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A Reader of Fictions: Carnival Town - Norah Jones

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Carnival Town - Norah Jones

The Chemical Garden Trilogy, Book 2

Author: Lauren DeStefano
Pages: 341
ARC Acquired from: a giveaway at Presenting Lenore

Fever is the sequel to Wither. If you have not read that yet, do not read this review, because any discussion of Fever necessitates serious Wither spoilers. You have been warned.

Having escaped from Linden's home, and, more importantly, Vaughn's experiments, Rhine and Gabriel immediately get caught up somewhere else awful. What Rhine forgot in her efforts to escape and obtain her freedom was that few places are safe for women anymore anywhere. This time, rather than a cushy position as a wife to a wealthy man, she and Gabriel have washed up to a Madame's prostitution carnival. Good luck, that.

Alright, I don't know how to say this without sounding entirely awful, but I thought this opening portion was definitely the weakest segment of the novel. Here's the thing. I just do not see how she made it through a couple of weeks (or more...time was kind of hazy) working for the Madame without ever losing her virginity. The Madame's other arrangement really strikes me as unlikely; there is no way that would have earned as much money. Obviously, I am glad the character didn't have to go through something so traumatic, but, if this were the real world, she would not have made it through two books set in this world with her having such good luck and not been raped. So yeah. I hate to say it, but I had to point that out.

Otherwise, this book is pretty fantastic, and by fantastic I mean utterly terrifying and depressing. It's a good follow up to Wither. Even in the portions that are slower plot-wise, which, come to think of it, is really most of the book, the story moves along speedily. There may not be too much actually happening, but the pace remains fast.

Rhine remains a strong character, but she spends most of this book unable, for legitimate reasons, to show too much of that strength. The first portion, she spends drugged (thanks again, Madame). Later, she has other difficulties hampering her ability to act. Thankfully, there is an interlude in the middle where she gets to be more like the Rhine of the first book. I'm pretty sure she'll be back with a vengeance in book three, and I can't wait.

Another thing I really appreciated about this book is that there really wasn't too much of a romance elements to it. In that respect, it reminded me more of The Hunger Games than a lot of the dystopias targeted more to women; Rhine is focused on her survival first and foremost, meaning that romance is not especially important. There was a sort of awkwardness at times between herself and Gabriel, which lent a realistic air to their relations. I mean, think about it. They haven't known each other very well or for all that long, so how do they know how they really feel about each other?

Book three is definitely poised to be stellar. Nothing was resolved in this book, but the players have been moved into position for a real showdown.

Edit on 2/1/2013: Let the record show that, with hindsight, I really do not approve of this review anymore. The downside of writing my reviews right when I finish the book is that sometimes reflection brings things to light. Check out my current feelings on Goodreads HERE.

Rating: 2.5/5

"Round 'n round
Has got you under it's spell
Moving so fast...but
Going nowhere

Up 'n down
Ferris wheel
Tell me how does it feel
To be so high...
Looking down here

Is it lonely?

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Blogger Nori said...

This sounds so good! I need this right now!

February 8, 2012 at 12:23 PM  

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