I have to apologize I’ve been behind on my reviews, but hopefully I’ll catch up soon. Once summer hits, i’ll be able to update practically everyday. Also, on a side note, I’m studying abroad in Rome next semester so look forward to some posts about what to do, see, eat, etc. while there! 🙂 Anyway here are my thoughts on book 7.Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1) by Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Chemical Garden #1
Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers on 22 March 2011
Genres: YA Science Fiction
Source: Owned Book
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 by Lauren DeStefano
Wither is surprisingly very refreshing. The novel is the first in DeStefano’s Chemical Garden Trilogy. The plot follows that of sixteen year-old Rhine Ellery who lives during a future time period within the United States. In this future time, women die at the age of 20 and boys die at the age of 25 due to meddling in genetics to create a perfect (immune) race. So obviously there is a scramble to find an antidote to cure this inherent disease and while scientists work on research the population has erupted into poverty, violence, and breeding. With an added emphasis on the breeding, many girls are kidnapped into prostitution or sold as brides to men who are polygamists to continue on their “line.”
Enter in Rhine who with just four years left to live is kidnapped (unbeknownst to her brother) and sold to Linden, a twenty year-old architect who has a controlling father. Rhine is sold along with two other girls, one eighteen and the other only thirteen. Linden, however, does not know that the girls were kidnapped, nor what happened to others who weren’t chosen. He is blinded by his sheltered life and his father’s controlling ways.
During the story, Rhine’s main goal is to escape from her imprisoned life with Linden. Readers see her relationship with the other two “sister wives” and her growing relationship with Linden. However, Rhine also grows close to a servant boy, Gabriel (important name choice anyone?). Soon Rhine is torn between not hating Linden that much and her growing feelings for Gabriel as well as her passionate need to escape it all.
What I enjoyed most about this story is that DeStefano made this scenario believeable. She laid the groundwork and tied all the right things together making me really enjoy this story. I also loved the feel of the novel–not quite sci-fi but very much creepy in certain areas (modern mad scientist). Also I just loved the fresh approach to a young adult novel. I haven’t read a lot like it before, so I’m not sure if I’m missing out on a genre I didn’t know existed. Either way this was such a fresh experience after all the supernatural trends that are still happening.
Anyway the plot grabbed and it has its somewhat slow moments like almost any novel, but I never really noticed. I felt the plot moved along well and although I kinda knew what was going to happen at the end, I didn’t know nor expected how the characters would get to that ending which kept me very much in suspense.
Overall, I enjoyed DeStefano’s debue novel and I can’t wait to enjoy the next book in the trilogy. I would recommend the book for any YA lover and don’t be scared by the semi sci-fi feeling the book is very much enjoyable and gives the whole sci-fi thing a modern and believable twist!
Have you read Wither? What is your latest YA read? Are you moving on from the supernatural? How do you think Sci-Fi is portrayed in YA? Would you read Wither? Let me know in the comments below!!
P.S. Here’s a blurb from the author!