Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Spoilers for Wither. 

I need to take a step back from Lauren DeStefano's Fever.  I've just finished and I thought it was amazing.  It left me on much more of a cliffhanger than Wither did, but I'm sure that's intentional, being the second book in the Chemical Garden Trilogy. I've come to see the Chemical Garden as Rhine's body.  So much stuff has gone in and out of her.  I also wonder if through all of this, from her parents to mad-scientist Vaughn, she isn't the Garden that is growing the cure.  This is all speculation, of course.

Really, I just couldn't put it down.  From the moment Rhine and Gabriel are out of the water, it is one scary situation after another.  They are constantly looking for safety, for escape routes, for a way home to Rhine's brother, Rowan.  Madame's carnival is horrific.  It just misses a worst nightmare, but not by much.  Having them end up there is one of the most horrible things in the story.  Fever is actually rather violent.  Someone is always hurt, or sick or somethingFever is an apt title.

I feel sorry for Gabriel.  I don't think he really knew what he was getting into when he escaped with Rhine.  She paints an idyllic picture of what her life was like before being brought to the mansion.  He didn’t know she was fallible, that she was remembering with love.  I don't think he would necessarily have changed his mind, but I think he wishes he knew more about the outside world before he was thrust into it.  Also, I think he's unsure of Rhine's feelings for him, which is so sad, given what they've been through together.

I like the characters’ growth in the novel. I think Rhine grows as a person; she's lost whatever rose colour she had to her glasses about her home.  Though, I think the bigger change was in Gabriel.  He learns what the real world is like.  He grew up as a servant, but as a servant used to the safety of the mansion.  Gabriel doesn’t understand why demonstrators would bomb trees.

Linden also learns some of the most important lessons of his life, things he should have known years ago.  I hope in the next book he doesn't just blame Rhine and "the Attendant" for leaving him, but sees that even if Gabriel didn't go with her, Rhine would have run back to her brother anyway.  Linden has the potential to become so much more.  I’d like to see him be more than the dutiful son and to use his newly acquired knowledge for good.

The Gathering of young women/girls in this book is awful and a problem that plagues our world.  The kind of buying, selling and kidnapping DeStefano describes is eerily possible.  That is part of what I think makes a good dystopian novel.  It’s using the problems of now and amplifying them.  I don’t think DeStefano holds back.  There’s death, violence and tragedy throughout Fever.  You can really see what people could be capable of if there were no hope left in the world.  Her writing and subject matter make me forget that her book is Young Adult.

I could talk about all the amazing characters that Lauren DeStefano created, how she makes the decaying world believable, but it’s better if you read the book.  If you like a good dystopian, good writing and interesting, characters, read Wither and then read Fever.  I think it is an excellent continuation of the series and I can’t wait to read the conclusion.

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