About the book
Sever is the third and final book in The Chemical Garden trilogy by Lauren DeStefano. It was published by Harper Voyager on 14th February and the book is 320 pages long.
Time is running short for Rhine. The virus running through her body means that she doesn’t have long left to live and there are no signs of a cure. After enduring everything that her husband’s father, Vaughn, has put her through, she finds peace within the home of his brother, Reed. Reed is somewhat of a crazy inventor but understands Rhine’s need for answers and the need to find her own brother, Rowan. While Rowan has a high level of involvement in an underground resistance, destroying everything their parents built, Rhine wants to preserve their ideas.
Rhine is determined to leave her home, husband and sister wife Cecily behind, they all want to be there to support and help her. This final book reveals all the secrets that have been kept hidden and the trilogy comes to a shocking end.
What I thought
The Chemical Garden series is one of the most original and exciting trilogies I have had the pleasure of reading each time a new book came out, I was dying to get my hands on it. As this is the last book in the trilogy, there may be minor spoilers for the previous books in the series.
Sever begins where Fever left off, with Rhine stuck back in her home with husband Linden and sister wife, Cecily after being subjected to Vaughn’s awful experiments. Rhine is still determined to go and find her brother, who has been a part of a range of bombings. He believes that Rhine is dead and she wants to prove him wrong. She also wants to get away from the marriage she was forced into and her terrible father in law who does things like stick needles into her eyes. Who wouldn’t want to get away from that.
In this book, both new and old characters play a big role in Rhine’s life and her decisions. Although not mentioned before now, we get to meet Linden’s uncle Reed, Vaughn’s brother. What I loved about this new character was that he was so different from Vaughn, who is terribly scary. Reed has been kind of outcast from the family, living in a run-down house with his inventions. Reed’s house becomes a safe haven for Rhine but through this, we get to learn more about both Vaughn and Linden, and their lives before Rhine.
Vaughn has to be one of the most well developed characters throughout this trilogy. To begin with, in the first and second books, we see him as only the villain. He does some terrible things in the first books and torture/ experimenting are two of his favourite pastimes. However, up until this point, we have never been able to understand his actions or the reasons behind them. In Sever, we get to see a completely different side to Vaughn which made me have a completely different opinion of him than I did before. I never thought Vaughn could be anything other than evil but there is a lot more to him than originally thought.
Another character I thoroughly enjoyed reading about in Sever was Cecily, Rhine’s sister wife. After Jenna died, Cecily became the ‘main’ wife as she ended up having a baby with Linden. Previously, she was an immature and naïve child who didn’t really know much about anything. In this book though, she has grown up to be a determined and strong minded young woman and also a caring wife and mother. The transformation and growth within this character was fantastic and it was great to see such strong development.
Sever’s plot spends most of its time answering mysteries that have previously been unanswered. We finally get to find out what the deal is with Vaughn, what Rhine’s brother is really up to and we get to find out what happened to Gabriel and also how everything ends. I found the plot to be fast paced and really exciting. The setting changed constantly, which made the story really interesting for me. I liked how there were so many places to see and how different each of them were to each other. Each different setting also gives up a variety of answers and it was like pieces of a puzzle finally fitting together.
One aspect lacking throughout the whole series, and especially in this book, is romance. There have been, and are, romantic aspects but none have ever been enough for me. To begin with, Rhine falls for Gabriel but the passion was never really strong enough. I never believed the feelings that were supposed to be there. Also, Linden is clearly torn between Cecily and his feelings for Rhine but again, they weren’t absolutely believable. I would have loved for there to be a lot more romance in this book, especially as everything was being wrapped up so nicely.
Sever is a fantastic end to a really good series. If you haven’t read any of these yet, I urge you to. The Chemical Garden world is beautifully created, written and explained. There is so much intrigue and mystery in this unique series.