Friday, July 11, 2014

Book Review - Lauren DeStefano's Sever

Sever (The Chemical Garden Book 3) by Lauren DeStefano
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: February 12th, 2013
Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages
Rating: ★★
To Buy

Rhine is now officially her father-in-law's medical experiment. Brought back to the family compound, her husband doesn't even know she's being "treated" in the basement, along with many other people who were supposedly long gone. Even when finally faced with the truth of his father's crimes, Linden can't quite cope and chooses to believe the lie he's lived his entire life. Yet he is savvy enough to try to protect his two remaining wives by hiding them at his uncle's house. After all that Rhine has been through she is surprised to see that two of her fellow captives are willing to help her find her brother and put right what went wrong.

Rhine's husband Linden and her sister wife Cecily help in the hunt for Rowan. Finding Rowan won't be as hard as Rhine thought. In the aftermath of her disappearance and supposed death in a medical experiment, Rowan might just have cracked, as his anti science rantings and bombing of medical centers would indicate. But maybe, just maybe, there's a giant conspiracy afoot which will make friends of enemies and hopefully end this death sentence hanging over all the world. Twenty is too young to die.

And then the series became a rip off of M. Night Shyamalan's The Villiage, which was a rip off of Running Out of Time... but with a bit more of a lean towards the Margaret Peterson Haddix book, and I threw my hands up in the air in exasperation. If it wasn't for that unexpected bloodbath at the end in which I took not just a little bit of joy, there would be nothing memorable about this book other then the faint melancholy I feel for what this series could have been. The unbelievability of the underlying reason for everything that happens means that everything in the book is on an unstable base and is therefore unbelievable as well.

Just because a book is set in a dystopian society doesn't mean that you get to ignore logic. The whole point of dystopian versus fantasy is that it is a possibility. Something could go wrong with our society, a virus, a massive power failure, a war, something that could go wrong does and we are plunged into a future nightmare. You can't just decide that I have this cool idea as to how society could became a certain way and force it on society. People have a hive mind mentality, they won't go against this hive mind, and what DeStefano suggests happens is so against the hive mind, it's unacceptable as what drives the plot.

So, now is the time if you haven't seen The Village to stop reading, because besides spoiling this book I plan to spoil the movie, neither of which are worth your time, so really, I'm doing you a favor. OK, so in the utterly predictable movie The Village, a group comes together and basically removes themselves from society. They have seen the horror that humanity has became and want to live a safe, insular life without any outside influence. The group makes this decision for their safety, their heath, and the safety and future of their children. Self exile for the continuation of the species. This is feasible on a small scale, because they are like-minded individuals who are brought together through grief and come to a similar conclusion.

With Sever we learn that the ENTIRE United States decides to eschew technology and anything outside the contiguous forty-eight states in exchange for perfect health and children with genes that will mean they live out their lives at the physical peak of humanity, which, of course, backfires on them. They even re-write history so that the outside world no longer exists. What country does DeStefano live in? The US going all "Village" and giving away it's love of gadgets and technology and access to the world for perfect health? Um no. We sadly live in a world where a person would kill someone for an iPhone, there's no chance in hell this would ever happen. To disconnect from the outside world, well maybe, but give up gadgets? No. The hive mind will prevail!

I can't believe in a virus that is caused by a situation that could never, ever, ever, happen. I'm sorry, I just can't buy into the world of this series anymore, which, by they way, it's title doesn't make any sense. "The Chemical Garden" um... yeah, not working. I thought it would be cool if maybe it was poisonous plants that did this, but using it as a pun on a hospital nursery, lame. Yet it is to do with what is in that nursery that the moral question the series is asking originates from. All this comes down to is the question of what would we do for our children? I'm not saying that the breeders could actually get everyone to agree to this world by playing the "children our our future" card, but I can see where they are coming from.

The Village was for the future and the children, and look what those parents did to give them a better world. Would we be willing to let our children suffer pain if it helped in the long run? Is Vaughn's evil experiments and dissection of his dead daughters-in-law excusable because it was for the greater good? It's kind of like trying to pardon a Nazis... medical advancement versus what is morally right. I'm sorry, but if I'm getting joy out of watching your characters die and comparing your book to a bad movie, there is no way that I'm really going to bother with these weighty issues. I'm just going to take your books to the used bookstore and get it off my shelves. I need the space for better books, not to dwell on philosophical conundrums.


Newer Post Older Post Home