Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Review: Wither (Chemical Gardens #1) by Lauren DeStefano

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 limited time she has left.

Wither is a rather stark dystopian novel.  The shortened life spans have led people to take actions they never would before.  Young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages, to have as many children as they can before they die.  Children roam streets in the city, forced to steal food to survive, as their parents have already died from the virus.

The story is rather dark, without much to lighten it up.  I'm not sure how believable it is that Linden had absolutely no idea what his father was doing - in the same house he was living in.  But his father kept everything in tight control, so perhaps it's possible.  I wanted Linden to be a little more likable than he was, maybe with a little more backbone to stand up to his father's machinations.  

The romance between Rhine and Gabriel left a good bit to be desired, and I'm not talking about sex scenes!  Just some sparks, to help the idea that they are falling in love along.  It mostly felt to me like they were just two people who wanted to escape their fate and helped each other.

It's an interesting novel, though I think it could have been told in about one hundred less pages and still have the same impact.  Still, I think it's worth reading!

I give this book 3 Bookworms. 

Reading Level:  Young Adult
Hardcover:  368 pages
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing; 1 edition (March 22, 2011)
ISBN-10:  9781442409057
ISBN-13:  978-1442409057
ASIN:  1442409053
Ebook:  780 kb, 256 pages

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