Book Review: Fever

Book Review: FeverFever by Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Chemical Garden #2
Published by Simon & Schuster Books on February 21st 2012
Pages: 341

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.

Review: Wither
* Review and Summary may contain spoilers from the first book of the series, Wither. Read at your own risk *
Last year, Lauren DeStefano blew me away with her debut Wither. Wither is one of the few dystopians that actually represent that "true" dystopian experience. It was edgy. Not afraid to be a dark read. Haunting. Wither was such an amazing read. And with Fever, its sequel, I had only the best expectations.
Well, you know what they say about expectations… sometimes it is best not to have them.
I went into Fever expecting it to be almost just like Wither. It wasn't… not exactly. Lauren DeStefano's amazing writing is still there. Our main characters are still there. But Fever had a much different feeling to it than I thought it would. Wither was dark, but Fever was darker… much, much more so. Heck, Fever almost makes Wither seem like a happy-go-lucky book in comparsion. I never expected this bleakness from DeStefano. And despite me not expecting all this and frankly, being taken aback by some of it, I loved that DeStefano let herself and this series go there. DeStefano really pushes the envelope in regards to dystopian reads. And honestly, I think that if Fever had not been what it had been I would have been disappointed.
Rhine and Gabriel still have an interesting relationship. It bends and molds as their situations change. Rhine is still kinda the girl from Wither. Her character has adapted as needed and she still has the drive to find her brother. Unlike Rhine, Gabriel is almost completely unrecognizable. The changes that occur to his character were pretty mind blowing. I never thought that he would embrace the darkness has he did. Wow.
Fever really pushes the envelope. And while the story feels like so much has happened, I feel like everything is really only beginning. The story has gone almost a full circle. From the escape to coming back, Rhine and Gabriel are not the two same people who left. DeStefano's world has definitely left a mark on our characters. And sadly, it is not all for the better.
Final Verdict: 
Fever was not what I was expecting. Too often with dystopians, there are dystopians and then what I like to think of as "soft" dystopians. There is nothing soft about Fever. DeStefano's world is bleak. Tragic in its stark beauty. I have so much respect for an author who is not afraid to push the limits. Fever was a brilliant sequel. DeStefano continues to amaze me with each book. I hope that trend continues.
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