Sever (My Chemical Garden #3) by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Sever
Series: The Chemical Garden #3
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Pages: 371, Hardcover

Summary from Goodreads:
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.

"'I never wanted to live forever,' she says. 'I just wanted enough time.'"

*Sigh*. So I LOVED Wither. I thought it was such an original and beautifully crafted story with strong characters and emotions. But Fever, and now Sever, felt a little aimless to me. I didn't get the conclusion I was hoping for.

"This isn't living, what all of us are doing."

It's not the characters. Rhine, Lindon, Cecily - they are just as strong as they were in Wither. The others as well - I was instantly fond of Reed who was quirky and compassionate - Lauren DeStefano knows how to create memorable characters. The character development was great too - especially in Cecily and Lindon who had the most to learn - for sure on par with a series finale. The unique and individual relationships were as powerful and endearing as ever and even more complex now that so much has happened. And where the characters find themselves at the end, is more or less, what I had hoped for (minus a small caveat). So my dilemma is definitely not with the characters.

"One thing at a time everything is falling apart"

It's how we get to the ending that I wish was different. The plot and direction felt a little lost to me. Some huge concepts were introduced but weren't given enough attention. And other events were included that probably didn't add much value to the story. Answers to questions that readers have asked since the beginning were rushed or avoided all together. I was hoping Sever would read closer to the way Wither did, but it read similar to Fever.

"'Freedom is dangerous.'"

I also wish Lauren DeStefano didn't try to make Vaughn seem more humane - sacrificing a few for the good of many or really just the good of his son. He did some of the most appalling things I've ever seen described in a YA book and I don't care if his desperation to save his son drove him to madness - it is inexcusable and I will never feel any mercy or compassion for him.

"'We are his disposable things. Brought to him like cattle. Stripped of what made us sisters ir daughters or children. There was nothing that he could take from us - our genes, our bones, our wombs - that would ever satisfy him. There was no other way that we would be free."

The bottom line - its an interesting enough dystopian world but Sever (and Fever) could have been executed a little better plot wise. The characters are the real strength in this series (and the oh, so beautiful covers).



  1. Aww, sorry to hear that Sever was a disappointment for you. Now I'm scared to read it.
    And yeah Nicole, I'm with you, I enjoyed Wither, but Fever seemed to lack what Wither had. Plot wise, it was just disappointing. ):

    1. Yeah I'm afraid then you might feel similar to how I did with Sever but I will hope that your experience is better :)

  2. I so agree - Wither was easily the strongest of this series, and it went downhill from there. I thought Fever suffered strongly from middle book syndrome, meandering aimlessly without much direction for its entirety, and I felt like Sever suffered from a similar fate. Add in the rushed ending, because the previous 300 hundred pages were spent in contemplative thought, and it's not surprising to hear me say I was disappointed! If I had known Fever/Sever were going to stray so far from what I had loved about Wither, I probably wouldn't have continued with the series :(

    1. It is so good to hear someone agree with me and assure me that I am not alone. And you wrapped up how I feel so perfectly. Thank you. It's such a shame too because I really held WIther as one of my favorite reads. :/


Copyright © 2014 The Quiet Concert
Template and Design by New Chapter Designs