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The second book in the Chemical Garden trilogy (after Wither), Fever, starts right off when Rhine and Gabriel escaped the mansion and are trying to get as far away from it as possible. Along the way, they walk into a prostitute camp where Rhine and Gabriel are forced to put on a show for paying customers (which is as creepy as it sounds).

Of course Vaughn (the housemaster in the first book) finds them. But they manage to escape (along with a deformed child named Maddie) and they continue their way to New York City to find Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. When they arrive in Rhine’s old neighbourhood, her house has been burned to the ground and she becomes overcome with the feeling that she won’t be able to find Rowan.

They find shelter in an orphanage, run by an first-generation woman, Claire. Unfortunately, it becomes apparent that Rhine is succumbing to the virus that will eventually kill her – this doesn’t make any sense, because she’s only 16 and she has at least four years left.

However, for the second time, Vaughn finds them and lures Rhine outside and into his limo. He tells her she has been implanted with a tracking device, which is why he is able to find her so easily. He also tells her he has been feeding her drugs the entire time she was living in Florida and now she’s going through withdrawal.

He forcibly takes her to his hospital and at the end, while watching the news, a story is playing about pro-naturalists disagreeing with antidote efforts and then her brother comes on TV…The End.

I did not like this book at all. I did not believe the romance between Rhine and Gabriel. He seemed like a convenient character to have – someone to help the main character escape her imprisonment, to add a little romance to a depressing story, and to have a male counterpart to a strong female character. To me, Rhine barely expresses any feeling towards him, other than physical. I was totally disappointed because I would have like DeStefano to have written Gabriel as a more complex character. But he fell completely flat.

Also, Rhine confused the hell out of me. In Fever, all she could think about was escaping, but then once she did, all she thought about was the house, her sisterwives, and her husband Linden. It almost sounded like she misses her old life as a (sister-)wife. Which again, doesn’t make sense because she was kidnapped and forced into it against her will and she never wanted to be a wife.

Anyway, I’ll read the last book, hoping it will be better than this book. I think DeStefano is moving towards a showdown between people trying to create an antidote (like Vaughan) with those who don’t want one (like Rowan). And hopefully, we’ll get to see more of Gabriel, and that Rhine will get out of that hospital.

Rating:

{  } Pretty bad
{x} Tolerable
{  } All right
{  } Exciting
{  } Enthralling

Book 32 out of 60

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