‘Fever’ better left unpublished
Published: Friday, September 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2012 00:09
If you enjoy a compilation of several different genres and constant sorrow shoved into one book, then perhaps “Fever” by Lauren DeStefano, the second installment to “The Chemical Garden Trilogy”, is up your alley.
There isn’t much focus on sickness in the story until the very end. However, it does manage to cram science fiction, a love story, a post-apocalypse plot, mystery and survival all into one book. I’m not quite sure if DeStefano couldn’t decide on one genre alone, or if her brainstorming session got out of control. The story does not get off to a good start and continues to become stranger and stranger with each page.
The story starts off where the first book “Wither” left off. The main character, Rhine, escapes from an arranged marriage and her sister wives because polygamy is quite common in this alternative world. She runs away with her friend, Gabriel, who used to be a servant. The plot is already complex, but suddenly, it twists into something even stranger. Rhine and Gabriel end up being imprisoned in a weird carnival that turns out to be a brothel with an exotic Madame in charge of the show and young boys guarding the brothel.
Here’s the weird part: they are living in a post-apocalyptic world where women only live to the age of 20 while men live to 25 because of some outlandish genetic malfunction. There is an attempt at a cure, but there are few details about its development.
Rhine and Gabriel befriend one of the prostitutes, Lilac, who has a mute child, named Maddie. Together, the three characters plan to escape this odd carnival. As the plot continues to thicken, we also learn that Rhine is desperately trying to get to Manhattan to find her twin brother, Rowan. Overall, there is a lot happening all at once, not to mention the fact that Rhine is starting to show the symptoms of the sickness women get when they are about to die at age 20, even though she’s only 17.
The book is all over the place, and not in a good way. It spits out too many details of a ridiculous setting that I cannot wrap my mind around. With too many genres crammed into one story, there is too much happening. The book is also a real downer. There is absolutely no hope for some type of happiness for the characters-just a continuation of sorrow and eternal hopelessness. On the plus side, the book is a quick read and the author does a decent job painting a picture in your mind of this exotic alternative world with vivid details.
Unfortunately, there is still one more book to the trilogy that publishers will allow to be printed, which is a true shame, since it’s not nice to waste paper.