October 26, 2013

Book Review: Wither

Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)Title: Wither.
Author: Lauren DeStefano.
Series: Yes, #1.
Pages: 358.
Source: Purchased.
Publisher: Simon and Schuster.
Published Date: 3/22/11.
Barnes and Noble.


"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?

Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?"


Wither (and the rest of the series) has such a beautiful cover, with intricate details and interesting qualities. It also represents the story so well; which is what I look for in a cover. The obvious one is the girl, I would assume her to be Rhine. Then the wedding ring on her finger and the caged bird. Perfect!

My Thoughts:

I can't believe this book was published almost three years ago, it feels like just yesterday! After the first few months of its release I couldn't hear enough good things about it, but as time went on reviews started taking a shift, and evaluating what the story was truly missing.

I went into reading this book excited but also a bit hesitant, due to all the reviews I had read over the years. Many people really enjoyed the book, and it kind of sucks when I don't get the same enjoyment out of it as others did...bleh.

Wither takes place in a futuristic world where nothing is the same as it is today. After World War 3, a cure was found to any and every disease and sickness humanly possible, so people who received this treatment were able to live for much longer than we are today. But after that generation was given this treatment, their children (the next generation) was dying off quickly. Women at the age of 20 and men at the age of 25. Afraid that the human race was soon dying out, rich men were hiring others (basically kidnappers) to steal and select girls for him to marry, and have children with.

Rhine is living alone with her twin brother in poverty; hiding and keeping watch at night. Rhine knew that girls were being kidnapped and stolen, so she was always afraid and hesitant. Until she was kidnapped, and piled along with many other girls in a van. After witnessing many of those girls being dragged away to kill, Rhine (16) and two others (Jenna (18) and Cecily (13)) were chosen to wed a man named Linden.

Wither follows the story of Rhine and her stay at Linden's, as well as her attempt to escape and get back to her brother.

Wither had many interesting characters, whom of which many I really liked. Rhine wasn't the bad ass leading female character I was hoping for in this story, but I felt she still played a really good role. She was more quiet, and steady. I felt that she was watching and making more important moves to get out in the future, then to get out right then and there. I felt that if she tried to escape much earlier she wouldn't have become Linden's favorite nor would she have gained all the freedom that she did.

While the other two girls were completely different than Rhine. Jenna, the older one, was much more mysterious and I liked her for the character she played. She came from a rough background, and I felt that even though she was sad for being there, that she was happy that she at the very least had a roof over her head. Cecily on the other hand, was very excited to be there. She was blinded by the house, and all the nice things inside; as well as Linden's attention. I felt that she was almost too young to truly understand all the cruel things going on here.

I enjoyed the three girls and I can say all of the smaller characters. But on the other hand I thought Linden was a bit strange, for the role he played. I know that he didn't know that these three girls were kidnapped from their home and their loved ones, but holy cow! He can't be that dumb can he? Did he really think that these three girls just showed up on his front step happy to marry him? Can he really be that naive? When only one (Cecily) is somewhat interested in talking to him? I also felt that it was strange that in the one year that Rhine was with him, he never forced her to bare a child of his, especially because of the circumstances.

Overall I enjoyed the story and I'm excited to continue the series, but I do have to say, that I felt there was something missing. There are so many heavy topics occurring in this book (polygamy, kidnapping, child marriage, rape etc) but DeStefano never really discusses them, she only brings them up. I felt that the story could have been much more interesting and have more substance if she would have. But she seemed to just skim over these topics and continue with the story.

1 comment:

  1. I felt pretty similarly about Wither. I liked most of the characters for the reasons you've said, but I agree that such issues could've been discussed more. I haven't read the other books yet, but I have a feeling that they'll touch on those issues a lot more.

    Wonderful review!


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