What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sever is the conclusion of the dystopian Chemical Garden Trilogy for mature teens, which began with Wither. The sexual content isn't as high as the second book, Fever, where the main character was forced to "perform" at a brothel (short of sex) but there are still plenty of adult themes. A teen character has a late miscarriage (described) and the loss is heavily mourned. Two significant characters die violently, and there's lots of talk about others dying all around them -- society has broken down because a virus kills off everyone by age 25. The experiments conducted on humans to cure the virus (some described) could lead to a thought-provoking discussion on medical ethics.
What's the story?
Recovering in the hospital from fever and infection, Rhine is almost back where she started when she ran away from her forced marriage to Linden to find her twin brother. Linden and his other wife Cecily -- 14 and pregnant a second time -- are at her bedside trying to understand the accusations Rhine makes against Linden's father; that he's using everyone as test subjects to find a cure for the virus that kills every \"new generation\" by age 25 -- 20 for women. Cecily is determined not to return to Vaughn's clutches, and they hide out at Vaughn's estranged and eccentric brother's house. That's where Rhine hears word that her twin is alive and starting a movement to bomb all research hospitals looking for a virus cure. When the trail finally leads to her brother, Rhine is surprised by his true motives.
Is it any good?
Yes, Book 1, Wither, was pretty provocative: sister-wives forced into marriage, hidden from the broken world in a remote mansion by a strange and manipulative father-in-law with secret experiments in his basement. But the intrigue had already fizzled out by Book 2, Fever. Book 2 was a rehash of Book 1, and now SEVER spends most of its time wallowing in Books 1 and 2. And moping. And reminiscing. And mourning.
There's so much time spent in the main character's head, moping and mourning, that there's no chance for the book to go anywhere except where they've all been before. (Did they really have to go back to the carnival brothel?) After three books, readers deserve a fuller picture of the dystopian world the author creates. Instead, you get some puzzling truces and sudden deaths to tie up the trilogy a little too conveniently.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the conclusion of the Chemical Garden Trilogy. Did you find it satisfying? Would you seek out another series like it? If so, what appeals to you about it? The dystopian setting? The provocative themes?
What other dystopian novels have you read? How is each author's vision different? How is it the same?
Do you feel for Vaughn, just as Rhine begins to? Do you think he's justified to experiment on humans without their consent? Do you understand why he decided to do it?
|Topics:||Brothers and sisters, Misfits and underdogs, Science and nature|
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster|
|Publication date:||February 12, 2013|
|Number of pages:||384|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||14 - 17|
|Available on:||Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle, Nook|