Stef's Reviews > Wither

Wither by Lauren DeStefano
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's review
Jan 02, 2011

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bookshelves: young-adult


Wither is the first book in the Chemical Garden trilogy. It is a beautifully written book (to match the appealing cover) that will definitely send you into a thought provoking tailspin.

Rhine is a 16 year old young lady living in a dystopian world, where everyone with the exception of people in their 50’s ( referred to as the first generations) are genetically engineered. These unfortunate souls only live a short life span. The females live to the age of 20 and the males live to the age of 25. Like clockwork, this mysterious virus takes its toll when they hit that dreaded age and they are taken from the earth far too early in life. With such a short life span, the way of human life is different. Rhine is a victim of kidnapping due to this doomed world. She is taken by the Gatherers and is sold off to the rich and privileged who live the polygamist lifestyle. Rhine wakes up in a luxurious mansion filled with anything one can desire, but everything in the world can’t replace what’s been stolen from her in the first place. Her twin brother and her freedom. Rhine is forced into marrying a man, Linden, not much older than herself, along with two other girls. That’s not even the worst part, Linden is still married to the love of his life, who is on her death bead, withering away from the virus which will claim them all. As for the other two new wives, one is older than her, Jenna, and she seems as unwilling to be there as Rhine is. The other is younger with a fired up and spoiled spirit, Cecily, and she seems to be on the top of the world to be marrying a man she’s never met. Rhine is able to put on her poker face and adjust to this way of life for the time being, but she never loses sight of what she really wants while she watches everyone around her just accept this trapped and brainwashed everyday life. She may have a short life but she is willing to make it shorter to just fight her way back to freedom, where she won’t have to be a forced wife and baby maker. While living her forced life, she unexpectedly falls for a forbidden person who warms her soul just as much as the thought of freedom does. However, with unexpected blossoming relationships within this luxurious and personal jail, Rhine finds herself perplexed by her feelings for sister wives and obligatory husband who make her see this routine of life isn’t as black and white as she first thought.

I haven’t ventured into dystopian style books yet, so this is my first. I loved the writing style, which has a smooth and effortless feel to it. There are aspects in this book where it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Polygamy underage glossed over sex might offend some people, but I wouldn’t let it discourage you from reading this book. It is good to try something new, even if its unsettles you at first. I think this type of book is meant to make us think of where the world is going, and that trying to control natural selection can’t be done without enormous consequences. The characters are strong and if we lived in that world, they‘d be easy to relate to. I do pity the women though, 3 women, one man that’s just not good math my friend. Satisfaction would be hard to come by. The ending was all at the same time sad, bittersweet and hopeful with a side order of anticipation for the next book. There isn’t much action in the book, if that’s what you’re looking for, but I suggest you read it just to try something new, especially if you haven’t ventured into this genre yet. I was lucky to win this copy as an ARC from Simon and Schuster and I will be purchasing the follow up, but, hey, I’d love to get that one for free too.

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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Jessica (new) - added it

Jessica this seems like a good read, how are you liking it so far?

Stef I was a bit on the fence about it at first, but i like it. The storyline is a nice change from what I'm usually reading. Its set in a dystopian world so it has downer moments but the writing is enjoyable characters are strong. I hope to have it done by the weekend.. so i'll share the review, here and Chapters probably. (Which i assume i can do lol.. its an ARC i won, so i'm still fuzzy on rules and details for that)

message 3: by Jessica (new) - added it

Jessica i like dystopian novels, i've only read one or two of them though and would like to get into them more. i'll definitely check out your review when you post it. :) ARC? did you win it through goodreads? maybe i should sign up for some of those contests and see if i get lucky.

Stef I entered the free stuff giveaways at the Simon and Schuster site.. and it just showed up in the mail a couple days before christmas. I was pretty excited.. my first book win.

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