About the book
Fever is the second book in The Chemical Garden series by Lauren DeStefano. It was published by Harper Voyager on 16th February and the book is 352 pages long.
For 17-year-old Rhine Ellery, a daring escape from a suffocating polygamous marriage is only the beginning...
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.
What I thought
The first book in this series, Wither, is one of my favourites so far this year. The covers for this series of books are absolutely stunning and they also give little hints about what will happen although you can only really realise this after finishing the book. As soon as I had finished Wither, I wanted the sequel.
Beginning exactly where Wither ended, Fever picks back up with Rhine and Gabriel who are on the run. Instead of being trapped in the mansion and her crazy marriage, Rhine now finds herself crossing a river in the hopes of getting to Manhattan, her former home. Instead, she and Gabriel find themselves trespassing in a really strange carnival which is run by prostitution. I really loved this setting as it was so very different from the mansion which is the focus of Wither. The carnival is not your average carnival at all and it is run by an extremely eccentric and insane woman. This place is full of interesting characters and events and there is no down time here.
This book as a whole is much faster paced than Wither. Rhine and Gabriel never seem to stop, no matter where they are or what they're doing. As soon as Rhine and Gabriel find themselves at the carnival, they are always on the go. The leader here sees Rhine to be too special to be a prostitute so along with Gabriel, they become 'The Lovebirds', a feature that no one can buy. I liked the fact that the two characters got to stick together most of the time even though Gabriel was clearly out of place here. Both fought to stay together and I loved seeing their determination and commitment to one another.
However, although they obviously don't want to be split up, their romance is extremely lacking. Gabriel ran away with Rhine when she asked him to but they have barely even kissed. I don't feel as though I really know Gabriel as a character even after two books and this was a real shame. I think there is so much more to him that we have been told and this doesn't help the relationship between him and Rhine. To risk everything for someone else, I think that there needs to be a much stronger relationship between two people and I don't feel this at all here.
Lauren DeStefano's writing is just as beautiful and intense in Fever as it was in Wither, if not better in all aspects. One thing that I loved about Wither was the fact that very hard hitting topics are not shied away from and that is the case in this book as well. Where we got to learn about polygamous marriages before, here we get insight into the world of prostitution rings and what people would do in order to stay alive. The reading isn't always easy due to these harsh situations but it does tackle real issues in a fantasy setting and again, I really liked how this was done. There are tender moments in this book though and in unexpected placed but the contrast between hard and soft was done exceptionally well and they really complimented each other, making the book diverse and interesting.
The ending to Fever was shocking and intense. I didn't expect the things that did happen in this book to appear and the same can be said for the ending. I think that Fever was left in a place that was extremely exciting and full of all kinds of possibilities for the third book in the series, Sever. There are many unanswered questions after the events of this book and I'm hoping a lot or all of them are tied up in Sever. The third book isn't out for ages but I will be getting my hands on it as soon as it gets released!