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Fever (Chemical Garden Trilogy)

Fever - Lauren DeStefano SO YEAH THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE ENDING OF WITHER IN THIS POST.YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.Because it’s kind of hard to even tell you any type of premise of this sequel without spoiling Wither.I just finished this book and let me tell you, I still can’t find the perfect word to describe it. Twisted? Insane? Disturbing? Unnerving probably comes the closest but I’ve gotta say DeStefano pulls out all the punches for her sequel to Wither. Fever is just… ah! See? I can’t even finish that sentence!Having escaped with Gabriel, Rhine is now on the run and it seems that before she took two steps away from evil Housemaster Vaughn, she walks right into the arms of another batshit crazy person whose intentions are disturbing. She just can’t catch a break (I’m dead serious about this, by the end of the novel, you do NOT want to be Rhine). And the story rolls on from there because she’s caught up yet again in the clutches of people who treat her like a prized object as opposed to a human.The world created by DeStefano really shines in this sequel, it’s bleak and dangerous and there’s stigma associated with pretty much everything. And then there’s the inequality between the rich and the poor and brutal truths about society are revealed as Rhine searches for her brother. I found descriptions to be wonderfully imagined and it was easy to slip into this tragic future, especially as we find out more about how society operates and things like the pro-naturalist views.The characters are put through one heck of a series of unfortunate events, but I distinctly remember thinking about how I wished there was more character growth, especially with Gabriel. More than once, I felt he was a prop and just acting robotically, just being ‘there’ and we never really find out much about him and what makes him tick. Because of this, I never really felt the chemistry between the two, despite the fact that I would prefer Gabriel to Linden any day. The plot was unexpected for sure. I don’t know what I was thinking was going to happen, but what I got was so far from what I imagined a sequel must be. The pacing might have been shaky because I thought time passed in odd ways, for example, before you knew it, the next page claims that a month or two has passed, while in other sections action scenes are spread out over an entire chapter. I liked the very unpredictable plot turns, it was definitely attention grabbing and kept me wanting to know what would happen next.And lastly, I seriously want to applaud the writing; DeStefano has serious talent. I thought she captured the protagonist’s voice extremely well and it helps carry the story with poise and flow, even through numerous nightmarish bits. 8.3/10 – because it was definitely enjoyable and I was definitely engrossed. This is a sequel that might take people by surprise but it’s done in a wickedly good fashion. You do NOT want to be Rhine by the end of the book, and DeStefano really knows how to put her characters through hell. I thought the writing was superb as it created vivid atmospheres and tense moods it really created a creepily fantastic reading experience—I’m one of those who will be waiting to see how this pretty unsettling trilogy will end.