Series: The Chemical Garden #2
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Published by Simon & Schuster (2.21.2012)
Hardcover, 341 pages
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.
While I liked her in Wither, Rhine sort of annoyed me in this one. When she was at the mansion, she was desperate to escape, yet when she finally does, she continues to dwell on her life there. Um, hello, you got what you wanted and now you don’t want it anymore? It irked me that she couldn’t enjoy her freedom with Gabriel because she was so focused on missing Linden and Cecily. I actually felt kinda sorry for Gabriel.
There wasn’t much mention of the virus at all in this one until closer to the end, which almost made me forget the terrible world building in the first book (almost). There is still no explanation for the virus. Also, there was something said that kind of bothered me:
A hundred years ago there was nearly twice as much land to our country. Some of it was ruined by warfare, but most of the land loss was natural, the land deteriorating slowly and sinking into the ocean.
Yet, in the first book, this quote:
A third world war demolished all but North America, the continent with the most advanced technology. The damage was so catastrophic that all that remains of the rest of the world is ocean and uninhabitable islands so tiny that they can’t even be seen from space.
I feel like Lauren needs to get her facts straight. While the story was still good, the world building issues really dragged it down for me. I am STILL left wondering what year it is, which would be nice to know.
We’re once again reminded how horrible the future world is, where women are just pieces of property used for their wombs. The carnival that Rhine gets captured into was horrible. It’s basically a brothel, run by Madame Soleski. The idea of it is horrifying, knowing the girls don’t have a choice with what happens to their bodies. I did like the naming system, though – the Reds, Blues, Greens, Purples, etc. Names such as Lilac, Goldenrod, Sky, and Coral.
I don’t want to say much else due to spoilers. I was somehow disappointed with this one, though. I was hoping the series would improve as it progressed (especially in the research department), but I liked Wither better than Fever. After finishing it, I just felt like giving a mental shrug and a ‘meh.’