Review of Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Sever (The Chemical Garden, #3)Sever (The Chemical Gardens #3) by Lauren DeStefano
Released February 2th, 2013 by Simon & Schuster
384 pages
*ARC received at Ontario Book Blogger Meet-Up courtesy of Simon &Schuster Canada

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.(Goodreads)

So as I sit here writing my review not only with the real rain outside the window but also accompanied by the rainy sounds coming from, I can’t help but feel sadness that this series has ended. Although I did not think this book was perfect, nor was I one of those people desperately going crazy for this series, I do think that these books are beautifully written and so imaginative, and I will miss reading them.

Sever picks up close to where Fever left off, although that’s a bit of a guess for me, as I can’t quite remember the end of Fever. Either way, a new setting is quickly introduced – Vaughn’s brother’s house. Reed is so different from Vaughn, and this new setting brought a lot more life into the story. Although grew to like Cecily a lot more as she became more mature and wiser, and I’ve always liked Rhine as a main character, I wasn’t quite attached to this book. There were some big moments that probably should have made me fall off my couch in shock, or at least gasp a little bit, but I just… didn’t. Yes, I was definitely surprised, but I didn’t react like I’m guessing most people did, because I wasn’t THAT attached the story. I think the characters are very well developed and seem so real, and I even surprised myself when I didn’t react. I wholeheartedly enjoyed this story, but for some reason I just didn’t have that emotional response.

But anyway, for the first half of the book I was interested and content with how the story was going. I could clearly separate the good characters from the bad, and I had a general idea of the point of the story.

However, when I got closer to the end, I felt like the plot began taking all these sudden twists and turns, and I was no longer sure of Rhine’s intentions. The prose is so beautiful in this book, but I just couldn’t decipher what Rhine was feeling anymore. Throughout the whole series it was clear that Vaughn was not to be trusted; he was the “bad guy” of the books. But in the second half of Sever, with the story going all over the place, I was just kind of lost. I could still understand what was happening, and I could still follow the plot, I just no longer understood Rhine, and I wasn’t sure what to think of Vaughn anymore. Most times when I read a book my feelings are influenced by the main character’s feelings, but in this case I just wasn’t sure what Rhine thought of the whole thing, and it threw me a bit off kilter. Perhaps I’m too easily influenced and I should make my own decisions, but I no matter what, I always rely a bit on the main character to guide my opinions.

Anyway, beyond the plot, the writing in these books is just so amazing, especially for a dystopian series. A lot of the time in dystopian books you find jarring, loud writing that seems like it should be written in bold font. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily, as these kinds of books tend to have a lot of action, and bold writing usually fits that. However. Sever (and the rest of the series), is written with such grace and elegance that it completely transports you into the world of the Chemical Gardens. The words are so beautiful and descriptive, and so subtly portray the harshness of humanity and the awful truths of life and death.

Lastly, the ending. Seeing as this is the end of the trilogy, I was obviously curious as to how it would end. By the time I reached the last 50 pages I was worried. I couldn’t see how the book would end, especially not in a way that would tie off the series. But I think that DeStefano pulled it together and made it work. Not perfectly, and I still feel like I have unanswered questions, but enough that I can imagine what happens next.Overall this book is so beautifully written, with fantastic characters and such an interesting plot. I was a bit unsure about parts of this book, but don’t let that deter you. This series is so fantastic, and Sever is a wonderful ending to the trilogy.
4.5 birds

Sweet read! Would definitely knock out a few birds for this one, and then some!

*I swear I’m not being paid to advertise their site, I just thought using the real website name was better than “the rain sounds coming from the internet”

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