Review: Fever is the second part of a trilogy and this review will contain spoilers for the first book, Wither.
Fever, the second part in The Chemical Garden trilogy, carries straight on from Wither and finds Rhine and Gabriel on the run from their luxurious prison in which Rhine was a reluctant bride and Gabriel her servant. They are aiming to get from Florida back to Rhine's home in Manhattan where she hopes her twin Rowan will be waiting for her.
Things go wrong almost immediately when the pair are captured in a scarlet district in an old fun fair and are forced to entertain paying customers and have opiates forced on them. Rhine's conviction that her ex-father-in-law Vaughn, who is experimenting to find the cure to the virus which is killing women at 20 and men at 25, will find her turns out to be true and another escape takes place.
Travelling northwards up the coast, Rhine and Gabriel and a young child they rescue meet more people who want something from them until finally they reach New York. But things have changed since Rhine was stolen...and her nemesis, Vaughn, is not far behind.
I have to say I found Fever a bit of a seedy read, gripping but seedy. The ratio of bad people to good is about 4:1 and Rhine's experiences range from performing in a brothel (with Gabriel) to being sexually molested by an elderly man and a horrendous and tense later section where she is experimented on. This is strong stuff, and I'm intrigued to see how it all works out in the next book: will there be a cure or will we leave Rhine with her life about to end? The romance element is quite unusual; Gabriel is not portrayed as a unrealistic hero, rather he is a normal person. He suffers from addiction, and often Rhine is the strong one and he does not feature in the last quarter of the book. Again I want to see what happens to them. Whereas Wither was set mainly in a mansion, Fever reveals the real world that Rhine has lived in and that Gabriel has never known before.
Fever is a beautifully written, page-turning read but one that may leave you wanting a hot shower. Unfortunately the final part, Sever, is not out until February 2013.