Wow. Talk about a novel that has me in it's grips! I think I barely came up for air while reading this book, staying up late into the night to finish it. Not that I was surprised, since I loved Wither so much.
First of all, this book picked up right where the last one left off, and it took me no time at all to catch up. This is what a good series should feel like. That even though it has been roughly a year since I read the first book, I can jump right back into the story again without feeling lost at all.
Oh, how nice it was to be back with Rhine and Gabriel! Quite harrowing at times, but these two characters are so sweet together. And I absolutely loved Madame's carnival. Lauren DeStefano truly excels at world building, capable of describing whole scenes with a few choice adjectives. Color, smell, and taste are her favorite ways to describe the scenes, and I found them to be extra vivid from such sensory words. Just be warned not to read this book while eating! Sickness is a main theme in the story, and it gave me the stomach rolly-pollies on more than one occasion. But I think it takes a lot for a story to revolve around illness and still be interesting enough for the reading to stay enraptured in the plot.
The characters are so fantastic, as well. Rhine is so fortunate to meet the people she does while on her journey. Lilac and Maddie at the carnival are just two of so many lovely folks along the way. Then of course there is the horrifying Vaughn, who makes my blood run cold. The characters, the descriptions, the whole world in general... all of this make the Chemical Garden series so amazing. As long as the book was open in my hands, it literally felt like I dissolved into the story. Stunning and beautiful.
One last thing to mention is the cliffhanger ending. How could you, Lauren? I must have the next book, like, now!!
Overall Rating: 5 Stars