Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review of Sever by Lauren DeStefano



Time is running out for Rhine in this conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Chemical Garden Trilogy.

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.

(Summary from GoodReads)

After finishing Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, I am very hesitant to read anything else she writes.  Wither started this series off with a bang, Sever was okay, and Fever was entirely subpar.  Fever doesn’t do enough in terms of plot, characters, or world-building, and is a disappointing conclusion to its trilogy.

There is hardly any action in this book, which makes it unlike a lot of dystopians.  There are some authors who can pull off writing a book that doesn’t have a lot of action, and DeStefano is not one of them.  Early on in this series, it was made clear that there is a lot of mystery surrounding this world, and that our main character doesn’t know very much.  DeStefano keeps things a little too mysterious, which gets old after reading two books full of mystery, and just results in a plot that is too slow.

The world building and character development in this novel are fragmented.   I wanted to learn a lot about the world, and I feel like I only got a little piece. I wanted a lot more about Gabriel, and I feel like I only got a little piece.  I also didn't care for the fact that we saw so much of Rhine's relationship with Vaughn.  It kind of felt like as readers, we had already been there and done that.

When the ending to this story does finally come, it’s rushed and incomplete.  It didn’t feel genuine, or like the right fit for this series.  DeStefano shows a lot of promise with her prose, but doesn’t follow through on development, and I mean that in a lot of ways.  I’ll probably try her newest book because I’ve heard it’s much better, but I’d see a lot more potential in it if it was a standalone.

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library.


  1. It's interesting and disappointing to hear you weren't wowed by this one. I read Wither but had problems with it because I read it during a personally rough patch so there are weird associations and I've been really unsure about finishing the series. Maybe I'll just skip ahead and try her new series instead.

  2. Read this book to stay ahead of my teens, and to complete the trilogy. Really enjoyed the completion of their story. Romantic and suspenseful without being graphic in the details. Writing style is pretty good, overall.

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