In the third book of The Chemical Garden Trilogy, readers finally learn what exactly a Chemical Garden is.
Rhine has returned to evil Vaughn’s compound, reconnecting with her husband, Linden, and sister wife, Cecily. In Bella Swan fashion, she wonders about missing Gabriel, the servant with whom she escaped and found comfort in Fever (2012), yet rekindles her feelings for Linden and their strange relationship. The first half of the story crawls as Rhine once again makes plans to outwit Vaughn and search for her twin brother, Rowan. At long last she has the support of Linden and Cecily, who slowly realize Vaughn’s deception, as well as support from Linden’s hippie-ish uncle, who lives off the grid. Once Rhine discovers that Rowan has become a celebrity vigilante terrorist, destroying virus-research labs across the country, and the true nature of her deceased scientist parents’ work, the pace picks up. Readers, along with Rhine, learn more about the virus that kills off young adults, how American society destroyed itself, how the virus may have been unleashed and Vaughn’s secret experiments to find a cure. Ironically, in this rushed effort to tie up loose ends, holes are left in its wake.
Fans will delight in the symbolism and clues from the cover, but they will ultimately find the trilogy’s conclusion unsatisfactory. (Dystopian romance. 14 & up)