Author: Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: February 21, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Teen/YA, Dystopian
Rating: 3 out of 5
Warning: This review may contain spoilers for the first book in The Chemical Garden trilogy, Wither.
After the events of Wither, Rhine and Gabriel have escaped from Vaughn and are making their way up to New York City. But when they end up captured by a mysterious woman who calls herself Madame, Rhine is baffled as to how they can get away. When Rhine discovers that Madame actually runs a whorehouse and is planning on profiting heavily off Rhine, she knows they must do everything they can to escape as soon as possible.
Fever is the follow-up to the hit dystopian novel Wither, though it doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the first novel. Once again, Rhine is an appealing character. Her yearning for home is understandable, and it’s not hard to sympathize with her. However, the other characters in the book are sadly flat. Gabriel receives no further character development in this novel, and actually comes across as a secondary character rather than Rhine’s love interest. It’s Rhine that must carry the story on her own, as the plot isn’t what readers might hope it would be, and she only somewhat succeeds.
The plot of Fever meanders slowly, without much real forward driving force. Rhine and Gabriel seem to wander aimlessly, becoming caught in one difficult situation after another, while not really going anywhere. Rather than being an exciting read, the book has little fits of action here and there. While it’s not a slow read, not much happens overall. There is no real exploration of Rhine’s world, and no addition to the world building that occurred in Wither.
The novel takes a turn for the last quarter of the book, and it seemed quite random. It adds some depth to the novel as a whole, though, so it wasn’t an unwelcome transition. DeStefano sets the stage for an interesting conclusion to the trilogy, so while I was disappointed in this book, it won’t stop me from reading the final installment. If you haven’t picked up this series yet, I’d wait until the last book is released; this may be a more enjoyable bridge novel when you have the next book waiting to be read.