I can’t tell you how excited was I get my paws on Sever, the last book in Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Gardens Trilogy. And it doesn’t disappoint. I was very, very satisfied with the ending of this series.
While there are a couple surprising twists, the outcome is fairly predictable. But don’t mistake predictability for bad. The execution is perfect and DeStefano wraps up every juicy detail in this final book.
We learn more about Rhine’s parents, find out what happened to the love of her life and even Madame makes a surprise appearance. The biggest twist is probably the role of Housemaster Vaughn. I also found Sever wasn’t nearly as dark as the second book, Fever. For anyone that’s read Fever, Rhine finally stops puking everywhere – hurray!
I feel that I’m a lot harder on young adult lit but The Chemical Gardens Trilogy really hit a nerve for me. For one, it’s a completely believable dystopia. In a attempt to make their children immune from every disease and illness, the United States have created the perfect new generation.
But it’s not until the second generation of perfect children that they discover a problem. The girls are dying at 20 and the boys only make it to 25. Now, the research community is obsessed with finding a cure for the dying generation. Couldn’t you see something like that happening? I can.
I’d like to send a big congratulations to Lauren DeStefano to finishing the series with a bang! I only wish some other series (cough, Hunger Games, cough) could have done the same.
It’s no secret that I love Lauren DeStefano’s The Chemical Garden Trilogy.
I’ve already written rave reviews for Wither (Book I) and Fever (Book II) and I knew it’d be a long wait for the last book Sever.
But the book blogging gods were on my side and I received an ARC of Sever last month. I am currently writing with bloodshot eyes because I started reading Sever last night and can’t put it down.
Somebody stage an intervention. After I’m done. I have about 100 pages to go.
The book has already answered a lot of outstanding questions from the other books. For one, we’ll finally learn what Chemical Gardens are AND we’ll find out more about Rhine’s parents. Have I said too much? My review will be posted early in the new year.
Oh and I asked DeStefano what her plans were after Sever is released and she mentioned something about a “Super Secret Story”. Look forward to seeing more from her.
Sever is scheduled to be out on February 12th, 2013 and it’s totally pre-order material.
In my recent Read it 1st post, I wrote that once I’ve watched the movie, I’m usually not interested in reading the book. But I did the opposite with The Hunger Games because well, the movie made me hungry for more.
So while you made not have read The Hunger Games first, I suggest that you read it next. Even those of you who were not big fans of the movie should consider reading the book.
Here’s why (movie spoiler alert!):
Katniss Everdeen is so much more kick-ass in the book. She’s not nearly as sexy as movie Katniss – she is a starving teenager, after all - but she’s 10X stronger, smarter, better (work it, over).
You learn much more about Rue. I saw the movie with my cousin who concluded that he didn’t care so much when Rue dies partly because he nothing about her. The book covers off who Rue is and why her death is a bigger tragedy to Katniss compared to all the other deaths.
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
The book tells you much more about the history of The Hunger Games. The creation is darker than the movie portrays. In fact, there’s a much more sinister element to the authorities running the Capitol that the movie doesn’t explain so well.
It’s gorey. The movie had to be kept PG-13 so the young’uns could see it in theatres but the book doesn’t hold back. After all, kids are ruthless without having to fight to the death.
The book explains sponsors. I had no idea what exactly the sponsors did during the movie. I kept waiting for them to parachute in a bottle of Coca-Cola or a Hewlett-Packard Printer.
Peeta is not nearly as useless. The movie reduced Peeta to sad, wounded and weak. The book shows that Peeta is more brains than brawns but he has what Katniss doesn’t: charisma.
There’s already a second and third book. That’s right. The movie leaves you hanging but the books keep going! And that was my biggest motivation to read it.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie. Despite the many comparisons to Lord of the Flies and Battle Royale, I liked the back story behind The Hunger Games more. And I love the character of Katniss. I also full out cried when Rue died but I cry through a lot of movies.
Just a word of warning though – Hunger Games makes up for some really horrible writing with an awesome story. But the writing is horrendous – worst than Harry Potter. Once you get past this, you will enjoy the story.
I’ve already started the second book and I’m happy to report that the story is possibly, even better than the first.
Sorry Penguins, I meant to blog more this week but it’s been a busy week! But that’s not my real excuse. No, my real excuse is that I’ve been buried in The Fat Years by Hong Kong media veteran Chan Koonchung.
I picked up The Fat Years because it was banned in China. And while not all books banned by China are good – this one was probably one of my favourites. Based in the near future, The Fat Years features a Taiwanese journalist named Lao Chen living in China.
Lao Chen is beyond happy, he’s elated and he’s not the only one. And he’s not entire sure why – except that the economy has fallen in the West and China has become the greatest superpower. Lao Chen begins to doubt his own happiness when he runs into an old friend who tells him that the whole country has forgotten about a whole month. A month that was filled with turmoil.
Dystopia fans take note – this is a fantastically, puzzling dystopia. Except in the preface you learn that this isn’t a dystopia, this is simply Maoist China. Which explains why Chan Koonchung was able to write such a detailed dystopia. I actually really enjoyed the book with its rich use of facts from Chinese history and translated proverbs.
The Gao Brothers
But the story takes a dive when the characters kidnap a government official and interrogate him. The official gives a very, very long speech which resembles something out of my university political science textbooks. Only duller. Mind you, I think this was a satire of all the rhetoric The Communist Party likes to feed its citizens but it was a very long satire. I couldn’t read all of it because it was so long and tedious.
I mean, even the characters in the book fall asleep during the monologue. And I fell asleep several times reading it.