Author: Lauren DeStefano
Rating: 4/5 stars
"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.
In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered."
“We'll squeeze every second that we can from our lives, because we're young, and we have plenty of years to grow. We'll grow until we're braver. We'll grow until our bones ache and our skin wrinkles and our hair goes white, and until our hearts decide, at last, that it's time to stop.”
This is one of the best endings to a series I've ever read. There is no loose ties. All questions are answered. The big mysteries are explained. People die. It is shocking. Everything intertwines and makes sense. Plus, that last paragraph is perfect. BRAVO. I love you DeStephano. That last chapter. I'm tearing up a little.
“I liked just being with you. I liked the way you breathed when you were asleep. I liked when you took the champagne glass from my hand. I liked how your fingers were always too long for your gloves.”
Linden you are so frustrating. Because you are so freaking sensitive all the time. And you are lovely and nervous and angsty. You are so lovable. I don't even care if you got a 13 year old pregnant. You are adorable. So nice and comforting. Why did you have to die? I was devastated even though I already knew he was going to die.
Killing off characters is such a delicate thing to do. Sever was successful at it. It's up there with Harry Potter and The Hunger Games on the dying thing.
“He sits next to me, careful to avoid my hair that's splayed out around my head like blood. A bullet to the forehead, boom, blond waves everywhere.”
Rhine reached a new level. She was bubbling with emotion. She spends a lot of this novel in some sort of zombielike denial of depression where she is nervous all the time. Her world is crashing, everything she knows is being twisted and proven wrong. Her parents were a lot more like the man she was trying to run away from than she realized.
“Vaughn is talking about the heat, and his voice is so excited that it breaks into whispers at times. He loves his madness the way a bird loves the sky.”
Which brings us to Vaughn. A novel is really impressive when it makes you like the antagonist. The big bad evil has emotions. I truely pity him. Which is fantastic. God, I don't think everyone understands how perfect this book is. After a year of endings that I don't feel are finished (ex. Boundless), I like this book more and more. God, why do you make me feel these feelings?
“I feel unburdened, and after a while I start to imagine that the divan is a boat moving over the ocean. Sunken cities play music beneath the waves. The ghosts are stirring.”
This wasn't a love story. It was more of a poetic wave of depression mixed with earth-shattering realizations. Gabriel isn't even in the novel until the second to last chapter, and Rhine develops an odd friendship with Linden. Then there is her relationship with Cecily which is a soothing mother-daughter-sister type thing.
“There’s this anomaly that happens sometimes with twins. It occurs in the womb when the fetuses are growing too closely to each other. The stronger twin develops normally, while the weaker twin crumples and is encased by the body of the stronger twin, where it becomes a parasite. The result is a single child, plagued by a twin-shaped fossil inside. Like a tumor.In death Rose became Linden’s parasitic twin. They were two separate organisms once, growing steadily beside each other. Two pulses. Two brains. But she has crumpled and died, and still he carries her inside himself. She goes where he goes, feeling nothing, seeing nothing, a shadow behind his ribs.”
I really love how everything that happened in the trilogy was revisited and analyzed. Madame. Silas. Jenna. Rowan. Their parents. Maddie. Lilac/Grace. Jared. Rose. Freaking perfection, man.
“We figure out what death means when we're born, practically, and we live our whole lives in some kind of weird denial about it.”
The cure. This was the most interesting part for me. Going into the Ellery's work. Rhine & Rowan's malformed siblings. Hawaii. The bombing of the research facilities. Eye needles. Vaughn's basement of horrors. President Guiltree's group of scientists. All was so intriguing.
"It's just him and me, and the books. I feel like our lives are in those books. I feel like all the words on the pages are for us.”
Final rating. 4 Stars. Whoo hoo to a fantastic series!!!
“Someday I'll tell you all of it," I say.
"I'd like that," he says.
"No," I say. "I promise you won't.”