Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Just Finished Reading ... Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Sever 
by Lauren DeStefano
To be published by Simon and Schuster BFYR
on February 12, 2013

Source: ARC borrowed from Around the World ARC tours




Summary adapted from Goodreads:  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.

My take: I'm a huge fan of this series. Lauren DeStefano is not just a wonderful writer, she's one of those rare authors who can fully imagine an amazing, unique world and then invite readers to step into it.  If it's been a while since you've visited, my review of Fever (with a recap of Wither) is here.  And this review will be spoiler-free!

I am entirely powerless.

As Sever opens, Rhine seems diminished. She's been through a lot in Fever, the prior book, and she's both physically weakened and mentally exhausted. As in the other two books in this trilogy, she's trying to get back to her brother Rowan, and in this book she will receive some help from both new friends and also people from her past. Rhine thinks she understands who in her world is evil and who is good, but she may have to rethink some of those preconceptions. She'll also have to accept help, to trust others, and to face everything that has happened to her and everything she has done.

To me, the endings of books (and trilogies) need to be both satisfying to the reader and fitting to the spirit of the trilogy. I think Sever did a wonderful job of tying up both the plot and the relationship strands of the story. It resolves, in one way or another, Rhine's feelings about and ties to Linden, to her sister wives, to her brother Rowan, and to Gabriel. I did not go into Sever expecting a warm and fuzzy happily ever after, because these books depict a post-apocalyptic world where hope and despair live side by side. Yes, there is tragedy in Sever, and there is also hope.

Maybe hope isn't the most dangerous thing a person can have. Maybe love is worse.

In a world in which women don't live to be older than twenty, in which babies die, in which lives are sacrificed in the name of science, love seems like a foolish endeavor. In Sever, Rhine will find love in some very unexpected places. Does this mean she finally ends up with Gabriel? My lips are sealed! All I will say is that I loved the fact that Sever didn't focus solely on the overdone love triangle or the swoony romance. I think love is the best kind of hope, and I loved the fact that Sever looked at many different kinds of love: between parent and child, between siblings, and between people who are bonded together through shared experience.

Another of my favorite things about the Chemical Garden trilogy is the way that, across the three books, Lauren DeStefano explores the tensions and interplay between opposing concepts. She repeatedly contrasts nature and science, beauty and grotesquery, creation and destruction, sameness and difference. She loves oxymorons, like the "chemical garden" and the twins with their heterochromic eyes. She writes complex characters who are both selfish and kind, both evil and loving, both foolish and wise.

I think I could read these books a dozen times and find something new with each reading. For me, the Chemical Garden trilogy, was a unique and amazing reading experience, one I will be sad to see end.

Have you read any books in this series?

33 comments:

  1. Amazing review Jen! I really can't wait to lick this one up! I love Fever and Wither and so can't wait to dive into thus one! I can't wait to see how Linden, Gabriel, and Rhine work things out! :)

    Happy Reading! :)

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  2. Beautiful review. I haven't read this series yet but it always makes me happy when readers are happy with the conclusion.

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    1. After reading 1200 pages, or whatever, I'm always thrilled when things seem to end in a way that fits the story and the characters.

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  3. I've read the first two and have been eagerly awaiting the finale! I may be morbid but I'm actually kind of hoping for some of the main characters to reach the age of death and actually die-it would show the real stakes of this world so well.

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  4. I liked Wither, but Fever was a little meh for me...until the end, anyway. I do love the writing, though. I'm excited to see how it all ends, though I'll be sad it's over, too.

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  5. I just skimmed because I still need to read this one. It sounds great though and glad it tied it up well.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  6. I had to skip everything because I only read Fever. I need to read the rest then come back. I LOVE the covers. They're my favorite out of all YA.

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  7. She needs to rethink who is evil and who is good, huh? EEP! I actually pre-ordered this one and look forward to it arriving so I can see how it ends! :)

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    1. Eeep is right. There's a lot of interesting stuff here!

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  8. I have wither and fever but haven't read them yet, I also say that far too often! I really need to get some more of my own books read this year!
    I'm so glad that you enjoyed this and would even re-read it, I hate when the end of a series comes and it's a let down.
    Great review :)

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    1. Well, this is not the cheeriest of stories, but it's just so ... interesting!

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  9. I only skimmed this since I haven't read Fever yet. I have it, I just haven't gotten to it lol!! I did read your last paragraph though and I'm glad to see that the series as a whole is awesome and you loved this one.

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    1. I did love this series and I thought the ending was very fitting!

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  10. Like Amy I'm afraid to look too closely at this because I've yet to start Fever. I'm planning on reading that one by the end of the month and then I will be back to comment:)

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  11. I am with the two above, I skimmed because I have yet to start this series at all. I need your expert opinion on it! WIll I love it? Both you and Asheley are raving about these books, so I'm thinking I should give it a go. I keep hearing they're INTENSE. Big question: IS THERE A TRIANGLE? I have heard yes, and no. I don't mind "weak" or "false" triangles, but I'm staying away from the ones that go back and forth between two guys for several books. Give me the skinny! Should I jump right in?

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    1. Hmm yea there is some how BUT I will say it fits very well into the story ... Its not a typical love triangle...its done well and no it doesn't feel like its a going back and forth thing... Read, its a very good trilogy

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    2. I agree with Cinthia. At the beginning of book one, Rhine is kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriage. Then she starts having feelings for someone else. Then it gets very complicated.

      So it's NOT the "OMG two hot boys are in love with me" kind of YA triangle. It's kind of interesting.

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  12. I haven't read book one yet, but I heard it was really good <3 so I cannot wait to read it. Wonderful review!

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    1. I did not think I would like it, but the story world is just so dark and beautiful, all at the same time.

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  13. I always worry about how a trilogy will end. I'm hoping that Rhine can FINALLY find Rowan! LOL It feels like that poor girl has gone through so much to get to him. I hope Linden helps her. He owes her that much and I was happy she finally popped his oblivious bubble at the end of Fever. I hope she finds Gabriel too and that they find a cure and can all live HEA! But it is a sad book so I'm guessing it won't end in all rainbows and sunshine. Might have to go hunt some spoilers! hehe

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    1. My lips are sealed. But I think all the loose ends get tied up. So to speak.

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  14. There is nothing quite like a really satisfying final book in a trilogy/series. Glad you enjoyed this one.

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  15. Another series I'm waiting to be complete before I begin. This will be great I feel.

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  16. I read Wither and Fever in 2 days. It was an easy read and I felt the story line flowed very well. You are right the love triangle isn't typical and I couldn't help but feel some sort of "Stockholm syndrome" like feelings for the sister brides. I cant wait to read the 3 book Sever but all sites I've tried wont have it available to the public until tomorrow, 2/12/13. Tell me how does one get lucky enough to preview books early?

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    1. That's a very good way to put it, though I'd argue that Rhine does begin to have real feelings of affection for the other wives and even Linden.

      As for your question: as a book blogger, I am sometimes lucky enough to get early copies of books so that I can review them prior to publication.

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