Fever, by Lauren DeStefano, was published in 2012 by Simon & Schuster. It is the sequel to Wither.
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.
I really wasn’t expecting Fever to be quite so, well…literal. But yes, most of the novel is one character or another wandering around in a state of fever. The last half of the book is just Rhine being delirious and sick and making strange decisions that are either the result of her sickness or the result of her awful characterization. Girl, you need to stop blaming Cecily for trying to make the best out of a situation for which she was raised and has no experience outside of that situation. It makes you appear shallow and selfish.
So, yes, I wasn’t pleased with the plodding plot, because Rhine is sick for most of it and nothing really happens, except at the end where Rhine becomes all fatalistic and then gets the burst of inspiration she needs to continue on with her goal, blah blah blah. And the one reveal we get is meant to be surprising, but I was just confused about what it meant. Does Rhine have the virus or is it just some form of withdrawal?
Also, I didn’t think Gabriel could get even less interesting than in the first book, but I was proven wrong. He is an incredibly bland character and I don’t buy his and Rhine’s romance or even their connection. Give him some personality, please.
The good points are that the writing is still good and at least DeStefano does her hardest to sell the more incomprehensible parts of her world. And the parts where Rhine and Gabriel are traveling, and their time in Manhattan, did have a striking dystopian feel to it, so kudos there.
Recommended Age Range: 14+
Warnings: Drugs and drug abuse, prostitution, implied sex, some graphic imagery.
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult
“So you can’t tell me where he is,” I say. It’s not a question.
“He is not as you remember him,” Annabelle says. “That is all I can tell you.”
“But he’s alive?” I say.
“I don’t see any indication that he isn’t.”
I hesitate, the next question staying on my tongue for a long time before I finally let it out. “Has he given up on me?”
Annabelle looked sympathetic. She gathers the cards back into one pile, tucks them safely away. “I am sorry,” she says. “I don’t know.”
Fever is a bit of trudge, because true to its name Rhine and Gabriel take turns being ill in some way or another and nothing much else happens. Rhine is an annoying character, because she thinks she has the right view on everything when she’s actually being selfish, and Gabriel is like an amorphous blob of a boy, so bland and personality-less that the scenes with him are more irritating than anything. I’ll still read the last book, but so far this trilogy is pretty shaky.
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