When I finished Wither my first thought was – eh. I really wanted to like it. The world DeSefano creates is horrible and fascinating but I don’t feel like much happened, it was same in Perfect Ruin though so maybe this is just her writing style? I like Rhine, but I didn’t see her fight as much as I thought she would, as I continued through the book it became evident that her ability to fight does not come through a physical but intellectual channel. This shows how she’s different from most YA female protagonists who are more impulsive and have physical strength to help them deal with the repercussions of their rash decisions. I see why she is drawn to both Linden and Gabriel, but I feel like neither of them are completely sincere; Linden appeals to her because she sees him as someone helpless and pitiful, Gabriel gives her a confidence and reminds her of the outside world and its freedom, no matter how dire the situations that have become the norm. However, the hint of a change we see in Gabriel as they escape makes me like him more and hope that he will come out of his shell in the next book.
I enjoyed the relationship between the sister wives, they each represent a different aspect of the relationship at the house; Cecily buys into it all, Jenna has nothing to loose and uses it to help Rhine, and Rhine plays her role until she can escape because overall, she has nothing against anyone in the house except for Vaughn. However, I don’t know what I am supposed to look forward to in the next books, do we find out more about the virus, do we finally meet Rowan, are Rhine and Gabriel hunted – and if so why, I feel like Rhine’s heterochromia is going to become a central theme but I don’t know what to expect from it.
On to Fever,my “eh” feeling continued in this one until about half way through. The beginning made me think that even after the escape, basically the exact same thing was going to happen, but with different people. I felt like this was a much more emotional book than the first. All the events were starting to catch up to Rhine, and though she seems to grow stronger it really is just her refusing to accept the realities of the predicament, which honestly is probably the only way she was able to continue fighting until she did. She’s an extremely selfless person, and I think that is her biggest fault. It’s how she managed to be gathered in the first place, and then leads her to leave Gabriel in the same way.
About Gabriel – a lot of the reviews I read hate him, and I don’t know why! I was pretty neutral to him in the first book, I didn’t really care about him either way but I liked him better than Linden (who I have much less sympathy for, even if he was brainwashed by his father). In the escape sequence we see the beginnings of Gabriel in the outside, he adapts pretty quickly and is able to function at a much higher level than Rhine most of the time even though this is his practically his first time outside of the Mansion. He’s strong, physically and emotionally, and he and Rhine don’t have a smothering romantic relationship because it’s not feasible or a top priority. They keep each other safe and help each other best they can, but honestly they stick together just because they want to. I think if Gabriel wanted to he could find a job pretty quickly, and I think he thinks about doing just that a couple times. So there all you Gabriel haters!
Back to the topic at hand. Rhine’s sickness because of Vaughn is where this really got good for me. She never truly escapes him and I think that is the heart of the terror that this book is meant to evoke, and like Rhine I didn’t see any of his tactics coming, even though I think I should have. I really like Silas and hope we see more of him in the last book, and we finally have a clue about Rowan! The stuff with Linden I don’t know how I feel about. I hate that she feels drawn to him, yet I can understand it. Seriously though, how long can he live in denial? With all the new characters and details I feel like this third installment is going to full of action, which the series has lacked so I am looking forward to that.
I’m also hoping that it will keep me interested, the first two books didn’t have me watching the clock all day at work in anticipation for coming home and being able to read – and that makes me sad.
Sever , definitely my favorite of the series! I hate it when series end on a weak note compared to their previous books, it did start off a bit slow, but it picked up pretty quickly and all of the revelations made about Vaughn, Rowan, Linden, and Rose were crazy awesome. I’m still not a lover of Linden, but in this book I felt like he finally came into his own and started really living, which made me dislike him less. What I loved most about this book though was how DeStefano unveiled all of these major aspects, like Rhine’s sickness, her brothers involvement, and the fine line between Vaughn’s brilliance and insanity; and all of these things I didn’t see coming at all! Usually reading this genre I can anticipate the twists and turns, but DeStefano completely surprised me with all of the big reveals. What really caught me by surprise though was the tie between Madame and Rose, I know I should have seen that one coming, but it never crossed my mind and I think it explained Vaughn’s obsession so much better than everything we has seen through Rhine’s eyes – we didn’t only see his control over her family, but how long this had been going on and the exact lengths he would go to find a cure. Obviously I was glad when they were cured, but I was thrilled when Cecily killed Vaughn (because even though he found the cure, he was way too crazy to remain alive), and glad that Rhine and Gabriel were given the time figure out what their relationship was and what a future would be like – even though I know people don’t like Gabriel (see paragraph above).
Overall, certainly a series that I will re-read in the future, and one that I think is very thought provoking and different from other books in the YA genre with strong female leads. Rhine is so different in the fact that she doesn’t have physical, but intellectual strength, and I think that is so much more relatable, and realistic, for a lot of people.