Wither - Review


Wither (Chemical Garden, Book 1) by Lauren Destefano
Publication date: 22 March, 2011 from Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
ISBN 10/13: 1442409053 / 9781442409057

Category: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Keywords: Dystopian, romance, futuristic, science fiction

From goodreads.com:

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.

How I found out about this book: S&S sent an ARC to my former workplace. I took it home and read it immediately!

My review: I LOVE the cover. The image of a bird in a gilded cage may be pretty obvious given the premise, but the design just opens the path to my heart right up. I think it's a big part of why I was so enthralled by this book. Great work, Lizzy Bromley and Ali Smith!

Some of the political and sexual themes in Wither may go beyond the understanding of younger readers, but older YA fans will consume this lush, sexy thriller in one gulp; Destefano successfully juxtaposes the setting of a wealthy country manor with polygamous marriage and the speculative element of genetic manipulation. The sister wives--the regal Rose, shy Jenna, and the infantile but occasionally surprising Cecily form an interesting tier of secondary characters around Rhine. Each seems to represent facets of the captivity they all share through the ways they live and love.

I enjoyed this book so much that as soon as I finished, I read it again! The complexities of Rhine's new life--her aloof new husband, captivity with her sister wives, and her dangerous relationship with a serving boy drive most of the plot. I could barely hold the pages open--shivers were running up and down my spine and I actually dropped the darn thing a time or two.

Wither is Lauren Destefano's 1st novel. (Book 1 of The Chemical Garden)

Find the author at http://www.laurendestefano.com/, on Twitter @laurendestefano

Shortlink to this review: http://bit.ly/rnslWither

Find this book on goodreads.com or pre-order it for delivery in March!

Comments? What do you think? Is this something you would read? If you've already read it, put in your two cents... (no spoilers, please!)