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Sunday, December 27, 2020

Book Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano
Genre: Young Adult (Dystopian)
Date Published: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can't bring herself to hate him as much as she'd like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband's strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?

Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom? 

Wither is the first book in the Chemical Garden series by Lauren DeStefano. From the cover to the blurb, I had high hopes going into this book. Unfortunately, I needed to know more about the disease. I needed to know why there was an insta-romance between two people who never really got to know each other. I needed more to happen in general, because there was a lot of down time. I liked the friendship that formed among the wives. I expected a lot of jealousy and catty behavior, but these girls were just trying to survive in this dangerous world. For me, I kept wanting Rhine to get to know Lindon better. They actually spent time together, and I felt a bit of chemistry there. I feel like he has been sheltered, and brainwashed, and is a victim too. I would love to have explored his side of things a little more. There was a lot here, and so many directions it could have gone, but ultimately, I wasn't satisfied with the path it went, because I didn't  really believe it. I know it's fiction, but it all just kind of fell flat for me. The writing style is beautiful though.

I'm a New York Times bestselling author, and professional cat lady. Kirkus has called my writing “macabre and psychologically sophisticated.”

To learn more about Lauren DeStefano and her books, visit her website. You can also find her on Goodreads & Instagram.

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