Author: Lauren DeStefano
Release date: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Reading level: YA
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.
Sever, the conclusion to the Chemical Gardens trilogy, was quite a disappointment to me. I expected so much more from it than what I got. I think fans will be rather torn apart with this ending. However, I predict that once you start it you won't be able to put it down.
The Chemical Gardens trilogy was one of my first forays into the dystopian genre. I really didn't know much about dystopian stories when I started this and I think that really helped fuel my love for this trilogy in the beginning. Having read many more dystopian novels in between these books, I actually came to realize that Lauren DeStefano's world was a bit lacking. There wasn't a whole lot of depth or background to anything. Readers were just expected to believe everything they were told rather than being given proof to back up the claims that were made. Having reached the end of this trilogy, now wasn't really the perfect time to build up the world but that's what Lauren DeStefano attempted to do. Some new information was given about the history of the United States' demise while it definitely made things more believable, it wasn't enough, at least not for me.
My biggest issue was with the characters though. First off, Linden. I'm sorry but no 22-year-old, no matter what the circumstances, should be with a 14-year-old. I was disgusted by his relationship with Cecily. I honestly had a hard time reading about it because it just was so wrong to me. I know a lot of people wanted Linden to be the one Rhine chose but I could not support that idea. Linden may be clueless to his father's faults but he is not completely innocent of everything. He made the decision to be with Cecily and that kind of ended any good thoughts I had about him. Then there was Cecily. From the very beginning I haven't liked that girl and I'm sad to say I never grew to like her. She was selfish, bratty, and so immature. As for Rhine, well, she had her faults but with her the good far outweighed the bad. She was smart, resourceful, cautious, brave, but also vulnerable at times. Readers get to see every side of Rhine and I think it really helped make me love her as a character. And you know I have to mention the other point of the love triangle, Gabriel. He was surprisingly absent for most of the book and I really disliked that. He and Rhine had this connection in the first and second books that readers barely even get a glimpse of in this final installment. I felt like this book would be the perfect time to solidify or tear apart their relationship but instead there was barely even mention of it.
The story was rather slow. After the huge cliffhanger ending of Fever I expected to dive back into the story and go on another crazy journey with Rhine. However, the first half of the book was just lead up to the actual journey that lasted a grand total of maybe five chapters. Don't get me wrong, the first half of the book is interesting I just really expected more. There was just a lot of talk and not nearly enough action for my liking. The ending kind of made up for that though. Some very crazy things happened and I never saw them coming. Way to go, Lauren DeStefano, for still managing to surprise me.
Overall, if you've enjoyed the previous books in this trilogy, check this one out. It's a good conclusion just not the outstanding one I was hoping for. Lauren DeStefano's writing though is enough to get me to check out whatever she does next.
Looking for more reviews of Sever by Lauren DeStefano?
Midnight Bloom Reads' review
Two Chicks On Books' review
Avery's Book Nook's review