Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wither and Fever by Lauren DeStefano

 Title: Wither
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Chemical Garden #1
Number of Pages: 358
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Source: My copy 

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?

Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?(

This is one of those series that I really don't know what took me so long to read. I loved Wither so much that I devoured it one day. I can't remember the last time I flew through a book so fast!

This world just captivated me. I know it seems like your typical YA Dystopian novel, but the characters just pulled at my heart. I loved that Rhine was pissed at being kidnapped and while she eventually grew to like the other women she lived with, and Linden, whom she is forced to marry she still never really feels entirely comfortable or forgets where she came from.  The other wives she shares Linden with are equally as great. They each adjust to their situation differently, and all have a different relationship with Linden.  I have to admit, I didn't think I would like Linden at all. I mean, he got his wives by kidnapping them. Even if that is normal in this world, it's still creepy! However, not all is as it seems and Linden just pulled at my heartstrings because he's as much a victim of this world as Rhine and the girls are.

There is a love triangle in this book, and I have to admit this is the first time in a long time where I actually liked both sides of the triangle. Each guy had their good points, and I liked them both equally. No one was shocked more then me when I realized that I couldn't pick a side!!!

I was about halfway through the book when I realized that the ending would be a cliffhanger and I ordered the second book for my kindle. I have to admit, the cliffhanger was a bit predictable, but I still had to find out what happened to Rhine next!

***Warning*** May contain a few spoilers if you have not read book one. 

Title: Fever 
Author: Lauren DeStefano 
Series: Chemical Garden #2
Genre: YA Dystopian 
Number of Pages: 341
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Childrens Publishing 
Source: My copy

 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.

I'll be the first to admit-these covers are awful. Had I not been a huge fan of YA Dystopian stories, I really think these books would have passed me by had I been shopping for titles at a bookstore or library. That being said, I'm glad I didn't judge this series by the covers because I would have missed out on a truly interesting world.

Second books in a  series are hard. They are almost all filler books to continue the series. This one was no different. While I really enjoyed Fever, there were parts of it that just bored me and found myself skimming to get to the end, because I knew that Rhine and Gabriel were in for a rocky journey.

Their journey was indeed rocky, but when certain events happened and things were revealed, I had found myself questioning a few things. *spoiler* (use your highlighter to see what I questioned.) For instance, if Rhine and Gabriel had tracking devices, what on earth took Housemaster Vaughn so long to catch up with them???? Also, why on earth didn't Rhine plan ahead with food and stuff? I thought they were much too trusting with people.*/spoiler*

All in all though, I really enjoyed Fever and devoured both books in a matter of days. I ended up rating the books five stars because even though I skimmed a bit in book two, I was still glued to the pages to find out what happened next and can't remember the last time I was so excited about a series. Thank you Lauren DeStefano for giving me my reading mojo back!!! I can't wait to find out what happens next in Sever!