Friday, March 22, 2013

Review - Sever (The Chemical Garden, Book 3) by Lauren DeStefano (4.5/5 stars)

Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Dystopia/Sci-Fi
Size: 384 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 12, 2013
ISBN: 978-1442409095
Stand Alone or Series: 3rd book in the Chemical Garden Trilogy
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

This was a beautifully written conclusion to this series. Everything is wrapped up nicely. I really enjoyed this whole dystopian/post-apocalyptic YA series.

Rhine is hiding at Linden’s uncle’s (Reed’s) house and trying to make plans to find her twin brother. Linden’s father Vaughn will stop at nothing to find Rhine and us her for his own genetic experiments. Will Rhine find her brother? Will she be able to escape Vaughn’s searching? Most importantly of all, will anyone ever be able to find a cure for this horrible genetic disorder?

This book, like the previous ones, is beautifully written. The descriptions of both the surroundings and the characters’ struggles are exquisitely done. Really the book is just a joy to read.

Rhine grows a lot in this book; she carefully considers how her actions affect those around her and embraces the danger around her. When Vaughn enters the picture, despite her horrible past with him, she is able to see beyond that and see that maybe he really could offer up a cure.

Both Linden and Cecily also show a ton of character growth. Poor Cecily is really forced to grow up in this book and she grows into a formidable woman. I was a bit disappointed that Gabriel is absent for most of the story. I mean really he needs to be in the story more to make him a character worthy of Rhine’s efforts.

The beginning of the story moves very deliberately. Rhine keeps getting delayed from leaving Reed’s by various complications. I still enjoyed this portion of the book though. In this part of the story we really get to see how Cecily, Linden, and Rhine interact with each other as a family of sorts. There is some anger and bitterness there, but there is also caring and makes for some fascinating character interactions.

The pace picks up a lot in the second half of the story. At that point the book is a whirlwind of revelations around Rhine’s history, the genetic disorder plaguing humanity, and some startling truths about the outside world. It’s just one surprise after another. Despite all the revelations, I thought the twists and turns were well done...they never felt contrived or forced to me. I really loved how all the elements came together in the end.

I also really love how much thought and care is put into the cover of this book. The cover shows a number of little hints and secrets that are revealed throughout the story.

Overall a very well done conclusion to this series. I love the beautiful writing and also enjoyed the character development. The plot elements wrapped up very nicely in a way that was surprising and engaging. I was a bit disappointed we didn’t see more of Gabriel in the story. Also the first half of the book was a bit slow. Still I have really enjoyed this whole series and strongly recommend it to fans of YA Dystopian books.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Reading Challenge
- Young Adult Reading Challenge

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