Monday, December 9, 2013
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2013
YA Dystopia Conclusion
I fell hard for the cover of first book Wither and while neither it nor sequel Fever completely earned my love, I was engaged enough to follow the series through to its conclusion. I think my main my problems are that I have never fully felt engaged with Rhine who has seemed very removed, that my favorite parts are the interaction with the other sister wives which was most prominent in book one, and that I like husband Linden over servant Gabriel even if she had freedom only in choosing the latter.
My main feeling from this book is that it made me feel like I was in a drugged-out haze too following Rhine around as she tries to find her twin brother Rowan and escape the machinations of Vaughn. She just seems so personality free to me. On an intellectual level, I understand not wanting to be forced into marriage, wanting to find a cure so that you don't die at age 20, and wanting to be reunited with your sole living relative. But I never felt those in the character of Rhine. When I connect with a book, I feel the main character's pain and struggles no matter how much they vary from my own life experiences. Never the case here.
Remember how I mentioned potential love interests Linden and Gabriel? Both get pretty shabby treatment here. If you were invested in romance between Rhine and either guy, I think you will be pretty disappointed. Neither boy's life wrapped up in a satisfying fashion. Vaughn's ultimate fate is the more pleasing one though still strangely anticlimatic to me.
Another disappointment to me is the reference to Chemical Gardens. That is the title for the trilogy and yet I feel like it's only in this book that we start exploring what that means and not even in full detail. I have read all three books and I'm still not sure I could explain what they are. (I think they are where Rhine's parents experimented to come up with a cure.)
As I wrote this review, I realize I pretty much only had complaints and yet I gave it 4 stars. My rating system is obviously a bit bonkers but 4 is really the rating I felt in my gut when I completed the book. While I had hoped for an ending to completely blow me away, I do accept the ending in this book and I am very aware that I've read more disappointing conclusions. Hope is a big theme in the novel and that is what ultimately redeems it for me. I want to live in a world with hope and I like that this book allows for this even if other areas were less than for me.
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