Publisher: Harper Voyager
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 this 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.
If any of my readers have read my book review on Lauren DeStefano's debut novel Wither, you would know how much I adored it. Not only did I want to marry it (I know that's illegal in most cases and can only exist in my dreams, well, as far as I know) but I also thought it was one of the best stand-out books for 2011 and one I wouldn't forget in a long, long time. With FEVER being the second most anticipated installment of The Chemical Garden trilogy, the sequel had a lot to live up to in expectation-wise and while I firmly believe the book had its nice, rare moments now and then, and also answered a couple of my questions from the previous book, but unfortunately this book was yet another disappointing sequel that was more a filler than a thriller!
FEVER picks up immediately after Wither finished off at, with Gabriel and Rhine narrowingly escaping the mansion. Normally at this point of the book, readers would rejoice for this attempt of freedom and hope for the best for these two main characters, which I wished for in the beginning of this sequel since Gabriel and Rhine deserved some true happiness for once in their short lives. Even briefly. But instead of cherishing those happy moments together, their new freedom collides with something much worse than they first expected - strangers capture the two of them and forcing them into a carnival brothel under the fierce woman known as Madame. Appropriate name, right? Faced with a situation that so terrifying and unable to find an escape, Gabriel and Rhine will need to make a plan as soon as possible before Rhine's father-in-law catches up to them first!
The problem I had with this book and the main reason why I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would, if not at all, was mostly due the abrupt events that occured throughout the book. Again and again. Take for example the Madame's carnival brothel, which was rather a very different direction and setting for a young adult book . . . I must admit. While it offered a similar situation that Rhine had experienced in the previous book, Wither, where Rhine was kidnapped and forced to marry a boy with several other wives and forced to do many things against her will, however I found in this book in particular, adding a brothel was a little bit irrelevant and quite unnecessary. I don't know why it was suddenly introduced but I think it was merely a shock factor to add to the storyline - you know, to drive the book further into the dark side of this crazy new world even though there was no clear purpose for doing so. I might be the only reader here who'd thought about this when it came to FEVER but that's how I felt. Even when I was reading more and more of this book, other events that I found were quite unnecessary just kept coming around the corner. But when it comes down to it I get why the author did what she did, but there was far more shocking plot twists rather than further book progression in the storyline, which, as you can see, didn't appeal to me.
In addition to the dragging and slow-pacing plot of the book, the characters - ones of which I adored and was obsessed with from Wither - had also lost the initial spark that I'd previously felt. In the first book, Wither, it was all about the main character and her relationships with her sisters, and it was even about her estrange relationship with her new husband whom I found also appealing in a strange, weird-ish sort of way. I mean, with every single one of the characters there was this strong pull towards them - this strong connection I felt no matter the evils they'd possessed. But as push came to shove and in mix with rushed events, in FEVER the book just didn't allow me to reconnect with those beloved characters. Rhine, for one, was in this strange daze for the majority of the book and not even my beloved character Gabriel who goes along with her was using his head . . . after all . . . he was drugged out most of the time too. Yes, really he was. He was. Drugged. So with many other 'interesting' characters introduced, I just missed that same old feeling I had with Wither and I really hope there's enough love for this series to go around when it comes to the third and final book in the trilogy. I hope until then it will win me over!
Overall, no matter what I've said above in this review, FEVER wasn't a bad book. Not at all. Certainly there was certain things lacking in the storyline and didn't appeal to me, but the prose of the book was still beautifully written as done in Wither and for sure it might not have been my favourite book in the series, which was a real shame since I had high expectations and all, but . . . the ending finished off with a bang and I'm definitely still looking forward to the third and final book Sever which I'm sure will sway me back to Team Wither once more!