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Book Review: Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Sever is the final book in the Chemical Garden series by Lauren DeStefano. It’s moving and sad and….over. 🙁

Book Review: Sever by Lauren DeStefano

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sever by lauren destefano

Title & Author: Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Genre: YA – Dystopia

Release Date: February 12, 2013

Series: Chemical Garden #3

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

How I Got the Book: Bought


“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.”

Sever All Ties

Sever, the final Chemical Garden book is over. I read it, and the story is finished. There is totally a real disease associated with this type of book depression, and it’s called “book hangover.”

You may have seen this Someecard already, but I couldn’t resist:

book hangover sever lauren destefano

AGH! Ok down to business. What did I think of the book? Well, after reading Fever, I knew DeStefano was going to pull out the big guns. Fever was fast-paced but with little actual action. I would characterize this series by saying its vivid descriptions and strong characters carry it through.

In Sever, I took a good chunk of the book to really get going into the thick of things – you know, the usual. Rhine on the run and battling emotions and Housemaster Vaughn.

It was one of those books where I enjoyed it, but I had to mentally push myself through. It wasn’t a “I literally cannot stop reading this book because it’s so mesmerizing” situation.

I though it was interesting that in Fever, Rhine spends almsot 90 percent of the book with Gabriel. But, in Sever, she’s really mostly with Linden and Cecily. There are a ton of reasons for this, which all make sense, but that momentum that built up in the last book with their relationship almost goes completely flat.

I think DeStefano lets that happen because in Sever, the story really becomes about survival and saving the world (cheesy but true). Rhine is focused on keeping Cecily safe and maybe, FINALLY, reuniting with her brother. If she can find him, that is.

For me, that’s the ultimate struggle with dystopias. How does an author successfully end them without losing the fun of the first books, while most of the stories have fairly gruesome premises (disease, death, brutality)?

I do think DeStefano did a great job finishing off this series. At the end, I felt so sad to leave these characters behind. Plus, she wasn’t afraid to intentionally pull at readers’ heartstrings either. Gah!


This was a great conclusion to a very well-written, engaging series. I think each book (Wither, Fever and Sever) advanced and progressed from its predecessor. Overall, Sever was a solid finish to a series whose storyline is memorable and beautiful.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.