Review: Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren DeStefano

Title:  Fever
Author:  Lauren DeStefano
Series:  The Chemical Garden #2
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  February 21, 2012
Pages:  341
Format/Source:  Hardback/Purchased

Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Science Fiction, Dystopian

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

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. (From Goodreads)

*Warning:  This is the second book in a series.  While I really don’t like spoilers, you might find some slight Book 1 spoilers in this review.*

Action, Imagery, and Villains, Oh My!…

One of the first things I noticed about Fever was that there was a lot more action than in Wither.  Right from the beginning, actually.  Gabriel and Rhine are on the run, and there are dangers all around them, pretty much every step of the journey.  I love a lot of action, suspense, and twists and turns, so this automatically made me think I was going to enjoy Fever more than Wither.

Fever also seemed a lot more picturesque to me than Wither did.  I mean, I could imagine the mansion in Wither, and see the grounds, but Fever is awash in smells and colors.  And this really shows in the cover art as well.  I liked the cover for Wither more, but the cover for Fever has those bright pinks and greens and it really fits the book for me.

There’s a pretty big reveal near the end of the book, and I thought it was pretty clever.  And I was happy that the villains in this book were actually seen being evil, because in Wither that was one of my major complaints – we never really saw Vaughn being evil, we only just heard Rhine’s theories on what he was doing.    

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Fever:

“Living in a place like this, she must have learned how to see all the monsters that can hide in a person.”

“In what I can only describe as dumb luck and good timing, I vomit on his lapels before I lose consciousness.”

One of my other favorite quotes bears a little discussion.  They meet a first generation woman who, several years prior, had lost her son to the virus, and she tells Rhine about him:  “His words, she says, got trapped in the wallpaper, and they leap between the little blue flowers of it, echoing, playing with one another.”  I lost my grandmother a year ago – she was the person in my family that I was closest to, besides my parents and my brother – and some days I can still hear her saying, “Well, hello Andrea!” the way she always would when I would call her.  I can’t imagine losing a child – I think that has to be the worst thing in the world – and to still be in the same house where that child grew up?  Of course his memories would haunt the halls and the wallpaper!  You’d see him everywhere!  I just can’t imagine having to go through that, and I think DeStefano has really captured that in this passage.

A Bit of a Warning…

I was all set to really, really LOVE this book.  And then something happened at the end that I personally just can’t get past.  Now, this is kind of spoilery, but I’ll try to be as vague as possible.  But I really feel like I need to warn people about this one part.  

I have a huge eye phobia.  I’ve had it for as long as I can remember, and in school I was always teased about it, but it’s extremely serious, and it’s even hard to write about.  Basically I can’t handle anything that has to do with eyes.  I mean, I can handle looking at eyes and everything, but if I see or hear or read about anything strange happening to someone’s eyes, I get all clammy and start to freak out.  I know, I know, I’m weird, but I am not the only one.  It’s an actual phobia.  I forget the name, but it’s real.

Anyway, there is a part in this book where some crazy shiz happens to someone’s eyes.  And I couldn’t handle it.  I tried to skip past that part, but I had seen enough to make me freak out.  I pushed myself to finish the book, but to tell you the truth, I haven’t really wanted to touch the book since I finished it.  And I definitely wasn’t looking forward to writing this review.

So I want to warn anyone who might be like me – if you get anxiety about things happening to people’s eyes – you have been warned.  But I also have to say that it wasn’t a very long scene, and I personally still enjoyed the book even though I hated that part and I’m still a bit squeamish about it.  And I still would like to read the final book in the trilogy, so I’m really hoping that there isn’t any crazy eye shiz in that one, too.  Maybe I’ll get a friend to read it first and let me know if there’s a part I need to skip.

My rating for Fever by Lauren DeStefano:

4 stars.  Even though I was really creeped out by that one part, I still really enjoyed the book – maybe even more than Wither.  I’ll definitely be reading Book 3 of The Chemical Garden series.

Find it:  Goodreads │ Amazon │ Simon & Schuster

If you like this book, you should try:  The Girl Who Owned a CityThe Hunger Games
My review of Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano

Disclaimer:  I purchased this book myself.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.

This review was a part of the Catch Wither Fever Read-Along Event hosted by myself and Jessie at The Daily Bookmark.


  1. fakesteph

    April 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I might pick Fever up now. I like evil villians actually being evil, I do totally want to know what happens, and more action? Sounds good.

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      April 10, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      Yeah, I really think I liked this one more than Wither. But the eye stuff just hurt the rating.

  2. Hanna

    April 10, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Argh, I really, REALLY need to read Wither. All the sequels have been released for books I haven't read the first book of! Wither, Bumped, Delirium… I own them all but I STILL haven't read them!

    But ew. I don't like things happening to people's eyes either. Makes me all twitchy.

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      April 10, 2012 at 8:17 pm

      I haven't read Delirium or Bumped, either! I don't own them, but I totally need to read them, too!

      Glad to know I'm not the only one who gets creeped out by eye stuff!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Andrea @ Cozy Up

    April 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    I enjoyed this one a lot more than I liked reading Wither. I found that more seemed to happen in this book, and I really enjoyed Rhine a lot more in this one. There were still a few things that I didn't like, but I will definitely be reading the third book as well. Great review, and I know what you mean about the eye thing (I'm the same way!)

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      April 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      Yeah, I really think I did like this one a lot more than Wither, but the eye stuff kept the rating from getting any higher than my rating for Wither. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who feels that way about eye stuff!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. Jac

    April 11, 2012 at 4:34 am

    I liked this one more than Wither too, I think it was the Picturesque-ness of the surroundings, although there were some things about Fever that really bugged me – including the eye thing. But I also was bothered by lack of mentions of Linden early on. I am still curious as to how he handled the whole thing, I always felt bad for him.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      April 11, 2012 at 7:59 pm

      Yeah, I mean, I guess he really doesn't know very much about what's going on at all until near the end of this book. So it'll be interesting to see how he acts in book 3. Thanks for stopping by! ;)

  5. Bittner

    April 13, 2012 at 12:16 am

    I really did try to like Wither and I am sorry that I had so many problems with it. I wont be reading Fever, but I am glad that you liked it so much in spite of the scene with the eye thing.

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      April 15, 2012 at 11:48 pm

      Well, Wither's not for everyone! I do think I liked Fever better, though. But I understand not wanting to read it if you didn't like Wither!

  6. Debz

    April 15, 2012 at 2:52 am

    I just kind of scanned over your review since I haven't read Fever yet, but it sounds like you liked it. And I think being creeped out by eye stuff is a lot more common than you might think–I can't watch or read that stuff without getting queasy!
    And I'll warn you that Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (which is awesome and I totally recommend) has some creepy eye stuff in the end. So if you ever get around to reading it, remember that you've been warned!

    ~Debz @ Debz Bookshelf

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      April 16, 2012 at 2:50 am

      Thank you so much for the warning about Incarnate! I totally want to read it, but now that part won't sneak up on me! So thanks! ;)

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