February 25, 2011

Wither - Lauren DeStefano

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy)Young Adult
Pages: 368
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Release Date: March 22, 2011

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.

Wither is dystopia outside the lines. This was a book that made me want to sit and just think about it. The plot is set in the future yes, yet it is a future with almost no technology, where men may have several wives, where women are valued merely for their reproductive function, and where women are sold like merchandise and forced into unwanted marriages. This brought to my mind the issue of Dystopian Vs. Historical Fiction which I posted about a while ago. To me, this book had a very historical feel to it.

I really, really liked the fact that the romance issues were also atypical. Rhine is forced to marry and become one of Logan's three wives. Rhine finds herself more and more fond of her husband throughout the book, which is rare and unexpected. This was what I most enjoyed about it. I'm team Logan, if that makes sense. I utterly enjoyed Logan's character and found myself wanting Rhine to claim her place, be jealous of Cecily and forget about her past and issues. I'm not sure if it was because Gabriel's character was not as richly developed as the rest or if it was part of what the author wants us to feel. But the point is the book was very successful in stirring up emotions in me and gave me a thought-provoking experience. Plus, I really enjoyed the writing.

With that said, I did not feel the book was exactly fast paced. I felt it rather slow and even had to drag myself through some parts. I didn't feel it was a page-turning dystopia at all and that's also one of the reasons I compare it with historical, because in historical you expect that might happen. So I'm NOT saying it was a bad thing at all, but differs from its genre in that sense. One thing I have been noticing though, is that the futuristic part has become a shield in which the author feels that, since it's technically not reality (its just our world gone foul), they can freely portray hard social issues. This book has teen pregnancy, polygamy, and cruel death and I felt the it deals with these hard issues in a very light way. Since it is part of a series, I still need to read more to say for sure though.

Overall, it is a very different and creative approach to the unwanted the future. A beautiful prose that leaves be salivating for the next book.


  1. LOVED Wither when I finished it the other day! Glad you liked it, too.

  2. I'm really looking forward to this. I like that it's a bit different!

  3. I did not know this was going to be part of a series, but I am quite fascinated by the premise and am anxious to read it. Good to know that despite the pace you still enjoyed it. Definitely need to read this one in the very near future.

  4. It was a little slow and the ending was kind of anti-climatic but I overall I enjoyed this one.

  5. I'm looking forward to reading Wither.

  6. I loved this on! It was a bit more leisurely to read but I thought the way the story unfolded was perfect for the plot.


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