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.
I actually sort of liked the first book, Wither; enough to give it four stars. But unfortunately, Fever didn’t do so well. It suffers from severe Book 2 Syndrome.
I hate to say it after liking the first book, but Fever is just plain boring. Rhine and Gabriel run away and get caught in a creepy brothel-carnival before again escaping into the city to find Rhine’s brother Rowan. There’s a little bit of action in the end and we finally find out what those stupid June Beans from the first book were all about, but that’s it. It’s a slow pace for a book that’s only a little over 300 pages and that’s why it seems like it’s much, much longer. Face it: the plot is just boring and the pacing was too slow.
So let’s talk about characters. Rhine and Gabriel didn’t really change all that much from the first book. Rhine got a tiny bit more cynical, but that’s essentially it. She really has no character development in Fever; she just sort of reacts to events unfolding around her like she pretty much always has. And I hate that in a particularly spoiler-y situation, she still hasn’t learned to keep her mouth shut and stop herself from blurting out the wrong things. Rhine lacks subtlety, as she always has. Gabriel is just sort of your Generic Male Love Interest, there to protect her whenever she needs it and to make out with her but obviously never have sex with her. He looked like he was almost a good character in the first book, but he’s pretty one dimensional in this one.
What about world-building? Well, unfortunately, we learn nothing further about why the genetic modification in children left them with a decreased life expectancy and a horrible new way of life once society realized that. The older generations are still trying to hold it together and the younger generations are essentially contributing to the anarchy of society by not really caring what they do because they’re going to be dead soon anyway. We get to see vague flashes of the people in power, which is fine, but I really would have liked for there to be a little more information about the science of Lauren DeStefano’s world. It doesn’t have to be hard science fiction, but some information would have been nice, even if it were just mentioned in passing.
Essentially, except for the last few pages, Fever was a rather boring disappointment. The next book Sever has potential, but I really wish that DeStefano hadn’t dropped the ball so bad on her second book in the trilogy. It’s a textbook case of Book 2 Syndrome, unfortunately. I’m still probably going to end up reading book 3 despite that, but I am seriously having doubts about this trilogy right now.
I give this book 2/5 stars.