Friday, April 6, 2012

16. Fever

Book #16: Fever
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Published: February 21, 2012
341 pages
5 gold stars

(summary 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 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 any means necessary.

The Chemical Garden that DeStefano has created is among my favourite dystopian series. She's created a world that seems real in every sense, a world that could very well become our future. After trying to make a better human race, the world has become quite the opposite, where man only live until 25 and girls under 20. The world has become a death trap where girls are sold into slavery/prostitution or wives. Rhine, our heroine that has kept quiet throughout her years with her brother, became a wife in the first novel, Wither, but managed to escape the house and those who would hurt her. Now, on the run with her lover Gabriel, Rhine is on a mission to find her brother and return safely home. Seeing as this is only the second book in the trilogy, she doesn't make it home yet.

The world is scary in DeStefano's future. It's scary in most dystopian novels, but this one frightened me the most. To know you are going to die at the age of 20 is a horrible thought. Then on top of that, the chances of getting sold or having to sleep with men for money are much too high for my liking. Rhine's life is not easy and my heart beat quickly with hers as I read her story, hoping nothing too terrible would happen to her. Rhine has never done anything wrong, yet the world is against her, using her for its own cruel amusement.

Gabriel is her strength. He is kind and loving and trying very hard to be strong with her in a world that he has never known. Considering he grew up as a slave in a household, never seeing beyond the fence, he is doing well. We meet a few new characters at the Carnival of Horrors (a prostitution ring disguised as a carnival) like Maddie, a malformed child who will not talk to anyone. Rhine immediately relates with her, as she is malformed as well, and Maddie takes to Rhine like a mother, giving Rhine enough hope to keep going.

Rhine stays strong throughout the whole book even though terrible things are happening to her and around her. She is on the run, her freedom in her sights but knowing that she can't have it. She is technically still married to Linden and she knows his father is surely after her, trying to get her to come back to the mansion so he can experiment on her like he did the other wives. The novel is fast-paced, and kept me reading to the end, eager to see if Rhine would finally escape Vaughn's evil grasp. I can't wait for the final book in this series.

"Everything that happened before feels like a million years ago now. This is the freedom I craved throughout my marriage. To share a bed not because of a wedding ring or a one-sided promise that was made for me, but because of desire. Inexplicable yet undeniable. I have never craved closeness like this for anyone else."

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