Monday, March 12, 2012

Audiobook Review: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication Date:  February 21st, 2012

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 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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

I will star this review of Fever by reminding everyone that I absolutely LOVED its predecessor, Wither.  I was initially drawn to Wither because of its stunningly beautiful cover, and when that happens, I often find that they story doesn't measure up.  In this case, not only did the story measure up, but it far, far surpassed it.  If you are interested, read my full REVIEW of Wither, and check out where it ended up placing on my Top 25 Books of 2011 list.  If you haven't begun this beautifully written trilogy, you need to get started...

Now, for my actual review of Fever (book #2 in The Chemical Garden trilogy)...  Even though I have a print copy of this book (I had to have the almost-as-gorgeous cover to match my copy of Wither), I decided to listen to audio of this one.  I listened to the sample on Audible, and really liked the narrator, Angela Lin's, voice and interpretation of Rhine.  Her intonations and manner of speech were perfect- she sounded exactly as I imagined Rhine would sound if she were reading her own journal to me,  Her voice bleeds emotion and I felt the sadness of Rhine's situation on a much deeper and profound level than I would have, had I read this book to myself.  If you loved Wither, and want to feel a different level of connection while reading Fever, I would highly recommend the audio version (if you haven't read either, Angela Lin is the narrator of Wither as well, so I would give that one a go too).  As for the non-audio vs. print points, I am going to bullet point this review, like I did Wither...
  • The Cover~ I already mentioned this briefly, but it deserves mention again.  Almost as gorgeous as the cover of Wither, this is one of those books that I would have purchased even if it were made of suck, because I would want the cover in my collection.
  • The Writing~ Lauren DeStefano took a story that had many layers, and added many more to it, without anything becoming muddled.  She is amazingly adept at weaving plot points together, and her style is descriptive without being overly verbose.  I can't say that I liked the cliffhanger ending as well in this book as I did in Wither, but I still felt like it left off in the perfect place.  The pacing ebbed and flowed, and for this story, that kind of pacing is perfect.  The sadness of this story could never have been properly expressed if the pacing didn't slow from time to time.  I slow-read this one because I wanted to savor it.
  • The Characters~ In addition to a few characters from Wither, there are several new characters.  In every case, my feelings toward the characters were intense and sometimes, erratic; love, hate, empathy, fear, sometimes all of these at once for the same character.  I will say that I now look at both Gabriel and Rhine differently than I did in the first book.
  • The Story~ I never in a million years expected this story to go in the direction it went in!  It picks up exactly where Wither leaves off, and WOW!  It just knocked my socks off.  I can't even begin to go into it without totally spoiling, so it will have to suffice when I say that it brilliantly went places I could never have predicted.
  • The World Building~ This was one of my favorite parts of Wither, and nothing has changed here.  For me, some of the most vivid pictures from Fever were the flawless descriptions of the world surrounding Rhine and Gabriel.  I think the image of the ferris wheel at the beginning will stay with me for a long time.
Overall, I thought Fever was just as good as Wither.  Was it better?  Honestly, I can't say.  It depends on how the 3rd book plays out.  I really need to know how the story ends before I can say for sure; if it goes one way, then I think Fever was better, if it goes another way, then I kind of hate Fever's guts.   I will let you know in April of 2013!

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★+ 

Grade Level Recommendation: This book has some pretty graphic, adult themes, including forced prostitution, the murder of malformed children, and opiate abuse (some of it forced).  I recommended Wither for 9th grade and up, but said that content-wise, it was fine for 6th and up.  For this book I have to stick with the 9th+ recommendation, but this time on content as well. (ages 14 and up)


  1. I just can't get behind the premise of this story. It freaks me out. But, that's great that you enjoyed it yourself. The covers in the series are amazing!


  2. I too really enjoyed Whither! However, that said, I did NOT enjoy Fever at all. I just couldn't get passed the whole thing being a drug/sickness/withdrawal induced haze the entire time. Truthfully this book was a big let down for me. I felt as though little to nothing happened the whole book. : /

  3. So glad you enjoyed this book. I have just peeked at your review as I have to read. I loved Wither it was mad scientist creepy. I am looking forward to seeing what happens to Rhine .


  4. Owh! I really want to read this book!! You making me so excited..

  5. I've been meaning to read this one! Thanks for the review.

  6. To me it sounded like the narrator had a head cold when she read "Fever".


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