Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Sever is the third and final book in the Chemical garden trilogy, and as such this review contains ***SPOILERS*** about what happened in the previous books Wither and Fever.  If you like to read books in series order then read the first books in the series before reading any more of this review.

Rhine has been captured, forced into marriage, and then escaped into the world.  She has loved, she has lost, and she has been subjected to humiliation and forced experimentation at the hands of the cold and calculating Housemaster Vaughn.  She has tried to find her brother Rowan and has failed, and now he believes that she is dead and he is killing innocent people with the bombs he uses to destroy the labs that are researching a cure for the virus that ends their lives all too soon.  It is a world of treachery, tight social control, and threats hidden behind the veneer of love and concern. 

For the first time she is not alone in her disquiet, Cecily knows some of the things that have happened, and it seems as though even Linden is learning that things are not what they appear - but just as it seems they are making progress Housemaster Vaughn appears and strips away their sense of safety.  It seems as though their only option is to search for Rowan, to find him and learn the secrets hidden in the research from their parents lab - the research that Rhine now knows is missing from the backyard of the home they lived in.  It is a stressful time for everyone, and with divided loyalties Rhine may fail before she has even begun.

Sever is the final book in a trilogy that has been slowly ramping up the tension, building towards a secret, and ending that will leave you breathless with its finality ... unfortunately it doesn't quite deliver on that promise.  I have been reading the books as they have been released, and have not had time to reread the books in between, so it took me a few chapters to settle back into the story, but once I did it seemed as though the story was building towards a shocking conclusion, one that would be final or a true cliffhanger.  What we got was something of a let down, a weak ending for what had been an intriguing read.  I don't know if teen readers (the target audience) will feel the same way I do, but I do feel a little cheated, like the book was close to finished and DeStefano then rushed through the ending to just get it done.  There was a lot of promise here, and I can see a screen play in a few years or a TV series, but the ending would be re-written for more punch if that were to happen.

This was an interesting series with lots of different genre rolled in with the dystopian angle - romance, drama, action, adventure, intrigue - but as often happens the momentum ran out before the last pages of the book.  If you enjoyed the other books in the series you will (hopefully) enjoy Sever as well, just don't expect too much from the ending (and don't believe the bit about a "breathtaking conclusion" on the blurb).

If you like this book then try:
  • Wither by Lauren DeStefano
  • Fever by Lauren DeStefano
  • The hunger games by Suzanne Collins
  • What's left of me by Kat Zhang
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  • Eve by Anna Carey
  • Adaptation by Melinda Lo
  • The forest of hands and teeth by Carrie Ryan
  • Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
  • XVI by Julia Karr

Reviewed by Brilla

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