Dystopian, Young Adult

Guess what? I got a fever!

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

The Skinny: After their escape from Housemaster Vaughn and Linden, Rhine and Gabriel suddenly find themselves in a world free from confinement. What they didn’t count on was what waited for them on shore. The two are captured, thrown into a world neither had ever seen but both had always heard of. As they come to realize their plan wasn’t as sound as they once thought, they both must find strength to continue, fighting to survive in a world that was supposed to be an escape.

So, this summary was a little harder to write because there’s SO much that happens in this book and I didn’t want to give an ounce of it away!

BFF?: I love Rhine. I truly do. But I hate the fact that despite my love of her, she’s not very trustworthy and, after reading Fever, she’s not very bright. I don’t mean she’s unintelligent – she’s crazy smart and cunning. What I mean is that she’s so wrapped up in this idea of escape, finding her brother and returning to her home that she misses the “what ifs” of life. Such as, what if my brother isn’t waiting for me? What if we get captured? What if my father-in-law lo-jacked me and is coming after me right now? She also ignores the warnings of others, dead set on her plans despite obstacles others may be able to see. She’s like that friend who asks you if you think it’s a good idea to go home with a guy she met at the bar and you tell her vehemently “No, this is a bad idea. A very very VERY bad idea.” And then she proceeds to do so. So yeah… I love Rhine, but seriously, the girl’s gotta listen to others better.

Readability: DeStefano’s writing caught me hook, line, and sinker in Wither; Fever is no exception. In fact, I’d be willing to bet my reputation as a blogger (whatever it may be) that the writing in Fever is better than in Whither. And by better, I mean crazy creepier and edgier. Reading this was like getting sucked in by a hypnotizing show – you read the words, get lost to everything around you, and become part of the prettiness of the world. It’s not until something draws you out that you realize you were lost.

Crush Level: 6, 7
I know, I know… on my review of Wither I was all gung-ho about Gabriel. He was really sexy and sweet and wonderful… all those great things that make up a good YA love interest. But then I listened to the audiobook of Wither and I dunno… my mind slightly changed. I still liked Gabriel, but realized he didn’t play THAT big of a role in the book for me to fall in love with him. Instead I might have developed a tiny crush on Linden. Gabriel was more front and center in Fever, and I sort of got to like him, because he still was sexy and sweet and wonderful. But I thought he was a little bit… whiney? Although I don’t think he ever expressly said it, you could tell the entire time he wasn’t happy they left. He missed his comfortable life and seemed to regret leaving with Rhine.

But then Linden showed back up and yeah… mild-mannered patsy Linden was no more. He was harder, sterner, confident… all things that scream “I must have you!” for some reason. Therefore… Gabriel got a 6, Linden a 7.

Bonus Points:
Creepy Circus

At the beginning of the book Rhine and Linden are kidnapped and taken to an old circus turned brothel. Regardless of the brothel, I loved the atmosphere of the circus – I thought it was a very good metaphor (is this correct?) for the world Rhine just left. A beautiful, fanciful place hiding the corruption and danger that lies underneath. And who doesn’t love a spooky abandoned circus popping up in books?

Fortune Telling

There’s really something strange about fortunes being told. I think it’s the mysteriousness of it, the magic behind it. I’ve never gotten my fortune told, but think it would be extremely neat to have it done. I’ve always loved tarot cards and what each mean  and how they all play together. It’s kind of interesting, whether I truly believe in it or not.

Cringe-worthy scenes

There are SO many scenes in this book that make you cringe or want to look away. I’ve never been good with movies like Saw due to my low gross-out tolerance level so for me, reading some parts of this was like watching one of those movies. Even now, as I’m writing this, my toes are curling just thinking about some of the scenes. (seriously, read this book so we can discuss)

Commencement Speech: Well, Ms. DeStefano, you’ve done it again – captured me so completely and left me hanging so thoroughly I’m not sure what to do with myself.

Although there were a few draggy bits towards the middle, I can’t express how much I actually loved Fever. I never thought anything less, of course, but was pleasantly surprised just how much it was NOT like Wither. I sometimes feel like the second book in a series is always centered around a journey where the main character begins to realize things just went from bad to worse. While Fever was no exception to this, it was so fresh and different that it managed to break the second book mold while sticking completely to it. We get to see Rhine’s character develop into this person we no longer know, who takes us on twists and turns and surprises us just as she surprises herself. What I found most interesting was how her actions changed everyone around her – Gabriel, Cecily, Linden, her brother – in Wither we’re so focused on Rhine’s escape that we, like her, don’t bother to think of how it’ll effect others. Fever shows us just how it did, making not only Rhine deeper, but adding depth to existing characters and giving them their own challenges.

Fever also presents to us new settings, some worse than others – we finally get to see this hell of a world Rhine exists in, the one that exists outside the mansion. It was fantastic, to be honest, to see how gritty and scary it truly was. DeStefano doesn’t hesitate to make us gasp, adding scenes (as I mentioned above) that make you cringe and want to look away, all the while wanting to know more about the horrors that exist. In short…. read this book.

Yearbook Quote: “You were something great in a past life,” she says. “A siren, maybe, or a mermaid.” 

Superlatives – Most likely to make your toes curl in horror

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9 thoughts on “Guess what? I got a fever!”

  1. Yay glad you enjoyed Fever too. So fascinating to see life outside the mansion and how dark and dangerous it is. And yes to your points about the creepy circus. I can see what you mean about Rhine – she was kind of in a fog in this one. I still really like Linden but don’t have a good feeling about them. And that Cecily!

    Can’t wait to see what happens with the last book. But we have so long to wait!

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  2. I know that we’ve discussed the weird crushiness of Linden, but when you say he comes back stern and more confident, suddenly I’m very excited. I love that pasty little pansy, but give me s confident guy any day! You’ve made me totally excited to read this!

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    1. I know, right? I think I’m way more excited about guys that start off sort of passive and then get confident and bossy and yummo! I wonder what that says about me… 🙂 I’m glad I’ve helped you get excited to read Fever; it was great!

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  3. I just read Wither for a read-along, and I thought it was a bit overrated, so I’m checking out reviews to see how the sequel stands. I thought one main flaw was that the secret evil deeds of Linden’s father never came to light, so it seems fairly obvious that Rhine isn’t going to get too far away from him. I’m still confused why kidnapping is so common, whether it’s for brides or brothels or anything….

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    1. Yeah… Linden’s father does play a larger role in this book which, as you said, was pretty obvious. But some of it is so creepy that it kind of caught me off guard.

      I get why the kidnapping is done – as far as “getting” it goes – but what bothers me is the role women sometimes seem to play in dystopian novels. Like they’ve been demoted to baby machines or pretty objects. Not so sure why this is such a common theme.

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      1. Well, from observing some of the very feminist women I know, being literally forced to have children probably is one of their worst nightmares….

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