Category Archives: Dystopian

Fever – Lauren DeStephano

By Lauren DeStephano
Chemical Garden – Book 2
Available 21 February 2012

Have you read Wither, the first book in this series? If not you should check that out first since the description does contain spoilers.

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago – surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous – and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion…by any means necessary.

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price – now that she has more to lose than ever.

This Blonde’s Review:
Rhine is determined to get home to her twin brother, Rowan. Gabriel is determined to stay with her, even if it means being in dangerous situations that make him wish he was back at the mansion.  They believe they’re free but are immediately taken into a carnival against their will. The woman who runs the carnival is actually a madam, selling the girls to the men who come seeking their company. With Gabriel kept heavily sedated and Rhine unwilling to leave him, they soon find themselves doing what they’re told. At least until her real plans for Rhine become obvious and the pair know they have to escape. When Vaughn, her father in law, shows up they know their time is up.

Their escape doesn’t go as well as planned and they soon find themselves with an injured young child. They soon make their way to a safe place. Rhine discovers that her brother is no longer at home and she’s determined to find him. While looking for him she finds that he has changed more than she ever expected. She won’t give up on looking for him, but Rhine isn’t well. She isn’t old enough to be affected by the genetic problems that have shortened lifespans but her symptoms are similar. Rhine is in denial that anything is wrong with her, but when Vaughn shows up again she accepts that she can’t escape him. She finds herself back at the Mansion, where life has changed more than she expected.

Rhine and Gabriel’s relationship felt more convenient than real in the first book, and it continues that way in the second. They care about each other, but there are many situations where Rhine seems more concerned for the way they are being perceived instead of the way she really feels. Rhine is an imperfect character, but she is still one we can care about. I still feel a distance from Gabriel like I don’t know much about him, I’m more interested in Rhine and Rowan than Rhine and Gabriel, since it is clear that Rowan will always mean more to her than anyone else.

Rhine keeps some of her belongings from the mansion with her, but neither of them consider this when Vaughn finds them. When he finds her again I expected Rhine to become suspicious of how he finds her rather than blindly accepting that she can’t escape him. This felt very unobservant to me, since someone who wants to escape should be considering the reasons they are found so easily.

I did feel a few things were rushed, but even with all that happens in this book I didn’t feel like it was rushed overall. I really enjoyed seeing Rhine and Gabriel interact in several different situations, since it does give us more insight into their character. In Fever we meet new characters who show us more about the world they’re all living in since lifespans have been shortened.

This story is fascinating to me and I find Rhine fascinating. She has led a different life than many others her age. She had her parents and then her brother with her for longer than some, and she was always protected. She sees the world differently than others do and it makes her an interesting character to get to know. Now we have the idea that there may be more to her than she realizes, something that could change everything. I can’t wait to read the third book in this series to find out what she knows or has that makes her so valuable.

This is a story about a world where women are forced to marry young before they die and a girl who refuses to accept that for herself. If a girl struggling to survive a world where genetics are working against her sounds like someone you’d like to read about then you should pick up the Chemical Garden series and find out.

Wither (Book One) : Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Fever (Book Two) : Amazon | Barnes & Noble


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Eve – Anna Carey

By Anna Carey
Eve – Book 1
Available Now

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive.

Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust…and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

This Blonde’s Review:
Imagine a world where disease has destroyed most of the population. Where the majority of children are orphaned and cared for at same sex schools. This is the world Eve lives in. She is the valedictorian of her class and is excited for life after school, when she will learn more and experience more and have a chance for a great life. When she discovers a fellow student getting ready to run away and is told why, Eve doesn’t believe. Yet she finds herself looking for the truth and is horrified to discover the truth. So she runs.

She gets lucky at first, since she has no skills outside of those the school taught her. When she runs into Arden, the girl who told her about what happens after graduation, they decide to travel together for a while even though they never liked each other. Before too long her luck runs out and she finds herself in danger again. This is where she meets Caleb.

For a girl who has been taught since she was young that men are evil and only want one thing, she is smart enough to want to live to fight another day and lets him help her. She is a classic know-it-all and doesn’t want to accept that Caleb isn’t what she was taught to expect, and she refuses to accept that he knows things she doesn’t.

When Eve, Arden, and Caleb find themselves chased by soldiers looking for Eve it because apparent that she was not just another graduate. The soldiers are after her in particular, not just anyone.

Eve is a book smart girl, which does not always lead to world smarts. She finds herself in situation after situation that sound like bad ideas, and of course they are. She makes mistakes that cost other people their pride or even their lives, over and over she shows no sense.

Arden is mostly set as a secondary character, barely involved even though she is present for most of the story. She’s sick for a good portion, then when she’s better we’re still concentrating on Eve and Caleb. When she makes a sacrifice for Eve we can’t help but hope for the best for her.  I really enjoyed Arden’s character, even though she’s presented as unfriendly and unlikable. She is stronger than Eve in many ways and has a spunk that I can’t help but admire. I hope we see more of Arden in the rest of the series, I have a feeling that she could help make the series into something better.

Caleb is a kind boy who used to live at a boys school. We learn from him how the boys are treated and what can happen to the boys there. He also gives us insight into the other boys who live in the camp that he takes the girls to when Arden is sick. Through Caleb we see how the most unlikable of the boys is one we should care for, until the boy does something terrible. Caleb is both likable and unimpressive in my mind, and I hope to know more about him during the rest of the series. He’s quick to decide he loves Eve but is equally quick to run at trouble. He claims to want to be with her, yet isn’t willing to let her stay or go with her. Worst in my mind is that he doesn’t communicate with her to tell her what’s at the other end of her journey.

Eve and Caleb’s romance is sweet, but also happens quickly. Which I would expect from two teens who have little experience with the opposite sex, but is not quite how the synopsis describes it. Eve is quick to decide that she wants to stay with the boys in order to stay with Caleb, and puts herself and Arden in an obviously bad position for him. Her naiveté and desire to be with him causes more problems than it should.

I’m not really sure how I feel about Eve since I’m not sure how I feel about Eve and Caleb. It has promise and I will definitely be reading the next in this series to discover what happens to Eve, Caleb, and Arden.  The concept of what is happening to the orphaned children of the country and what is happening in the country following the widespread deaths is a fascinating one. Hopefully the author can pull it together more and make the characters people I can care more for in the rest of this series.

If the description sounds interesting to you I do encourage you to read it. What is happening in this story is an interesting idea and it is entirely possible you’ll have stronger feelings for the characters than I did. There are just as many great reviews I’ve seen as there are uncertain ones, so trust your judgment and give it a try if you think it’ll appeal to you.


Awaken – Katie Kacvinsky

By Katie Kacvinsky
Available 23 May 2011


Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin.

Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.

Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking. 

In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.   

This Blonde’s Review:

Imagine a world where you never have to leave your home. Where you are encouraged not to. School, shopping, socializing, anything you would want to do can be done online. Imagine your father is the man who built the online school and is responsible for a lot of this happening. Now imagine that your father doesn’t trust you an inch and your every move is monitored.

This is Maddie’s life. Until she meets Justin. He is just a random kid she met in an online study group. A boy who talks her into a live study session. A hot boy who seems to be interested in talking to her.

Justin believes in a world Maddie doesn’t know. A world where people meet face to face. A world where people have a choice of what kind of school they attend. A world where people are not arrested for protesting online school.

The scary thing is that this future seems all too possible. Katie Kacvinsky shows us the world as it could be. School shootings becoming more frequent, school bombings coordinated across countries. Elementary school children killed by the hundreds. People afraid for their children and afraid for themselves. Online schools are already available for for all grade levels, it is easy to see a day when online school is required.

But what happens when you live in a world where all of your contact is made online? You start to lose to ability to connect with people. The only things you share are the things you choose to, so you only know the part of a person they choose to share with you. Nothing is real, everything is surface only.

Except Maddie isn’t really all she seems. As the book goes on we see that there is more to her than you think. Justin isn’t just a boy she happened to meet, he’s a member of a rebellious group that has searched her out purposefully, hoping to recruit her to their side.

I really enjoyed Maddie. She’s stuck between what she believes, a boy, and her family. If there is no way to have it all then how can she choose?

I kind of liked Justin at first, but didn’t like him at the same time. He clearly had an ulterior motive, but did he Really like her or was he just using her? He was hard to get to know and care about, although I did ultimately decide I liked him and wanted things to work out for him and Maddie. They could be really good for each other.

Awaken wasn’t really what I was expecting. I suppose I thought it would be the kind of place where no one went out and the world outside was basically empty. A world where it’s not safe to be outside. There are no real trees or grass in cities anymore, but when you get away from the cities it almost seems like everything is fine. There are still people who get out and meet others, so going out isn’t as uncommon as I thought it would be. Instead it is discouraged but still allowed.

I really can’t wait for the 2nd book in this series! I haven’t heard anything about a 2nd book yet, but with the way it ended it is clearly part of a series.

This is a dystopian YA story about teenagers trying to change a world gone wrong. If the description sounds good to you and dystopian worlds that could really happen are things you enjoy reading then you should get a copy of this book later this month.