Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Book Review - Wither (Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Series: The Chemical Garden Trilogy
Source: ARC from S&S
What if you knew exactly when you would die?
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 Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.
As you know (or don't), covers are a huge part of a love of books for me, and the first time I saw Wither, I knew I'd have to read and have this book. Never did I expect Simon and Schuster to send me an ARC, and when it came, I was blown away!
I was also blown away by the story. It's about Rhine, a young girl who is sold into a relationship with a husband, Linden, and 2 sister wives, Jenna and Cecily. Rhine goes from living on the lookout and having to board up her house to protect her and her older brother, to living in a world with riches and wealth, and it is exciting and scary for her. She forms friendships with the least likely - an attendant - and together they work to plan her escape.
This is a debut novel for DeStefano, and I think she did a wonderful job. The writing is not only phenomenal, but the storyline and characters are up to par with it. This is a dystopian novel, and I haven't read many in this genre, (Read this one for Dystopian February @ Presenting Lenore) but Lauren DeStefano writes a clear story and paints a clear picture in your head of the future set out in Wither. The plot read well and had me interested all along.
The characters are well written and unique and for characters who only live to 20 (females) and 25 (males), we can learn a lot about them and we can see how they each deal with the inevitable - death.
Wither is a great read. There are twists, and strong characters throughout the novel, and with a haunting quote at the front of the book - "This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang / But a wimper" T.S Eliot, "The Hollow Men" - and that stunning front cover, we know we're getting ourselves into something really good.