Be forewarned, Wither was an incredibly action-packed novel, so this WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS if you haven't read it. Read on at your own risk & be sure to check out my review of Wither if you're curious.
Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.
Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.
The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion...by any means necessary.
In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever.
As you see in the summary, a lot is going on in this next installment. Rhine only thought her fight was over once she got out of the mansion, when really it was just beginning. And poor Gabriel is shocked that the world of his beloved atlases doesn't exist anymore & the present world is on a shadow of the glory promised by Rhine.
Once they (barely) escape the mansion, these two find themselves in a new nightmare of a scarlet district run by a madwoman with no sense of shame. They make new acquaintances who help them on their beleaguered journey to Manhattan. And if that isn't bad enough, housemaster Vaughn (her nefarious father-in-law) is tracking them like the bloodhound he is. Throughout all of this turmoil though, there is a sense of hope, however fleeting. Rhine begins to understand just how well off she was at the mansion despite all its perils & Gabriel comes to terms with his role outside of the mansion.
Lauren DeStefano has brought us back to a hobbled world where women die at 20 & men die at 25, so there is little in the way of moral order. While society is not exactly in a state of chaos, there is a sense of foreboding in the air & the dread of unknown things to come. I really enjoyed picking up Rhine's familial story arc. We learn more about her deceased parents & her twin brother, all of which give us a glimpse not just into her character, but also into the society as a whole. Even Housemaster Vaughn exemplifies certain characteristics of the rich in this world & how some things (like power & influence) never change.
There is plenty enough action & intrigue to keep you going, but this one didn't have me on the edge of my seat (as the first one did) until the last few chapters. They totally made it worth it! Not a quick read, but definitely a good one, you simply must read Fever!