Tag Archives: The Chemical Garden

Sever (The Chemical Gardens #3) – Lauren DeStefano


Sever (The Chemical Gardens #3) – Lauren DeStefanoTitle: Sever (The Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano
Publishing Info: February 12, 2013 by Simon & Schuster
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 1, 2013
Related Posts: Wither (The Chemical Garden #1), Fever (The Chemical Garden #2)

    With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.
    Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.
    In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.


I admit it. I was nervous to start reading SEVER. I absolutely fell in love with the beautiful writing and the insane story line of WITHER when I first picked it up in June of last year and then quickly followed it up with FEVER…. and felt disappointed. FEVER just didn’t do it for me. Where I loved the first book, I felt removed from the whole original plot in the second and I just felt lost and isolated (which I guess is what Rhine was feeling too, but even still… I don’t think the readers should feel so lost).

In SEVER, I found comfort of being back in Florida and — however creepy it may be — back in Vaughn’s territory. What I loved about this book was that it ends exactly like it should. The readers get answers that have been questions from book one, and some are answers to issues we didn’t even know existed. One of the best parts was having something shocking revealed that was hidden ever since book one, and then I thought back on it and it totally made sense – I just never knew that idea even existed! There are some amazing twists in this book that had me shouting, gasping, and crying. It was a pretty emotional journey… (see below)

I loved that we got to spend more time with some of the original characters that we were missing in book two like Cecily and Linden, and their stories are woven back in with Rhine’s. There are also some great new characters, especially Reed (Linden’s uncle — don’t worry, no spoilers!) and we finally get to learn more about Rowan, who I’ve been curious about the entire book!

The biggest question for me whenever I finish a series is “How did it wrap up?”‘ and I think Lauren DeStefano did a great job of tying up loose ends and giving us a clear picture about what lies ahead for the characters we’ve all grown to love. The only thing I was still left wanting was just a bit more information about The Chemical Gardens. I feel like we were given an explanation, but I was hoping for a little more depth and origin of the name, especially since it’s the name of the whole series. Also, Gabriel is pretty absent the whole book (for a reason, but still). I just really wanted more Rhine-Gabriel interaction to kind of solidify their relationship to make that a little more concrete. Other than that, I was very satisfied with the ending. It kind of fit perfectly and I don’t see any other way it could have wrapped up.


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Rhine: Rhine’s determination has always felt real to me. Ever since she was first brought to the mansion, she’s had a spirit of independence and the need to break free and find her brother so it never felt forced that she was always inching towards her main goal. She kept the plot moving and I really felt like Lauren DeStefano kept her actions true to her character.
Linden: Linden really started to grow on me! Obviously he’s kind of a conundrum in WITHER because Rhine is forced to marry him without zero choice in the matter, but getting to know Linden in the books shows what a kind and gentle person he really is.
Cecily: Cecily has always been one of my favorite characters. She always felt like such a real person to me with such a natural range of emotions. She did a lot of growing up in SEVER and it was so interesting to see that character development. I’d say she’s the character who changed the most throughout the whole series and I loved watching that progression.
Vaughn: Still creepy. Still love how perfect of a villain he is. Still love to hate him.
Reed: Reed is Linden’s uncle, Vaughn’s brother. He’s a great addition to this story and another lively character. I think readers will love him, so I can’t wait to hear people’s reactions to him.


Buy it!

I thought this was a really great finish to the series. I know some people had some mixed feelings but I really enjoyed it.


     Wither (The Chemical Gardens #1)      Fever (The Chemical Gardens #2)

TGIF – August 17, 2012

It’s time for TGIF again, thanks to Ginger at GReads!

So this week’s TGIF topic is:
Pimp Your Review: Feature a favorite book review you’ve written in the past that you feel deserves more love!

Okay, so here are a couple of my favorite reviews! In case you haven’t seen them, here’s your chance to fangirl with me 🙂

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins – Posted 8/6/12
Where She Went by Gayle Forman – Posted 6/26/12
Wither by Lauren DeStefano – Posted 6/1/12

Okay, I think that’ll do it for some of my favorite reviews. Hope you like ’em!

Fever (Chemical Garden #2) – Lauren DeStefano

Fever (Chemical Garden #2) – Lauren DeStefanoTitle: Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren DeStefano
Publishing Info: February 21, 2012 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Library
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: July 8, 2012
Related Posts: Wither (The Chemical Garden #1), Sever (The Chemical Garden #1)

    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.


I must admit that I really enjoyed the second half much more than the first. For some reason, I’m seeing an extremely common trend (although logical, it still somewhat irritates me) for dystopia sequels to take place in a completely different setting/world than the one in which we originally got to know our main characters (PANDEMONIUM, CROSSED, now FEVER). The first sections of Fever are spent predominately in Madame’s run-down and somewhat horrific prison of a carnival which Rhine and Gabriel cannot escape. I understand that since they’re on the run, they obviously will not have the same kind of setting as the mansion, but I think I was just frustrated how long that whole scenario took before we started moving on the journey again. I expected a lot more movement and running and I think it took a while for me to get really into it.

That being said, I still really enjoyed it! Once we got a little bit more involved in the story and we brought back some more ties between Rhine and the mansion, it really started to pick up for me! One thing I really liked about WITHER so much was the mystery behind Vaughn and what his “experiments” really did entail, why he was so interested in Rhine, etc — So once we started getting back to those questions, I got a lot more intrigued than just “we’re in a tight spot and we need to get out of here before we get trapped”. I think the intrigue is definitely what made me like WITHER so much so I was glad to see that come back towards the middle/end.

As for the romance, I loved seeing the budding relationship start between Rhine and Gabriel in the first book, but in Fever, they had so many obstacles to face and they really needed to be strong and brave more often than not, so we didn’t really get to see a lot of the romance develop. That being said, I actually wasn’t really disappointed by it… I was caught up in the action and the fight that was going on and I was okay with the romance being put on the back burner.

I’m not sure how I feel about the story of Lilac and Maddie being woven in with Rhine’s. Unless there’s more to it than that in the third book, I felt like it was maybe a little unnecessary. It was a nice story and all, but I didn’t feel like it had much relevance to pushing the story forward. I feel like I could have taken those characters out, and we could have focused more on Rhine and Gabriel and I would have been okay with that.

I just loved the end! Once again, Lauren DeStefano figured out how to hook me back in and violently flip through the pages so I can see how it ends! No surprise that we cliffhangered again, but now we’re all so impatiently waiting for SEVER that I can’t wait to read it too.


4/5 stars
I definitely enjoyed WITHER more. I think it had a lot more character development and I loved the relationships between Rhine and her “sister wives” a lot in that book, as well as the sort of rivalry between Linden and Gabriel. FEVER was a lot more action, a lot more running, a lot more on the move, and I think that took precedence over a lot of the relationship developments that I loved so much in the first book. Still a really fun read, but WITHER is my chosen favorite so far!


Delirium/Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver — Another great Lauren writing some awesome dystopia. If you haven’t read DELIRIUM yet and you like the Chemical Garden series, I highly recommend picking it up! Definitely one of my favorite books, and it’s so lyrical and moving. 
Matched by Ally Condie — I feel like this is another great match as far as similar series goes. So many of the same situations, love stories, and fighting for your life.

Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) – Lauren DeStefano

Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) – Lauren DeStefanoTitle: Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano
Publishing Info: March 22, 2011 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Library
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 1, 2012
Related Posts: Fever (The Chemical Garden #2), Sever (The Chemical Garden #1)

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 years--leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek 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 sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet 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 has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive.
    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?


Okay, at first, I was kind of creeped out with the child bride stuff. The youngest girl Cecily is only 13 when she becomes Linden’s bride and since she is the most eager after being rescued from an orphanage, she immediately becomes the favorite to bear Linden’s children and is pregnant at 13. Pretty messed up. But taking into account what the book is all about, I guess that really does make sense in this messed up future world. Children have to be parents to new children in order to be around at all to raise them, and Linden’s three brides are there to preserve the human race and carry on his family before they are all wiped out.

Putting that aside… I loved it. I loved Rhine as the heroine of this book. She doesn’t have to fight to be strong. She knows that her strongest bet is to play along with the marriage and all the while bide her time while she finds the perfect escape strategy. I got so wrapped up in the story and it was really interesting to see all the tangles of relationships that Rhine has with all of the members in the house. I loved her relationship with her sister wives. They really do become sisters and furthermore, you really get to see each of the personalities of Rhine, Jenna, and Cecily and really get to know them. Lauren DeStefano does a great job of really getting you to know the girls and I felt like I could picture the story as it was happening. Great descriptions and I really felt connected to each of the girls.

Housemaster Vaughn. Where do I begin? He is accurately described as Dr. Frankenstein in the book. He’s a doctor and so desperate to find a cure for this disease so his son won’t die. Rhine seriously doubts the girls mean anything to him and his charm is pure cover and makes her (and me) shiver with the disgusting sweetness he plays out. Rhine is sure that he’s testing on anyone who dies from this disease to find a cure, all the while keeping Linden as his puppet, completely clueless about what’s really going on. Vaughn is the one who Rhine must hide from in order to stay safe and stay alive to escape from their prison — I mean, mansion.

I really enjoyed the story and I was hooked! Great characters, very interesting plot line, and I can’t wait to read the second book!!


Read it!

Really loved it! A lovely dystopian world (although a bit creepy) and I just couldn’t put it down!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE WITHER