Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Wither
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Harper Voyager
ISBN: 978-0-00-742547-1
Pages: 358
Series: Chemical Garden Trilogy #1
Type: Young Adult Dystopian
Source: Purchased

In an attempt to perfect the human genome, DNA engineering has created a horrifying genetic flaw - females die at 20 and males die at 25. Young girls are abducted and forced to breed in an attempt to prolong humanities existence until a cure is found. Rhine Ellery has been kidnapped and sold as a bride to Linden to replace his dying wife. Placed in a gilded cage Rhine is determined to escape with the help of a servant Gabriel, but Rhine hasn't counted on catching the attention of Linden's cruel father...

I'd heard great things about this book but even after I picked up a copy I wasn't really drawn to read it. Then when I did I managed to finish it in a single day. The plot is brilliant with a clever pace that sucks you in and keeps your attention glued to the page. The conflict between the normal lifespan first generation (born with perfect genetic profiles) and their tragically shortlived children is outstanding. As a science nerd, the genetic aspect was especially fascinating.

I found the dystopia to be well developed and despite what I'd heard from other readers the young age of death is explained, albeit rather briefly. That said I don't necessarily want an in-depth pseudo-science discussion in the middle of such a great character driven novel. The book is an emotional rollercoaster and any overly long explanations would have severely damaged my enjoyment. As this is the first in the Chemical Garden trilogy, there is much room to expand the history of the world in later books.

Rhine is an amazing lead character who is really independant and capable which is a refreshing change from some heroines who fall apart by themselves. She even manages to form friendships with the other two Linden's wife Rose and his other two brides, quiet Jenna and idealistic Cecily. Polygamy is a new subject to me as a reader but I felt it was well handled and believable. The other wives are really well fleshed out characters each with their own unique pasts and motivations.

I was a little nervous of the potential love triangle between Rhine, Linden and Gabriel but it soon became clear that Rhine had no interest in Linden and rather than the now standard YA 'who should I pick?' Rhine's dilemma was more about whether she would begin to believe her own lies. Rhine has to pretend to be happy with Linden to win his trust but it is clear that her interest lies solely with Gabriel who is the perfect romantic hero, constantly doing little things to make Rhine happy and carrying all the consequences himself.

All in all this was an awesome read and I can't wait for Fever.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 9/10

Overall: 49/50


  1. I have this sitting on myshelf. I will have to pick it up.

    1. I hope you enjoy it! I'm really looking forward to the final book coming out this year.

      Thanks for stopping by :)


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