Book Review MARCH 1st
Chemical Garden Trilogy Book #3 SEVER
by: Lauren DeStefano★★★★★ 5 STARS
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.
So finally my wait for Sever came to an end. Soon as the release day came, I was hounding my co-workers at the library to get it to me. Within a few days my dreams came true and I finished it the same day. I cannot even explain in words how excited I was to read this book. Finally we get the end of Rhine's journey and this book is even more captivating than the rest. The prior two books, though a lot happens, they seem to be slower pace and not as dramatic. Sever breaches these gaps and takes everything we've learned in books one and two to the limit. Vaughn is eviler than ever, Rowan's extracurricular activities come with a shocking twist, Cecily continues to age far beyond her years, Gabriel is still MIA and Linden has to come to terms with both his father's nefarious ways and Rhine's choice to leave.
AHHHHH!! I loved it, practically every little thing. However, the end left a bit to be desired. Considering the slow pace of most of the book, the end came at a surprise. It was rather rushed and with no real epilogue I was sort of let down. Is it so wrong to want a glimpse of everyone's happily ever after??
What I Liked
Since the first book, I had a hard time connecting with Cecily. Perhaps because of her age of the or her willingness to become a wife and mother at such a young age. Cecily pulls through majorly in this book. I almost feel bad at this point because she is only 14, a wife and mother, and surprisingly happy and at peace in her role. I was worried for her when she has her mysterious injury early on in the book.
My fondness for Linden grew in Sever as well. Even with X amount of wives he somehow seems to love them all individually and for real. I think seeing him deal with Rhine's choice and ultimately letting her go made him stronger in my eyes. Aside from the fact he has to face facts and evil truths about his father. No one wants to believe their only family is their worst betrayer and though Linden fights the truth, he begins to see the light.
I loved how working with Vaughn was the only way. Granted when Rhine just blindly followed her brother I was shocked. I understood her need to be with him and not separated again, but after all Vaughn had done, I thought she would manipulate the situation or tell her brother the truth. Vaughn is still not seen as human, in my eyes, but he plays a different role in this book. Rather than hold people captive and torture them he uses them of their own free will. And boy does he bring a surprise. He's just so good at being evil, you can't help but admire him for that but at the end of the day still hate him every bit as before.
The imagery was remarkable. Example, "The sky is still pink, undercooked." Page 59 ( I mean who says that!!!)
Nothing in their world is rational. Everything is controlled, manipulated and determined by higher powers. Even Vaughn we learn is subject to the whims or the remaining gov't.
I love how much you have to think with this book. It's such a interesting and different idea that this book is beyond a refreshing piece of YA material for me. It's a simple conundrum where opposites become reality and the Young OLD outlive the Old Young.
What I Didn't Like
Rowan-So much buildup to meet him and he was nothing like the brother Rhine once knew. He's almost like Linden being controlled by Vaughn and not seeing the lies between the lines. I was let-down by their reunion as well. Even when he learned of her mistreatment by Vaughn he let it go. I didn't feel he had enough regret and remorse for everything she went through, even if much of her life at the mansion was not hard.
Gabriel's wrap-up and introduction at the very end. I would have enjoyed seeing him more and watched him get his chance at revenge.
Linden. I still can't stand him with Cecily. It's just so nasty in my eyes. I still see her as the young naive girl we met in Wither and now here she is a young mother with kid 2 on the way. At times Linden is likeable but he's just as naive as Cecily. They both are easily manipulated and never question it until Rhine or someone else points it out. I was still heartbroken when Linden has his accident. Of all the death, mayhem and pure destruction going on, I never saw Linden as being a threat to danger. This was an important lesson because clearly Rhine already knew, in their world no one was safe, thus why she didn't mind living a bit dangerously.
When the Carnivale reappeared I was beyond unhappy and I admit scared. After everything Rhine and Gabriel went through in book 2 I was not looking forward to the torture again. But I was beyond surprised at the way things worked out. And yet again I was shown how small the world can be in books. Sometimes the character connections are too unbelievable, but Rose connected with the Madame was ingenious and didn't seemed planned but rather fell into place smoothly.
I just don't understand how the world outside of America has not collided with this fake dystopia, especially with the technology they still hold.
Overall, let me say again. LOVED IT. This entire series has blown my mind. The topic is different and emotional and plain old captivating. For fans of dystopia and a toe-curling, jaw dropping read, The Chemical Garden trilogy is the way to go.