I’ve heard really good things about Lauren DeStefano’s Wither, and I was really excited to finally read it, and so glad that I did. Here’s the blurb from the jacket:
What if you knew exactly when you would die?
Thanks to modern science, every newborn child 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 is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.
First of all, this cover is amazing. I loved the graphics that went all the way around on the hardcover, and even on the inside of the jacket. It was really involving and definitely encouraged me to open it up and jump right in.
I was intrigued by this story. As far as I know, it is unique, and DeStefano made it her own through her incredible writing skills. Now, this may not have been a book that I’m raving about (you’ve seen some of my other reviews that I was ecstatic about), but this book was still very good, and I am certainly eagerly awaiting the second and third books of this Chemical Garden Trilogy.
I loved Rhine from the very beginning. She was scrappy, a survivor. I immediately liked her for her compassion, pity, and instictive ability to get things done and stay alive. I also grew to love Jenna, one of her sister wives. I feel as though I connected to her on an intelligent level – she was also a survivor, and knew how to hold a grudge! The relationships between the three sister wives were very interesting to read. I loved how DeStefano explored the polygamous marriage, especially since I’m not used to reading about them. The not-quite-yet-a-romance in the book was great too, and I can’t wait to see what goes on in the next book. The politics and sciences talked about in the book – pro-naturalists and pro-scientists, and the creepy Housemaster Vaughn who works as a geneticist. The only thing I wish I could have seen, even though it wouldn’t tie in with the story (so maybe as a deleted scene, or an extra that the author writes and releases), would be a scene where Rhine’s parents are still alive. Not vague memories, but maybe a full-blown flashback instead of snippets that are in the book. I feel as though I’d really like to get to know those characters.
All in all, this was a great book. I really enjoyed the plot, and the mood swings – there was a little bit of everything in this book. I felt the sadness, the loneliness, the confusion, and the happiness. I enjoyed the first person point of view, too, and the inside access to Rhine’s thoughts.
Awaiting the next book,