Review: FEVER by Lauren Destefano

by Lauren Destefano
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers (February 21, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 144240907X
Source: Publisher
Rating: ♥♥

The second book in The Chemical Garden Trilogy reveals a world as captivating—and as dangerous—as the one Rhine left behind in Wither. Rhine and Gabriel may have escaped the beautiful prison of Wither’s mansion, but they are far from escaping danger. First they’re chased for stealing a getaway boat, and then the fleeing pair ends up in the eerie den of Madame, an old woman who collects girls and sells them to the highest bidders. Worst of all, Vaughn, Rhine’s sinister father-in-law, seems to be on her trail every step of the way. Rhine remains determined to get to her brother in Manhattan—but the road they are on is long and perilous.

Now that Rhine has finally regained her freedom, what lengths will she need to go to in order to keep it?

My Thoughts

FEVER by Lauren Destefano was a much anticipated novel for me because I enjoyed reading it's predecessor, WITHER and was very intrigued on how this new storyline would play out. Although I anticipated a few plot points, on a whole it was not what I expected.

Upon returning to the bleak world that Rhine and Gabriel inhabit we find them on the run, fleeing a madman that is hell bent on cruel experimentation. Unfortunately they do not enjoy their freedom for long before they are held prisoners in a different kind of torture of which Rhine becomes a feature attraction. They barely escape with another in tow and travel up to Manhattan but the journey is long and they encounter a few hardships along the way but nothing prepares Rhine for what awaits her back home.

When I read WITHER I was drawn to it's heroine Rhine, and her storyline. I admired her spirit and drive to escape her captors and return to the free world and find her brother. I am scarcely into a few pages of FEVER and Rhine quickly becomes ensnared in a fresh kind of hell that is brutal and sexually driven. This new place reminds me of some perverse carnival of the flesh, filled with withered and broken girls, illicit drugs and nightmares. Although this new situation is uncomfortable to read about I do find Madame, the flesh carnival's keeper, to command the pages that she inhabits because she is a
ridiculously excessive character that is a perverse shell of a human whom is cunning and crazed by the ghosts in her past. Yet, despite my fascination with her I was eager to leave that place and move on. It is their first of many harrowing moments on their travels but they seem to manage despite their bleak circumstances.

As I witnessed Rhine and Gabriel on their arduous mission to find Rhine's brother I had hoped that their relationship would grow stronger.The frail bond between Rhine and Gabriel is constantly tested by the strain of their situation; Gabriel is dealing with his own personal demons while Rhine seems to drown in memories of her past. While I could tolerate her recollections of her life with her brother I could not stomach her nostalgia of being with Linden and her sister wives. If she was so eager to leave that hellish situation why did she have so many fond memories of it and of Linden? Why didn't she take off her wedding band? Of all the things she does, that fact I find the most off and incomprehensible.

Besides that issue there are several factors that initially threw me off. Some where explained as the story progressed, especially one that caused my head to ache, but at that point I did not care. I guess I became overwhelmed with Rhine's turmoil and delirium and was left dazed and confused. What I previously enjoyed about this series seemed to be lacking with this current novel, too much confusion and shock value situations seemed to prevail, weighing it down.

Despite my thoughts on this novel I enjoy Lauren's writing style for it is well detailed and poetic in nature and the world that she has created is imaginatively original. I just cannot say with certainty if I will return to finish this series.


  1. Yeah, this book was weird. But, I still want to know the ending. Though how it will be wrapped up in just one more book, I don't know!

  2. I haven't read this one yet, but I was wondering where the story was going to go after Wither. Thanks for your honest review! It's always nice to see what people didn't like about the novels they read, as well as what they did like.


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