You know, I think after talking to a couple of people about it, reading a couple of reviews, I can see better why someone would like these books I am not a girl who cares for The Wings of the Dove, so I cannot understand this particular preference, but I can observe that people have it I guess that there is something about vague wordiness that is attractive to some readers, and, you know, I can see how that is a thing Maybe it is like black licorice Like, it is objectively disgusting, but some people like it I kid I kid mostly Anyway, I would not say that I have a particular problem with Ms DeStefano s vague wordiness, actually, but it is my impression that, for some, this characteristic redeems the absence of character development, plot, and understandable world building in her books So, there s that I will tell you what I do have a problem with, though, but I feel like I need to move to a new paragraph at this point, so you are going to have to be content with no snappy thesis sentence in this review It s the DeStefano way Ahh, yes Much comfortable Soo, anywhoo In one of my Intro to Lit classes in college, I had this lovely professor who advised us that whenever we read anything, we should ask ourselves who wrote it and what his or her agenda is This is how I read books, and because I value direct communication, I probably base a lot of my opinion about a book on how clearly I can understand who wrote it and what the agenda is I am not using agenda as an insult I think we all have agendas Maybe message is a better word, but in books, I think they would mean the same thing How does the book present the world What does it normalize What does it question Sometimes this is a complex issue than others for example, in the Uglies series, while Scott Westerfeld seems to try to say superficiality and self mutilation are bad, I think he really does to normalize them Lauren DeStefano s Chemical Garden series is another difficult one on that front First, I guess I ll talk about figuring out who the author is, and then I ll get to talking about the book and its messages in a minute Ms DeStefano is a twenty seven year old woman whom many have mistaken for a teenager Maybe, in some ways, that is not a bad thing from a marketing perspective because it makes her relatable to her audience Otherwise, infantilization bothers me, and it bothers me when women play into it because I think it is usually manipulative, but I guess I don t feel too strongly about it compared to the other things that make my head explode about this series What I actually want to talk about are Ms DeStefano s choices in dealing with her position as an author in the midst of reviewers, so you ll have to forgive me for the digression or report me to the authorities if you wish I guess I ll put that digression at the end, so you can choose to read it or not It s kind of loooong, and probably nobody cares at this point anyway My main thought is that when authors, and Ms DeStefano is certainly not alone in this, publicly react to reviews from an instinctive emotional place and make reviews about their feelings or even when they privately contact reviewers in this way , it really comes off as a show of strength to reviewers, even if the author intends to be benevolent So, anyway, about this book It makes The Lord of the Rings look like a fast paced, action packed, breathtaking ride at blinding speed through a roller coaster of plot Meaning, nothing happens in this book the entire time Gabriel is still a cardboard cutout of UR boifriend with blu Is Rhine swoons I don t even know how many times The damn candies view spoiler are the key to the disease, just as you expected hide spoiler Fever is Book 2 of the Chemical Garden TrilogyRhine and Gabriel have succeeded in escaping the mansion, and they are determined to find Rhine s brother, Rowan However, it s a very short time before they are in danger again as they fall into the grips of an evil brothel owner I really liked some of the secondary characters introduced in Fever I had a very soft spot for young Maddie We learn a lot about her and her story really tugged at my heart strings Lilac, Silas, Jared and Claire were also great characters that I wanted to know about They met up with all sorts of people Lots of bizarre characters at the carnival brothel, some very strange restaurant owners, as well as a psychic But again some of the characters stories just seemed to end abruptly and I was left wondering what became of them I read though this rather quickly I will admith though, that I was skimming the pages a little I was anxious to know what was going to happen It seemed like there was a lot of detail about events that didn t seem all that important and yet a lot of important questions went unanswered I really wanted to learn about the real world outside the mansion but it just felt like not very much happened in this book I found the relationship between Rhine and Gabriel odd They almost seemed like brother and sister at times I found myself wondering half the time if Gabriel even wanted to be there Don t get me wrong there are some tender moments but it just felt strange to me I m glad I didn t stop reading though as it does start to get pretty interesting towards the end of the book I was happy to see some of the characters I was wondering about and I really wanted to know what was going to happen next.Left with a huge cliff hanger at the end of the book which makes me want to know what happens even Hopefully a lot of questions will be answered in the final book, SEVER I am still very invested in many of the characters and I must know what happens to them and the world they live in. 4.5 starsThis is the first book I ve read this year that grabbed me And I mean it grabbed me In fact, it s the first book that s going right on my 2012 favs shelf You know I m picky and you know my bar is pretty high, but I LOVED this book Lauren DeStefano stole my heart with her lyrical prose in Wither, but she took my breath away with Fever But before I start gushing uncontrollably about how much I loved this book, I feel I need to talk about this cover for a minute I m gonna be honest here and say that when I first saw this cover, I didn t exactly like it In fact, my exact words were,It looks awful And why does her hair look like that She looked so much better on the first cover She looks like she is strung out on drugs Total fail on this one SmhSigh I really should stop judging a book by its cover because unlike some books where the cover is completely misleading cough The Shadow Reader cough , Fever s is very accurate Every detail you see on that cover has something to do with the plot from the drugged facial expression and body position, to the tarot cards, right down to the color of the dress Yes, yes Someone read this book before the photo shoot or at least given notes and it SHOWS Good job Please, someone give that person a Klondike bar So, while I do still love Wither s cover better, I take back the negatives I said last July Now that that s off my cheast, time for the review Let gushing commence Fever picks up exactly where Wither left off Gabriel and Rhine have escaped the mansion and Housemaster Vaughn and are attempting to make their way to New York city or what s left of it to find Rhine s twin brother, Rowen Obviously, that s sounds easy that what it is because they live in a world where their youth coupled with the virus makes them a target for prostitution, weird scientific experiments, and forced servitude If you think it couldn t get any disturbing than Cecily s pregnancy in Wither, you were wrong Right from the beginning Rhine and Gabriel stumble across one of these horrors at a sick and twisted carnival where the only fun to be had is dependent upon how much the John is willing to pay for However, they quickly learn escaping that deadly playground is not their only problem because Vaughn is after Rhine and he will stop at nothing to get her back.I m not giving away any spoilers So, if you clicked this review hoping for some details about what s going to happen next, guess what Does Rhine find Rowen Does Vaughn catch up to Rhine What happened to Cecily Why is it called Fever All of those questions I can t answer You ll just have to read the book But I will tell you what I LOVED about this book.The plot This is one of those books where you really can t predict what s going to happen next That s mostly due to the fact that we didn t have a good idea of what the outside world was like in Wither Well, in Fever you get a full blown dose of Rhine s reality It is not pretty and it s grim Rhine and Gabriel seem to go from one horrible thing to the next I can t even decide which of them is worse Scientific experiment or a drugged out prostitute Which would you pick I mean, jumping off a cliff would start to seem like the optimal choice But somehow due to Rhine s determination and strength, they escape Their journey to New York is not an easy one and it had me flipping through the pages needing to know what happened next There is one part in the book that slows on you and at first I was wondering when it would pick back up, but when it did it just made me appreciate the down time The plot twist hits you like a freight train The characters old and new While staying at the Carnival of Horrors, or as I like call it Cirque de Prostitute , we meet one of the best new characters in the series, Maddie She is a brilliant child who is slightly malformed and a mute Her characterization was genius and while it may seem like you should feel sorry for her handicaps, she doesn t need your pity It s easy to say she was one of the reasons why I fell in love with this book Maddie s mother, Lilac, a nineteen year old prostitute, also was a winner and her story breaks my heart Rhine is just as strong as ever She s goes throughout most of the novel worried if she made the right decision to leave the mansion behind She s a bit unsure of herself But unlike other indecisive heroines, Rhine s indecision is understandable At the mansion she had food, water, and the option to live the remainder of her years relatively comfortably She gave that all away to be free, but she learns that freedom only goes but so far in her world and she feels terrible for dragging Gabriel into it Rhine is a very relatable character Determined, caring, rebellious, and stubborn I loved her in Wither and I loved her even in Fever.Gabriel is one of those characters that, while I like him, I m not sure how connected I felt to him For the most part he relies on Rhine to navigate their cruel world and you can tell he really cares for her However, I don t know how much I cared for him Don t get me wrong I don t want him to die or anything, but I think that is mostly for Rhine s sake not because I would miss him I did appreciate his fierceness to protect Rhine in a world where it s impossible to make such promises The prose Beautiful Once again DeStefano mesmerized me with her prose I feel like I want to paste my favorite quotes in this review, but there are so many Not only that, but I don t know if they would sound as good as they do when you read the book Rhine s narration just flows together in this book like one huge poem And I worry that if quote it, it won t do the passage justice But I m going to try anywayI should not have loved my daughter as I did Not in this world in which nothing lives for long You children are flies You are roses You multiply and die Everything that happened before feels like a million years ago now This is the freedom I craved throughout my marriage To share a bed not because of a wedding ring or a one sided promise that was made for me, but because of desire Inexplicable yet undeniable I have never craved closeness like this for anyone else. And my personal favorite out of the entire novel He kissed back, all the pages spread out around us like riddles waiting to be solved Let them wait Let my genes unravel, my hinges come loose If my fate rests in the hands of a madman, let death come and bring its worse I ll take the ruined craters of laboratories, the dead trees, this city with ashes in the oxygen, if it means freedom I d sooner die here than live a hundred years with wires in my veins. Gah I could live off of bread, water and pretty prose for the rest of my days I just love it The ending Whew WOW Jeez, man That last third OMG, horribly perfect It s one of those endings where all the shit is hitting the fan and everything s going straight to hell first class faster than you can say in a hand basket and you re wondering how this book is supposed to end, that Rhine can t possibly escape this one It blew me away and left me hanging THAT DARN CLIFFHANGER Why, Lauren Why did you do that to me Between you and Cynthia Hand how am I supposed to survive until 2013 Curses, curses, curses Recommendation If you loved Wither or even just liked it, you will most likely enjoy Fever If you didn t like Wither at all, you may like Fever a little better shrugs Up to you folks Disclaimer I received an ARC from the author Are these my honest opinions PfftI can t believe you would even doubt me.More reviews and at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog. 2012 Seriously I can t wait that long I want to get my hands on that book NOW This is total agony cries Not good at all Oh, wait No one likes it when I leave a single sentence review Breathless fangirls and guys are even now lurking in the darkness of the internet, waiting to leap out with their all caps denunciations HOW CAN U SAY THAT WITH NO REASON U JUST DONT GET IT ITS TO DEEP FOR YOU I m sorry I m sure some of them can spell I m a little bitter from my last bad Goodreads experience, with other fan fave Name of the Wind But there s no need to be rude, and I m sorry for casting aspersions upon DeStefano s fan base I guess there s something that reminds me of Name about this book The same overwrought faux Victorian prose, loaded with improbably purple dialogue and shoddy character descriptions Here s something that has bugged me for 100 pages the main character at one point claims to mutter something unintelligibly to herself Can you do that I mean, even if you mutter very softly and don t enunciate, I m pretty sure you still know what you re saying With all of the other problems with the book, I am not sure why that one stuck in my teeth, but there you go If you, like me, love books about bleak pitiless futures and strange diseases, just give this book a miss, no matter how alluring it may seem You could have just stopped at my first sentence Fever is really not good DeStefano has captured the tone of a melodramatic teenager who mistakenly believes she s Very Deep, but since the entire book sounds the same, I m not sure it s a stylistic choice as much as it s simply crappy prose She very nicely thanks her editor for helping her with her erratic writing, but clearly help was needed I d feel worse about panning this but I m sick of YA books with a rape and or victim fetish And though as a feminist I should say that s what I m MOST sick of, I m even sick of wading through heavily promoted, big budget, poorly written books Now, you kids get off my lawn The end. About a year ago, I reviewed Fever, and it was pointed out to me how positive the review was compared to my rating you can still see on my blog, but which I m not going to link to, because, though I meant it at the time, this is one book where hindsight has really changed my opinion Since I don t believe in major edits to my blog reviews, I m going to change this one, because I really don t care.What I Liked The writing, sort of Lauren DeStefano has a very interesting, unique style that, while not precisely my thing, I can appreciate the merits of Her writing will specifically appeal to those who appreciate a poetic sort of style.Rhine and Gabriel s relationship is very awkward They have no sort of chemistry and it becomes apparent when they run away together If you shipped them, this will be a negative for you, but I thought it made a nice change from the typical instalove sort of scenario Sometimes intense attractions are born solely from the stressful situation in which the character has found herself, like being sold to some guy she doesn t know as a baby machine.That s pretty much it, but the book is also very readable, which is what led me to rate this book too highly initially In adjusting to my own rating system, it took me some time to fully appreciate that just because I read a book quickly, that doesn t necessarily mean that I liked it.What Annoyed Me Fever suffers from some serious second book syndrome Though the book moves along at a good pace and it s not a slow read, the plot doesn t really go anywhere At the end of the book Rhine s back where she started It s basically the difference between running outdoors and running on a treadmill There s just as much movement, but, in the latter instance, you re not going anywhere.Of course, I love plenty of books that have plots that do not go anywhere and that don t even have action, plots that sit in a cafe and watch the sunset, never moving at all However, those books generally involve a lot of navel gazing and growth within the main character Rhine does not accomplish anything significant in her journey, nor does she mature emotionally What she does do is spend most of the book drugged out of her mind and helpless.What I Hated This series makes no goddamn sense as written Lauren DeStefano has established a post apocalyptic dystopian horror of a future, wherein women are dying at 25 and men at 20 because of some craziness with genetic engineering I can accept this Women are being sold to rich men and raped and basically treated like chattel in an effort to keep the patriarchy and humankind going I can accept this too Fine This is your world and I will roll with it However, if you re going to write a world like this, you have to be willing to follow through with the consequences and do shitty things to your female heroine, or have reasonable explanations for why she makes it through unharmed.In Wither, Rhine is married off to Landen to have his babies He wants her to fall for him, so he doesn t force her to have sex with him, much to his father s disappointment A bit of a stretch, but I m willing to believe this, since Landen s a bit wimpy, he s dealing with grief over his real wife s death, and he has two other women to bone anyway While he s trying to wear her down, she s making out with the cute servant, Gabriel At the end of the book, they run off together, hoping to escape somewhere better.Unsurprisingly, they don t They immediately wash up at a whore house, where they are forced to work This is where I learned that Lauren DeStefano is the kind of author who writes on horror movie rules heroines are pure and girls who have sex die See the spoiler for details view spoiler At this whore house, rather than Rhine having her virginity auctioned off to the highest bidder by the Madam, which would most certainly happen in any believable scenario, or escaping, the only realist method of not having your virginity sold off, the unthinkable happens The Madam decides to use Rhine to cater to voyeurs Rhine doesn t have to touch or be touched by anyone but Gabriel Are you calling bullshit yet If not, how about this SHE AND GABRIEL JUST MAKE OUT WITH HIM SHIRTLESS Even better, they had to be drugged with aphrodisiacs to even do that First of all, this is not in the financial best interest of the Madam, so she wouldn t do this She would definitely sell of her virginity before putting this in place Also, there is no fucking way that men are going to pay money to watch a girl make out with her boyfriend They MIGHT pay to watch them have sex, but to make out And she s not even naked On top of that, once they inevitably escape, she and Gideon never have sex Both the world building and the way the plot has gone mean that, one way or another, Rhine should not be a virgin at this point The fact that she is is illogical, and indicates a disgusting degree of importance placed on keeping females untouched and virginal If you don t want your heroine to have sex or be raped, don t write a world where that pretty much has to happen for the book to make sense, okay hide spoiler Rhine And Gabriel Have Escaped The Mansion, But Danger Is Never Far BehindRunning 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 HopelessnessThe 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 Mansionby Any Means NecessaryIn The Sequel To Lauren DeStefano S Harrowing Wither, Rhine Must Decide If Freedom Is Worth The Price Now That She Has To Lose Than Ever Things will get worse before they get better A little agony before the fever will break.Fever, the second installment to The Chemical Garden Trilogy, picks up immediately where Wither left off As Rhine and Gabriel escape Linden s mansion in search of their freedom and Rhine s twin brother, they find themselves captured by Madame Soleski and forced to become a perverse display for profit The story unfolds into a brutal yet subtly romantic dystopic nightmare where no matter how harsh and morbid it becomes, there seems to be something that makes this novel increasingly addicting I ll admit right now, I am sort of shocked at myself for how engrossed I ve become with this trilogy It s definitely not like anything I ve categorized in the past as romantic, beautiful, or hopeful, yet there s a deep seeded part of this story that deserves those exact descriptors and it s for reasons that hide beneath the layers of DeStefano s story telling As I read certain scenes, I d find myself both cringing and embracing this author s ability to enrapture me with her bold skill to push my comfort level yet keep me fully engaged She seamlessly creates a journey that leaves me craving for and turning the pages to its harsh conclusion applauds The writing continues to be a blend of beautifully poetic and increasingly morbid As a reader, I had to be careful not to be completely hypnotized by DeStefano s ability to deliver attractive prose because it never fails that she has a harsh reality waiting to unfold at every corner DeStefano s writing really shines in this book as she demonstrates her ability to use both symbolism and foreshadowing to its advantage.For example for most of the book, I was baffled as to why Rhine continued to wear her wedding band and long for the luxuries of Linden s mansion, until I realized it served a purpose The band symbolizes an invisible cord that tethers her to her nightmare Even after her escape, she longs for the luxuries found in Linden s mansions, but Rhine soon discovers that those luxuries come at the hefty price of her freedom In the end, she ll take the hardship because even if the lies and luxuries are beautiful, the truth is what she ll face in the end and that s a world where she was born to die at a young age.This second installment provides some additional insight into DeStefano s world building In Fever, we get a better idea of the leader s role in this nation, how organized law enforcement has morphed into a private security system and finally how the Gatherers own the streets in search of girls they can sell into polygamist relationships However, we re still left wondering how the other continents collapsed into nothingness, leaving the US as the only surviving nation So, I m both curious and excited to see what DeStefano will unveil as the world beyond this setting in her concluding installment.In addition, I loved everything about the art cover and title of this book because of how appropriate and well tied to the story it proves to be Nothing is insignificant or frivolous The accessories and props you see on the cover relate to some fact about the story, that I continually found myself turning back to the cover to relate it to what I was reading Overall, I cannot wait to experience the final installment to The Chemical Garden Trilogy to see how the world survives this dystopic nightmare Harsh, yet hauntingly beautiful Thank you to Simon Schuster Publishing for allowing me to preview this book Definitely a story that I anticipate will cause both turbulent waves amid resounding praise Well done An improvement over Wither Fever starts exactly where we left off in the midst of the excitement from having escaped The issue I had with Wither lacking energy, where I had a feeling of restlessness being with those girls in their big mansion unmoving, is not the case any In Fever, we re out in the real world Things are moving fast and the anxiety is heightened As a lover of fast paced dystopians, I found myself much preferring this second installment.We re following Rhine and Gabriel on the run Rhine is trying to find her brother, while Gabriel is seeing the outside of the Mansion for the first time in a decade As in Wither, I didn t feel a lot of chemistry between these two They are clearly good for each other always there to help one another, but there s no rooted passion between them Fortunately, the plot doesn t center around the romance as much as their escape and, eventually, what s happening to Rhine She s started getting sick with the same symptoms as the virus No one knows why, or how to fix it.Although it s still not at the scale I was hoping, we do learn about the outside world in Fever Rhine and Gabriel travel enough to give us glimpses of society s living situations We also hear the president give an interesting speech of future plans Further, we get some good plot development as well as a lot of mystery throughout this novel The twists we encounter definitely came to impress me They were very well thought out from the beginning, put together in a way that makes them hard to predict I, for one, had no idea what was happening and was caught smiling by the cleverness of it all by the end.I noticed an improvement in the writing from Wither It s vibrant, and the story flows really well with an easy to read, but sophisticated prose It s beautiful in a sense There is also a sequence where Rhine is drugged, going in and out of consciousness, that I thought was brilliantly done I felt as confused as Rhine was Trying to figure out what was happening along with her You get the sense of unease like in a dream where you know you must escape, but you re trapped, controlled It s suspenseful and frightening.A much fast paced, captivating dystopian than the first in its series Fever continues Rhine s story while her years dwindle by With only 3 of them left, Rhine has a lot of life left to live in a very short time I m looking forward to finding out how she spends these in the final book of the series For of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads Gritty sequel failed to keep my attention like WITHER didFever takes readers into an even darker world than did Lauren DeStefano s debut novel, Wither Having escaped the confines of the mansion, Rhine and Gabriel make the run to freedom only to find that the outside world may offer even less of it As they struggle to make their way to Manhattan in search of safety and Rhine s twin brother, the two find that the world is populated by those both cruel and kind and that everyone is looking for a way to survive When I read WITHER last year, I was impressed by the author s writing and her willingness to explore what dire things might happen in a world where all young people die early Even with this gritty dystopian world laid out, I found the world building to be weak enough that I spent a lot of time questioning how this world came about Unfortunately, this is the same problem I had while reading FEVER, and it seemed even prevalent this time Incomplete or unbelievable world building continued to draw me out of the story too often Also, while I liked the author s exploration of sexuality and oppression in the first book, this book s tone comes across as even bleak and without as much purpose Rhine and Gabriel routinely end up in situations that felt like they were there for shock value than for character or plot development And when these terrible things happen, they don t touch the main characters in the way one would expect, again making the world less believable Because of this, I sometimes felt disconnected from Rhine and Gabriel and their struggles I also never felt really moved by Rhine and Gabriel s relationship, despite a few good moments The book then finishes on a cliffhanger with little resolution FEVER as a whole felt very much like a middle book where things don t move forward a great deal.On the positive side, DeStefano continues to show that she can write well, and her pretty prose allows readers to easily visualize the surroundings she describes FEVER also provides much information about the world outside the mansion, and sympathetic new characters are introduced Although I don t think it was as well done as in the first book, I also continue to appreciate the author s willingness to examine the harsh realities that could result in a world where women become little than sexual commodities Overall, FEVER failed to keep my attention in the way that WITHER did one year ago, and it didn t leave me mulling over important issues in the same way Even such, I am sure that many fans of the first novel will appreciate this sequel and where it sets up things for the final book I know I ll be reading it to see where DeStefano takes her characters and her story and whether she leaves readers with a sense of hope or just continued despair Note This review refers to an advance review copy.
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Fever book, this is one of the most wanted Lauren DeStefano author readers around the world.
- 341 pages
- Lauren DeStefano
- 04 September 2017 Lauren DeStefano