Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Review: Wither (Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano

Wither is the first book in the new Chemical Garden series and the debut novel of Lauren DeStefano.

Book Description
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?

Wither is the story of Rhine - a 16 year old girl who will assumably die at age 20.  There is a virus/genetic defect that kills females at 20 and males at 25. Rhine is kidnapped and forced to marry a wealthy 21 year old - who is also 4 years away from death.  Despite the consequences, Rhine is determined to escape her new life and return home to her twin brother.

First and foremost, I enjoyed reading this book.  I found it well written, fast paced, and atmospheric.  I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys the young adult dystopian genre.

I did, however, have a hard time suspending my disbelief.  I was left with many questions regarding the society, the characters, and the motivation behind the events taking place.  I think these questions would make for excellent book club discussions, but they also make it necessary for the reader to enter DeStefano's dystopia with an open mind and a willingness to let go of logic a little.

Are you a fan of dystopia?  I love it.  I'm not a huge fan of the trending series format - I prefer a resolved story, but I'm happy with all of the darker subject matter being published lately.

Review copy provided by publisher


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  1. I'm a huge dystopia fan. I'm actually really excited to read this book and have been for a while. I just need to get my hands on a copy now that it's out! You are the first reviewer to mention that it was difficult to suspend your disbelief and that you had questions about the plot and characters. That definitely intrigues me. I will stop back after I read it and discuss this more with you!

    Grace @ www.feedingmybookaddiction.blogspot.com

  2. Please do! I think this book lends itself to be discussed! I hope you get a chance to read it soon. :)


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