Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Review: Fever

What is with this cover, anyway? Its awfully ugly!

Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Fever
Series: The Chemical Garden, #2
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Published: HarperVoyager; 2012
341 pages, large format paperback
Source: Borrowed from the library
Rating: 1.5 stars
 Description (from Goodreads):

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 woman 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.

My Thoughts:

 1.5 stars.

This book reminds me why most readers give up on a series if they despised the first book. Being the bone-headed stubborn type of person I am however, I always at least attempt to continue a series regardless. There is just something that bothers me about leaving a series unfinished. I believe that if I have put in effort to reading the previous book/s then I have introduced myself to the characters, I have learnt about their stories, I have gone on at least part of their journey - why not finish that journey? Sure, I might not care what happens to them or I could die of frustration or boredom or something equally ugly along the way... least I would know what happened though. I wouldn't be thinking "Oh, I wonder what happened to Rhine after she escaped? Did she find her brother? Was he okay? Did she and Gabriel make a life for themselves in the end? What happened to Cecily then? And Linden? Is he still impregnating little girls and being a pervert? Did he ever make amends to Rhine?...?". All these things nag at my mind over and over again until I sit down and find the answers to them.

I picked up to Fever to get these answers and ease my mind, but I left with even more questions than I started with...

This story was one long, drawn-out disaster. I couldn't follow the plotline. The characters were shoddy and underdeveloped. The dystopian aspects were still left vague and unexplained. The romance was cringe-worthy and dull. I was bored. I was confused. I was not entertained in the slightest.

The whole thing felt like one of Rhine's half-conscious, sleep-addled, drugged hallucinations. A cloud of druggy smog stood between us and the terribly underdeveloped characters as they stumbled from one disastrous problem to the next. The only thing that seemed to happen was for our main characters to fall asleep in different locations, drifting in and out of consciousness and hallucinations - not much else actually transpired. The whole book was like reading through the perspective of someone high on Tracker Jacker venom. Not good!

Rhine and Gabriel only made it worse. I don't know what happened to Gabriel in this because when I remember him from Wither, I remembered him as a sweet, charming guy with a happy smile and a lot of steely determination. In this he was nothing but a pushover with zero personality. He was needy, grouchy, snappy, irritating, condescending and just awful! I couldn't relate to him and well, I didn't really want to either. Rhine was just as bad. Again, I don't know what happened but it seems like she has taken a page out of Juliette's (from Shatter Me) book because she spent the entire course of this spouting all this ridiculously random and boring poetry about the meaning of life and her society's terrible destruction of the planet... blah, blah, blah! If I wanted that sort of nonsense I wouldn't be reading a dystopian.

The "romance" attempted between Gabriel and Rhine was seriously laughable. The don't just lack chemistry, but they have none whatsoever. The author didn't even attempt to build up their relationship from where it left off in Wither, they barely talked or communicated with each other let alone kiss or - god forbid! - do anything more. If you are going to have a sideline romance in a dystopia you have to at least build up a relationship, you have to actually have a relationship between the characters. Otherwise, like this, it fails. It doesn't work.

The ending was the perfect ugly icing for this already foul-tasting cake. It literally rendered the entire book pointless. We are right back where we started now - minus Gabriel. The best part of this book? Its over, because that means only book is left to go. My fingers (and toes) are tightly crossed that by the end of Sever I can put all this negativity down to a very bad case of Middle Book Syndrome. Hopefully, Sever will blow my breath away with its fabulous writing, captivating plotline and intriguing characters - everything this book lacked - but lets not hold our breaths on that just yet.

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