Fever by Lauren DeStefano – SPOILER-FREE!

*THIS REVIEW HAS SPOILERS FOR WITHER. You can read my review of Wither here. Also, I have NOT spoiled anything that happens in Fever so you can feel free to read this review without being told what happens! I plan on making a vlog to also review this book FULL of spoilers after the release date. I just have SO much to talk about.

Book/Author: Fever by Lauren DeStefano
To Be Published February 21st by Simon & Schuster
I received Fever for review from the (EVER SO AWESOME) publisher and this did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

Fever by Lauren DeStefano leaves off where Wither ends so thankfully we don’t miss a moment of their story since their escape from the mansion. Naturally Rhine and Gabriel are trying to get far away from the mansions and we know that freedom and finding Rhine’s brother is the end goal. And if you thought that plan sounded just peachy and easy and wonderful now that they’ve escaped…you were way wrong as Rhine and Gabriel encounter some obstacles and people who could prevent them from making it to Manhatten.

Fever did not disappoint…what is the opposite of disappoint? Because that’s what Fever was. It did not suffer any of that 2nd book syndrome nonsense. I felt like Fever was just as strong as Wither..maybe even a little stronger of a story. There is something just truly magical about Lauren DeStefano’s writing, her characters and the world in which they live…a world that I so strongly get a sense of through her perfect descriptions and the way the characters interact with the world. She just doesn’t tell us about what this world is like, we see it through the way the characters move throughout the story in all the various situations they witnessed. I truly felt the despair of a world that doesn’t understand why this genetic mutation is and the effects it has had on their way of life and the sense of fear it has created.

In Wither, we mostly saw the world as it was in Linden’s home which really left quite a mystery as to what life was like outside of it. We got little bits and pieces through memories Rhine had about the way her and her brother needed to protect themselves. The outside world is such a contrast to living inside the mansion. While we know how horrible it was for Rhine, you began to see that maybe freedom doesn’t always make you actually free. It’s just a different kind of cage – one of impending and certain death and being forced to react accordingly to the way the virus has made society tick. Lauren DeStefano did a great job making you feel the contrast between Rhine’s life in the mansion and Rhine’s life after breaking free and makes you unsure of which one actually is better…the same struggle that starts to pulse through Rhine from time to time.

As always, Lauren DeStefano’s writing is breathtaking and mesmerizes you to the point that you are SO sucked into the story that audible gasps and sighs are just something that anyone near you is just going to have to get over. As much tension and suspense as Wither has, Fever has just as much and I’d say it was even heightened. The plot is perfectly paced for me and twists at all the right places with ample surprises and breaks your heart along the way. I was ravenous in every sense of the word and finished this VERY quickly as the story just keeps getting better and better and the level of emotional investment in these characters is tenfold!

Oh and let’s talk about the heart stomping number that Lauren DeStefano renders on my heart. Or we could talk about the end and how I was left with my mouth wide open and reeling from all the action that led up to it. INTENSE! I have given my heart over to these characters. I am so beyond invested now and I think Fever really developed them into even more vivid people and validated many of my thoughts about these characters. Oh and Linden. He is one of the best characters of the series in my opinion and I just loved him so much in this one. I remember going through intense hatred for him in the beginning of Wither, to feeling sorry for him, to actually liking him, and then my heart broke for him when Rhine left…and this book….oh Linden. That’s all I’m going to say.

My Final Thought: Go mark it on your calendar, set an alert on your phone, add it to your Goodreads list, tattoo it on your face, etc. Do whatever you need to do to remember to go out and get this when it comes out on February 21! As a much anticipated sequel, Fever did NOT disappoint me in any way and the wait for the next is going to be agonizing. I think I experienced a full range of emotions and I am currently plotting to kidnap Lauren and will only let her go under the condition that she tells me what happens next. Lauren DeStefano is on auto-buy for sure for her beautiful writing, her ability to tell a story and the way she makes me have strong feelings towards characters. I can’t wait to see the conclusion to this trilogy and see what else DeStefano writes after this!

Review On A Post-It:

Wither by Lauren DeStefano — The Unofficial Review

So..here’s the thing. I read Wither by Lauren DeStefano last December. My dear friend Steph from Steph Su Reads passed it on to me one night while we hung out because I was SUPER bummed I didn’t get it in my mailbox along with everyone else. I immediately came home, curled up next to my fireplace (my preferred reading spot in the winter) and read all night long. Literally. I read and LOVED Wither last December and here I am now writing about it. Why might you ask?

This may sound like a cop-out but I couldn’t review it. I loved it SO much that I just needed to let it be. I expressed my love on Twitter and gave it 5 stars on Goodreads and let it be done. I just finished Fever last night (OMG so good!) and I felt really strong urge to express my feelings about Wither before I do so at some later juncture about Fever. This is not a review. I’m simply going to give you my reading experience with Wither and that will be that.

Reading Wither to me was reminiscent to my childhood reading. When I was younger my imagination was so alive that descriptions in books were incredibly vivid to the point where I really felt oppressed by the weight of living on the prairie or as an orphan in a boxcar. This is how Wither was to me…at 25 years old with a imagination that rarely gets used. It made me remember why I love reading in general. The world that Lauren DeStefano creates in Wither became a very real place and the mood pulsed through my veins so much so that I don’t recall ever remembering that others went to bed and that the fireplace went out. I felt despair and anguish with Rhine in this foreign place. I felt the coldness that just emanated from the mansion where Rhine was held against her will and that need to survive at all costs. I felt the bond between the sister wives and the way they truly needed each other. Everything was just so real to me.

I wasn’t marred by my need to over analyze the plot or the choices or the style. I didn’t think about anything other the story. I just let it be like I did as a child. There was innocence in that reading. I may not have known about plot devices or climax or anything like that but I knew when I was held captive by a story. I knew that crazy sensation of shaking yourself out of the pages of the book that you were so entangled in and finding yourself back in reality. I knew the feeling of willing more pages to appear because you just weren’t ready to be done with the flimsy few pages that were suddenly left because you plowed through the book at an alarming pace. That is how I felt about this book.

Lauren DeStefano’s writing is undoubtedly beautiful and lush and worthy of being savored. My only regret is not slowing down. I mean, but how could I, I needed to know what happened. Her writing is something to get lost in. This story was something to get lost in. She wrote the characters in a way that they have stuck with me the way a select few do so vividly – wonderful wonderful Rhine with her unbreakable spirit and will to fight. Delicate, naive Cecily who just doesn’t know any better but has more strength than giving credit for. Loveable Gabriel who is certainly worthy of Rhine’s eye. Kind and nurturing Deidre who you forget is so young. Strong, fierce Jenna who is quite a mystery but recognizes the truth. Housemaster Vaughn whose evilness is truly frightening. And Linden. Oh Linden. Perhaps one of my favorite characters. For SO many reasons.  Some of these characters were able to provide that bit of beauty and hope in a world and situation that just seems devoid of life, devoid of hope for the future and devoid of true, unfettered love.

I know of some who had problems with things in the book. I know that I didn’t quite understand the world, how it came to be, why people still wanted to have children, etc. For me, I didn’t need to know or understand for some reason. I knew halfway through that I could never analyze this book to death. I didn’t want to pick it apart. I wanted to enjoy the experience. I’m not saying those of you who had problems with it are wrong. I’m not saying it is a perfect book. I’m just saying that when a book grabs a hold of me and reminds me why I enjoyed reading in the first place…it is time for me to let go and just get lost. And I did. Wholly.

If you haven’t read Wither and enjoy YA dystopian novels, I’d honestly recommend this one. The writing is beautiful, the characters are beyond real and the world is frightening. Even if you don’t read YA but like dystopian novels, I’d honestly still recommend this to you as someone who reads and reviews both YA and adult. In fact, I’d really encourage you to pick it up. I honestly would forget sometimes that I’m reading about a young girl because these characters are in a situation that makes them grow up tremendously…so if that kind of “young POV” thing bothers you..you should know it is not there. Their “age” shows through sometimes but appropriately because they are young girls being forced to be wives and mothers and confront dying at an early age.

Have any of you ever had an experience like this? You loved a book too much to review it? Have a book that honestly made you remember why it is that you love reading?

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