I was so sorely disappointed in this book it borders on hate. As such, this blog post will be a rather long rant on the idiocies, irritating unanswered questions, and terrible characters that plague this book.
WARNING: Reading this series may result in wanting to scream at the author, bash her over the head with the book to knock some sense (and hopefully better writing) into her, and order her to re-write the last two books. Read at your peril.
I was left with so many questions, questions that I’m beginning to suspect that Lauren Destefano doesn’t have answers for. The readers, as a result, know almost nothing about this world which makes it really hard for us to understand and imagine it. Here are some questions I wish had been answered:
We get half answers in infodumps. Hawaii was introduced in this book as a society untouched by the ‘virus’. Why? No idea. We are never told. Why introduce Hawaii if some clue or key wasn’t hidden there? I see no real point to having this revelation about Hawaii.
Destefano also explains why there is limited technology in this world by saying that all phones and the internet were basically switched off and the decision was only met with mild opposition. No. Way. Not for a second do I believe that. And why, once they figured out that cell phones and the internet were not the cause, did they not turn it back on?! Oh. So you could have a futuristic, apocalyptic type world? That isn’t a good enough reason.
They are flaunted throughout the series as this big, mysterious experiment Rhine’s mother and father were a part of, and oh yeah, the series is NAMED AFTER THEM!! But then it is not explained or explored at all.
What is the purpose of the procedure where needles are put through Rhine and Rowan’s eyes? I’m no genetic scientist, but I’m pretty sure that sticking needles in people’s eyes won’t cure their strange genetic mutation. So why does Destefano do it? Because she was too lazy to research what a real doctor would do and instead chose what she thought would be most scary. Vaughn also goes on and on about how special Rhine and Rowan are. But what about them (besides their mismatched eyes) is special? Nothing that we know! So completely frustrating that Destefano brings out all these interesting tidbits to dangle and then brushes them under the rug.
Rhine pretty much does nothing this entire book. She keeps whining about how she needs to find her brother, but then sits and does nothing for at least half the book. Your 20 years are fast running out, your brother is blowing things up, and you sit and organize stuff?! Do something!
She just gives up all the time! She spends two and a half books running away from Vaughn and then just joins him, no struggle, when she sees that her brother trusts him. She doesn’t even try to tell her brother about the awful things Vaughn has done; she just asks him why he believes everything Vaughn says. His brilliant answer is something like, “Just wait. I’ve seen things.” Because that’s reassuring! You should totally climb aboard an aircraft with a crazy lunatic who put needles in your eyes and kills people so he can cut them up and experiment on them, and your slightly less crazy brother who blows up labs.
Rhine decides at the end of the book not to search for those awful things she was in Vaughn’s lab. Seriously? One, the reader wants to know. Two, I believe that any sane person who cared about the people, like Jenna and Diedre, who were frozen and trapped down there would want to put them to rest. It is just lazy writing not to delve into that.
Destefano carefully constructs the obligatory YA love triangle in Whither only to pretend that it isn’t there in Sever.
A. Linden and Rhine spend the entire book wanting, but not wanting, each other. She seems to be backpedalling from her decision not to be with Linden like, Linden obviously is such a wonderful guy, I shouldn’t have betrayed him. Oh no, we aren’t married, I think I care for him still! Seriously?! He bought you and allowed you and your other sister-wives to be used like guinea pigs.
B. How are readers supposed to want Linden to be with any of the girls? Especially Cecily, who is 14 and pregnant for the second time. We get all these disgustingly ‘cute’ family moments between Cecily and Linden. You are not fooling anyone Destefano. Linden didn’t really like her before, he certainly doesn’t love her just because she had his child. Examine human behavior before you slap crap on a page.
C. Gabriel is boring, but a convenient helper when Rhine needs to escape. She has to be given drugs to make out with him, and we see her yearning for more kisses from Linden, but it seems that she ends up with Gabriel in the end. Boring.
The secondary characters are seriously the only thing that keep this book afloat, which is simply pathetic. If there were not characters like Cecily and Reed I would rate this book as a negative star.
We get to see more of Rowan in this book, but I wish she had just left him out. He is not smart, and his motivation is all sorts of crazy. He is blowing up labs for Vaughn because he thinks Rhine was killed in one, but then he lets Vaughn experiment on him?? How does that makes sense at all? It doesn’t.
Cecily turned out to be a much more enjoyable character in this book. She is less whiney and jealous, finally starts using her brain where Vaughn is involved, and grows a spine. She fiercely protects those she loves, and although Rhine compares herself to a mother for Cecily, it is Cecily who is more the mother to Rhine, and Rhine the troublesome child.
Cecily, Rhine, and Linden drive from Florida towards New York. Without a map. It’s not like there is a single highway you can just get on, often you have to change freeways two or three times during long road trips. You would most definitely need a map. This is all assuming that the highways are not in a RIDICULOUS state of disrepair after all those years of no one using them and no one fixing them…
I thought Linden dying was so unnecessary and random. I’m relatively sure Destefano only did it so she could kill Vaughn. On that note, Vaughn’s death was so anticlimactic. I knew Cecily was going to kill him from the moment Reed taught her to use a gun for NO REASON AT ALL. Way to shout to your readers, Clue! Clue! Cecily’s going to use a gun later, who do ya think she’ll shoot?! The entire basis of the books is never completely answered. The world isn’t made right, and we don’t know if they solved the early death thing. So what was the point of this series? It wasn’t teenage love in the face of horrible circumstances. It wasn’t to solve the question of why this happened to the world so they can fix it. And it wasn’t to cure themselves, because we don’t even know if that happened for sure or what the cure is.
This book gets one star only because I loved the first book. But I hated this book, and since the entire series served no POINT, I really don’t recommend starting this series. Book one is fabulous, but it’s not worth it. At all.
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