BOOK REVIEW: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

feverReview of: Fever by Lauren DeStefano (#2 in the Chemical Garden series)

Genre: YA, Dystopian

Fever is the second book in the Chemical Garden series by Lauren DeStefano. You can read my review of the first book in the series, Wither, here. Since it is the follow-up book, I can’t promise that there won’t be spoilers for Wither, so consider yourself warned.

Rhine and the security guard, Gabriel, are on the run from the compound where Rhine was being held prisoner, but they run out of one bad situation into a worse one. When she and Gabriel are held captive in a strange menagerie, she almost loses hope of ever getting to Manhattan and finding her brother. Vaughn, her deluded, so-called father-in-law, is still searching for her though, and it is the threat of being forced back to the mansion that finally provides the impetus Rhine needs to escape the menagerie and make her way to Manhattan with Gabriel. What awaits her is not what she had hoped, and once again, she finds herself wondering whether her freedom is worth surviving for.

Frankly, I did not like this book as much as I liked Wither. Wither was unique, and though it was very strange, it was believable. Fever was just way too far out there. The whole menagerie thing didn’t make any sense to me. It felt like the author was just trying to carry through on shock factor. The polygamy in the first book was plenty weird enough… I didn’t need any more shock factor in terms of the bizarre sexual situations. The story could have been told just as well with a different situation, and probably been more enjoyable to read. I really had trouble getting through this one. It was a soap opera. Way too much drama, not enough happening with the plot.
The one thing that does earn my grudging respect is that, though both of these books have been heavy on the dystopian society weird sexual theme, they have been about as chaste as possible (in light of the theme), keeping them appropriate for a YA readership.

Once Rhine and Gabriel made it to Manhattan, the story improved a little. I didn’t feel like I was just slogging through it any more.

That said, I’m conflicted about whether or not to finish the series. I dislike leaving series’ unfinished as a principle, but I really did not enjoy this book, and am doubtful about the potential for the rest of the series.

I didn’t like it: 1 star

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