Fever by Lauren DeStefano [website | twitter]
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Release Date: February 21, 2012
Pages: 341 pages
Format: ARC received from Lena at Addicted 2 Novels (Thanks, Lena!)
Why I read it: It’s the sequel to Wither!
Summary: Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion. Their goal is go get back to Manhattan to find Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. Along the way, they become trapped at a carnival of prostitutes. The country has gotten worse in the year Rhine was locked away as a bride, and Vaughn is still determined to bring her home to the mansion.
When I read Wither last year, these were some of the reactions I had to the book:
“I really enjoy books that take me to a place that I’ve never considered, and certainly never read about before. For those reasons, I applaud the author. There were situations that DeStefano wrote brilliantly that could not have been written any other way.”
“The writing was beautiful. Incredibly well done. I felt the emotions, pain, struggle, suffocation, conflict, and confusion that Rhine, the main character, went through.”
When I look back at my review of Wither, I realize how many questions I had pertaining to the world and the setting, how uncomfortable the story made me, but also how much it intrigued me. There was a lot of description so the reader would have a sense for how Rhine felt being forced into a polygamous marriage with Linden. I felt the anxiety and freedom when she was finally able to escape the mansion with Gabriel.
Book two, Fever, picks up immediately where book one ended. We see Rhine and Gabriel on the run where they are soon captured and taken to an old, broken down carnival. That same sickening sense of something is wrong here washed over me. Many girls who were rejected as wives had found a home at the carnival and were being pimped out to nasty men. It seemed as though the girls had lost hope and were biding their time; after all, they were going to die when they hit 20 anyway.
I’m not going to go into much more detail about what happens at the carnival; it’s definitely something the reader should experience on their own. I felt the pacing was a lot slower in Fever (but I wouldn’t say this is a bad thing). DeStefano definitely took her time building the story and making me anxious for something to happen. The timing allowed the characters to devise plans and it made the details of the setting sink in. I am a very impatient person, so I did want fast answers and more information because I feared there were things that would happen – would Vaughn (Rhine’s father-in-law) catch up to them?
The story felt a lot like this to me:
learn. learn. learn. learn. BAM! ACTION. learn. learn…
With the slower pacing, DeStefano surprised me a lot. Because there was so much build up, many moments or twists made me feel unprepared. They took me by surprise, in the best of ways, and I loved not knowing when to expect the next big turn. I found the story to be unpredictable and I felt extremely engaged.
Overall, I feel like I enjoyed Fever more than Wither. It’s rare to feel that way about a sequel, but I knew to expect uncomfortable situations in DeStefano’s writing. I accepted the world a bit more, and really enjoyed the grittiness of seeing the life outside of the mansion. The events felt more believable and DeStefano has me aching to find out what happens next.
If you read Wither last year, you definitely need to pick up Fever!