Release Date: March 22, 2011
Series: Chemical Garden Book #1
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Around the World Tours and Simon & Schuster GallyGrab
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden’s genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden’s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.
The premise of Wither by Lauren DeStefano is eerie and completely gripping! You really won’t be able to put it down. I’ve heard it compared to The Handmaid’s Tale, but I haven’t read that, so I don’t know how it stacks up. Imagine only living until you are 20 or 25. At first you think things wouldn’t be that different, but if you give it some in depth thought the implications of no one living past 25 are endless. It would change everything!
We do get a lot of information about the state of the world even though Rhine is stuck in the mansion. The mansion, to me, seemed like Rhine’s own little dystopian world. There was strict rules and a certain way she had to act at all times. The villain in the story, Housemaster Vaughn, wasn’t completely convincing to me. Sure, he was creepy, but a lot of the things that made him sound bad were just stories told by other people. We didn’t see a lot of bad things first hand, and that made him a little unconvincing to me.
I have some very mixed feelings about the romance in Wither. Gabriel is supposed to be the romance, the one that Rhine really likes, but I just didn’t feel it, and I kinda liked Linden…..I feel that Linden was innocent in the situation. His father is the one who set all of the terrible things in motion. I think that Linden’s feelings for Rhine were real, but the relationship between Gabriel and Rhine will probably develop much more in the next book. Like I said, I have mixed feelings.
Rhine and all her sister wives were great characters. I especially like Jenna. I love how they bonded in such a horrible situation and actually became friends, or sisters. Each of them had very different personalities and each were lovable in their own way.
All in all, Wither was a good read. Maybe not as good as I had hoped, but it was engaging and I will definitely be reading book 2 to find out more about this world Lauren DeStefano has created.