Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) – Lauren DeStefano

Published December 28, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

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 mansion…by 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.

What did I think?:

Fever is the second book in Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy and I have to say I am fast becoming a huge fan of her work. Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion to try and find Rhine’s twin brother Rowen leaving Rhine’s husband behind, but unfortunately danger is not far away. In a world where young women die just as they are becoming adults, the provision of young girls to become brides and provide offspring for men before they pass away is unlikely to change. Not long after the escape, Rhine and Gabriel find themselves once again captured in another strange place, almost like a carnival but where the owner, Madame Soleski, prostitutes her band of girls to men willing to pay a fee to erm… do the business in a fairground like atmosphere, complete with a Ferris Wheel! The girls are all named after colours and Rhine becomes the star of the show, not prostituted herself but forced to perform a perverse display with Gabriel for men standing and watching outside the tent. The girls are kept quiet and submissive through the use of drugs to dull their senses yet keep them aware enough to please the men. Obviously the girls then become addicts and rely heavily on Madame for their supply of drugs, reducing the likelihood of any of them running away.

Throughout their imprisonment with Madame, Rhine desperately tries to think of a way to escape and manages to befriend one of the girls, Lilac who has a young daughter Maddie whom sadly, has been born slightly malformed and is mute. The way the author writes about this character is sensitive and truly beautiful and I felt so touched by her sad existence under Madame yet her intelligence and strength of mind clearly shone through. I’m not giving away any spoilers but Maddie is clearly going to play a big part in the rest of this series and I’m really looking forward to see how she grows and develops. Aside from Rhine’s problems in the twisted carnival, she also has a huge issue to deal with in the form of her father-in-law Vaughn who is intent on finding her and has big plans for her future. The ending of this book is spectacular, a cliffhanger of nail-biting proportions and I don’t think it will be too long before the final book in the series, Sever, makes its way onto my TBR list.

Overall, this is another fantastic read from Lauren DeStefano with such beautiful prose that the reader is just completely sucked into Rhine’s world until the end. In fact, while I was reading it, I was so absorbed in the story that even when I put the book down, I was thinking about it and mulling over which way the author would take the characters next. Rhine is a fantastic character, independent, strong and incredibly readable – I could confidently say that she is one of my favourite (kick ass) female characters in YA fiction. With a dream-like, dark and mesmerising plot in a terrifying dystopian future, Lauren DeStefano manages to grab and hold your attention with a powerful story that leaves you almost begging to know what comes next.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

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