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.
Illusions and lies are revealed for what they really are in Sever, the final book in the Chemical Garden trilogy, by Lauren DeStefano. Rhine discovers unlikely friends in her former husband, Cecily, and Uncle Reed. She escapes the medicated clutches of Vaughn once again and continues her search for Rowan amid a sea of heartbreaking events.
At the end of the second book, Rhine is caught by Vaughn and being tortured, once again, in the name of science. The reader/character connection is at its highest point because we don't want to lose the main character. Those feelings of worry, fear, and hope for survival carry over into the beginning of book three. When Rhine makes it to a safe place and resumes her plans to find her brother, readers are right beside her every step of the way. But when tragedies strike, one after another, it's hard to stay optimistic about the end of this book. Hope slightly wavers when it's revealed that Rowan has been working with Dr. Ashby the entire time Rhine has been missing. Rhine was a likeable character, and the novel's point of view made it easy to understand her perspective, but Rowan's right. She's too empathetic. Her empathy and understanding for even the villainous character made me feel as if my opinions were wrong and misplaced. Can't say she isn't loyal, though. She overflows with it.
The plot of Sever begins with Rhine trapped in the basement. When she tries to surgically extract her tracking device with a piece of glass, Cecily and Linden find her and rush her to the hospital. Here Linden is introduced to his father's misdeeds. Linden promises safety in the form of his Uncle Reed, who is nothing like Vaughn. When the radio reveals that Rowan is bombing labs relatively nearby, Rhine insists that if she can reach him then she can stop him. But their reunion isn't what she's hoped for as she learns of Vaughn's hold over her twin. And then the illusions fall away, or so it would seen. Vaughn takes Rhine and Rowan to Hawaii, where the virus never existed and tells them that he has succeeded in making a cure which has already been administered to them. A promise lingers that Vaughn will watch over them every day at their home in Florida. That is, until he's shot and killed. Now, can I please ask, why didn't someone do that earlier? It would have saved everyone a lot of time.
I had to finish the trilogy. I'm not the type of reader to just leave something undone like that, but it wasn't my favorite series. Wither was exceptional. Fever was creepy. Sever was a slap in the face. I enjoyed the plot; I liked the characters. However, the writing style became a bit repetitive after three books of Rhine's internal monologue. I guess what bothers me the most is that Rhine could never get out of Vaughn's grasp, Madame ended up playing more of a role than just a scarlet district carnival director (I did not like her), and then through all of this tragedy everything is suddenly tied up in a neat little bow after Vaughn is shot. A book with so many messy situations should be a little messy at the end of the day or else the ending rings hollow.
Rating: 3/5 Cups