see the pink! Thanks for mentioning it or I would've never known!!

    Angie

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