Sunday 26 February 2012

Fever by Lauren DeStefano (The Chemical Garden #2)

from goodreads

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 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.


I was extremely thrilled to read Fever! If you've read my previous reviews, you'll know how much I loved Wither, the first part of The Chemical Garden series. Thankfully, Fever did not disappoint! Like Wither, Fever was morbidly beautiful. The writing immediately took me to the place where Wither had ended... because that's where Fever begins: with Rhine and Gabriel on the run from Vaughn's mansion.

We run, with water in our shoes and the smell of the ocean clinging to our frozen skin.

Rhine and Gabriel are on their way to Manhattan, where Rhine hopes to be reunited with her twin brother but instead, they find themselves captives of Madame, a mysterious and delusional woman. She is host of an eerie carnival that lights up the place that's in the middle of nowhere. We meet a host of new characters while we are reminded of old ones, like Jenna, throughout. As they are trapped and their plans of escape take most of the strength out of them, Rhine and Gabriel are left battered and bruised by the dangers of the outside world.

Most of the novel feels like a feverish haze as there is the desire to move forward... to get a sense of what is happening out there. Like Rhine, I felt myself longing for Housemaster Vaughn's large mansion, where there was at least the illusion of comfort and safety. Like her, I also got extremely attached to the characters of the previous book. I couldn't help worrying about the fate of two characters who we do not see for the most part of Fever.

I'm so glad Fever was as brilliantly written as Wither and it sucked me in almost as much. There is no book I have rooted for more than Fever. It was also great that there was as much character development. There are still those primary flaws in world building but I stopped caring about what was plausible and what wasn't. The carnival, the tarot cards, the people- they all felt so real. Madame's carnival felt like the saddest place, especially since it was outwardly so bright. Even secondary characters, as in Wither, were so well developed. Some of them broke my heart.

As for Rhine and Gabriel... the events of Fever certainly put to test and at the same time helped cement what they have. I enjoyed learning more about Gabriel. Rhine and Gabriel never get the chance to retreat into a mini-fairytale and in some ways, that brings out the best in both of them. Rhine has to be one of my favourite female protagonists and Gabriel surprised me with his resilience!

Things nearly come together towards the end of the book. Some mysteries are cleared while some of the question marks still linger. Despite feeling drained out and depressed about the fate of the children in the world of Fever (where Rhine realises that the rosy picture she had constructed of the outside world was just that... a picture), the ending took me to a better place. There is a cliffhanger, a reunion and a major breakthrough. When can I read the next book of the trilogy?

Publication date: 21st February, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Source: Bought

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I liked Wither a tiny bit more but Fever is perfect as a bridge-book. It has hopefully set the stage for a fantabulous book three!


  1. YAY! I'm so happy that you loved this book too, Ajoop -- I agree with everything that you said! :) Fever was as brilliantly written as Wither, although I've finally come to the conclusion that everything Lauren DeStefano writes will be the same way! ;) And about the secondary characters breaking your heart... I felt the exact same way! <3

    Amazing review, Ajoop! After that cliffhanger, the wait for the next book is going to be so unbearable! x)

  2. Now I really want to delve into this series. I have been wanting to read Wither forever! The writing sounds wonderful. I hate the cliffhanger though. At this point with my reading schedule it will be awhile, oh well that way I won't disappointed when I get to the cliffhanger!

  3. @Mimi I know, right? I can hardly wait for the next book. The cliffhanger and multiple plot twists at the end was too much to take! I need closure! I need the next book! Then again, I don't want it to end. It was all so stunning. I'm glad you felt the same way <3

    And I know, Lauren DeStefano is so talented! I'll read anything she writes :)

    @Heidi The writing is all kinds of wonderful! You should definitely read Wither when your TBR pile isn't as full! :) And haha, I agree, cliffhangers are evil!

  4. Hi!

    I have the first one and still haven't read it. It's a shame! Your review makes me more curious about this series. I think Wither will be in my to-read list of March.
    I love the cover of this one. :)

  5. Oh, you should read Wither! It's such a wonderfully written series. Do let me know what you think once you've read it :D I love the cover of Fever as well! At first I didn't but now it makes so much sense and is more significant than I thought it was :) Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! <3


HI. Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment. :)