Monday, 4 March 2013

Sever by Lauren DeStefano

This is the third and final book in this series, so there'll be spoilers in the summary for the first two books. I really recommend the series though, if you haven't read it yet. 

by Lauren DeStefano

Summary: 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.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (just thought I'd mention that first because my review got a bit long and I do discuss negative aspects of the book too)

Up until the last quarter of this book, I was convinced I was going to be disappointed with this as an ending to the series (not bad, just not satisfying)...but then, somehow I found myself crying on the last page and deciding that, no, I actually think it was a pretty good ending and I really liked the book.

My favourite thing about this series is definitely the way Lauren DeStefano writes. Her writing is lovely, and even at times in the series where I felt other areas were lacking, the writing was consistently good and I loved that. I want to quote my favourite part of the book, but it's from the last page so I'll just link it instead in case anyone doesn't want to read it.

The world building in the series was always something I felt wasn't that great, definitely the weakest part of the series, but it improved a bit in this book. It still wasn't perfect, but at least we got some answers that explain the why's and how's that have been bugging me for the past two books.

The characters in the book - I still really like them, particularly the bond that has formed between Rhine and Cecily; Cecily is the character that has grown the most throughout the series and in the end I really liked her (while in the beginning, I thought she was annoying and a bit awful, so she totally won me over). I loved Reed too, the new character in the story. Rhine bugged me a little at times in the book (like, for example, when she seems to spill her entire life story to people she barely knows but when it matters most--with the person it matters most with--she gets all tongue tied and sits there saying nothing as bad things are about to happen), but I liked her.

The romance in the book (or at least, the relationships of characters in the book romantically involved, because it didn't really feel like what was in the book was romance)...I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to feel about those. Like, Linden and Cecily - I'm not sure if I was supposed to like them as a couple or not? I mean, I'm cool with age differences in a relationship, but not when one person is practically still a child while the other is an adult, especially not when it's a sexual relationship and they're having children...that's Not cool with that, even in the context of the story that's very - ick, and just wrong but it felt almost like we're supposed to approve of them or think they're right for each other? (Maybe not what the author intended, but it felt that way.)

And the Cecily thing makes me think way less of Linden as a character, which sucks because aside from that, he wasn't terrible and him and Rhine actually weren't bad together...but then Rhine, she'd say one thing, then she'd think something else and her actions and emotions and words were all out of sync sometimes when it came to Linden, and Gabriel just seemed like an afterthought and...yeah. The romantic relationships in the book were a bit of a mess and I'm not sure how I feel about them.

I don't consider that a problem with the book really, definitely not a problem with the way it was written (they're living in a messed up world, so the relationships reflecting that is fine), it's just - that's what I was thinking while reading it. And, like I said, it didn't feel like I was reading a romance (or even a romance subplot) anyway, so it didn't really impact my overall opinion of the book but I wanted to mention it anyway.

Moving on...

The first half/two thirds of the book felt very slow, and I'm not sure if that's because they actually were or if it's because I've just been having trouble reading/finishing books recently, but it didn't feel like there was a whole lot going on in that part of the book. It felt more character driven than plot, which is fine, it's just...slow. The pacing picked up in the rest of the book; it actually felt kind of rushed in comparison to the first part of the book but it wasn't bad.

This review is kind of rambling and all over the place (I seem to do that a lot), sorry, but basically, I really liked the book. I'd rate it 4 out of 5. It didn't disappoint me as an ending to the series, there was just enough answers, just enough closure (not like the books that either go OTT with the happily ever after or leave way too many loose ends untied).

There was really only one thing that I didn't like about it (I can't mention without spoiling it, but you'll know what I mean when you read it), because it felt really pointless and a bit of a cop-out because it prevented things from being more complicated in the end and made the choices characters made less difficult than they would have been had it not happened and so it felt like it was written in for that reason instead of it fitting with the story. But, aside from that thing? *thumbs up*


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