07 August 2011

Review: Wither

Wither by Lauren Destefano
Series: The Chemical Garden Trilogy # 1 
Official Website
Description: 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.

Review: I think Wither is one of my all-time favorites. It's such an emotional roller coaster, and I loved the main character, Rhine. This book is just so incredible. I wasn't expecting it at all. Around the time Wither was released, there was an explosion of dypstopian young adult novels. I guess it was the new thing? I don't know. Anyway, I never got around reading this when it first came out, and I am so disappointed I didn't read it sooner.

So, Wither tells the story of 16 year old Rhine Ellery, who lives in a world where a virus takes the life of you when your twenty(females) and twenty-four(males). Why males lives four years longer, nobody knows. Actually nobody know anything about the virus, what causes it, and how to stop it. And Rhine accurately describes it: 
"We are all dropping like flies."
In this world, young girls are advised not to wander far from their homes alone, because they will be kidnapped and used for childbearing. Rhine answers an ad for a job, and releases it's a fake, and gets kidnapped, along with 20 other girls. Three of these girls are picked for the wives of a wealthy young man. Rhine, because of her unique heterochromia, is picked, along with young, naive Cecily and hard as stones, Jenna. 

I think I loved all the sister-wives equally. Cecily was a little child. She was the youngest, and at most times when she screwed up, you just wanted to kill her. She falls into the trap of believing that stealing wives is natural, and plays house with Linden, their husband. She's just playing a game, while the other older sisters are realizing how terrible living there actually is. Cecily was really the younger sister. Nobody wanted to make her angry, or upset her, because she had the shortest temper. However, as much as you really hate Cecily, I think she matured a little as the book progressed, because she had to deal with a lot more than the other sister wives. For example, she is the first one to get pregnant, and that really changes a person. Especially if your 13 years old and giving birth. 

Jenna was more complicated. Jenna's sisters were also included in the kidnapping, and both of them died, while Jenna lived. She housed more resentment toward the mansion and Linden, because they killed her sisters, and she's trapped in this place, like a caged bird. (You know like the one on the cover? OHHHH) Jenna was the oldest, and she really didn't have feelings toward Linden, so they basically ignored each other. She doesn't fall into the trap like Cecily did, and instead spent her time playing with her sister wives and reading romance novels, alone.

Rhine. Rhine grew up with her twin brother, Rowan. Their parents died in a bombing and it was just the two of them. During the book, Rhine feels the most upset about being away from her brother. She just wants to contact him and make him understand that she's alright. And she works out a plan to show herself to him. Each husband gets a first wife, who hangs on the arm of the husband and goes to the events and gets video cameras pointed at her face. Rhine secures the spot of first wife, and hopes that  Rowan sees her. I thought a really nice tie-in was the book that Gabriel finds. Gabriel is a caretaker who helps with Rhine, and if the true confidante of Rhine. Anyway, Gabriel finds this book about rivers in Europe, and it's cool because there's a river called the Rhine. 

I just really loved this book. Wither was beautifully written, and nicely paced. I wasn't expecting it at all. I thought it was just about some girls who lives in a world where time is running out, not all this kidnapping and being takes hostage stuff! I did not expect to get so emotionally attached to the characters and the storyline. I really can't wait till book two, Fever. 
"Rhine. The river that, somewhere out there, has broken free."

-Wither; Lauren Destefano


  1. Hey Lauren:) I really like your blog is super- duper cutee!I have and award for you over at my blog, feel free check it out! http://perfectlyinked.blogspot.com/2011/08/blog-awards.html
    - Tiffany ("perfectly" inked!)

  2. Hey Lauren, I nominated you for the Liebster Blog Awards! Check it out at my blog!