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April 2, 2011

Quick review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano


Wither (Chemical Garden #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 limted time she has left.
My thoughts:
Wow! This book was never what I expected it to be. But I loved it! The story is very beautiful, but so heartbreaking! (And how could it not be, when everyone dies so young and there is this feeling of loneliness and finality?)

Rhine becomes one of the three brides of Linden, a very wealthy young man, and despite all the privileges she gets and the unusual bond she shares with the other wives, she can't have what she desires most: freedom. Her father-in-law is a doctor who tries to find an antidote for the virus that kills people when they are so young, but his methods are very mysterious and kind of creepy. He's also the reason why Linden and his wives spend all their time in their huge mansion or on the property that surrounds it, which is yet another reason for Rhine to despise everything and to want to run away as soon as possible. Linden loves her and they grow closer eventually, but all she wants is to go back home to her brother. And she's willing to do anything to accomplish that, no matter the cost. 

It was a little hard for me to get my mind around all this polygamy thing. Especially because Rhine and her sister wives got along so well and they even cared about each other and they didn't mind sharing their husband. On the contrary - Rhine was even encouraging it, since she cared more about Gabriel and her escape plan. So I felt bad for Linden - his feelings for Rhine were genuine, but he was so kept in the dark! He had no idea what was really going on with his wives and how much damage his father was capable of. I really hope things will get better for him in the following books. *sigh*

As for Rhine, I really like her as a character. She never gives up, she's smart and strong and can see things that her new family is oblivious to. And even when she plans to escape, she still tries to protect everyone and to do her wife duties. ( well, sort of :D)

Anyway, there's not much I can say about this book without spoiling it. It was indeed a great read, an emotional roller coaster that kept me up late at night. Lauren's writing is so spellbinding and heartfelt, that I just couldn't put it down! And I felt for all the characters - actually, they pulled so many emotions out of me, that I just wanted to get inside the story to hug them and do something for them. :)) And after that bittersweet ending, I don't even want to know how long I have to wait until the next book comes out - I need to read more! *head desk*

So Wither was a very pleasant surprise, a fabulous book that I recommend to everyone. Just don't read it when you're in a bad mood. ;)

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  1. Great review! Glad you enjoyed it!

    Im not sure I wanna read this, but it does sound good! =)

  2. I've been dying to read this! Great review!

    Thanks for not posting spoilers! It's my biggest pet peeve when people give away books or movies (mostly people I know in real life do this, not bloggers).

    I need to go pick up my own copy!

    Jennifer of Little Shelf

  3. @Larissa You should give it a shot, it's really good! And not as depressing as I made it sound. LOL There's a lot of love and hope in the book too!

    @Jennifer Thanks! I always try to express my thoughts as spoiler free as possible. If I hadn't been so behind with my reviews, I would have said more about this one. Anyway, read it, it's fabulous!

  4. I really enjoyed reading your review for Wither. I've yet to read the book myself - and I want to, so badly! - and because the premise looks very interesting. I also like the fact that the concept is new, fresh, and original. It must be somewhat depressing too though, reading about character you know are going to die insanely young, unless the father-in-law does find an antidote. I can't wait to read Wither, and your review has only made me more curious. ;-)

  5. There were different stories weaved into the novel so intricately that none ever seemed out of place or misguiding in any way. Rhine is not only telling her story in the present as a sister wife, but you also get glimpses of her past as she tries so desperately to hold onto her memories of where she came from so she can keep her goal in mind - which is always to get back to her twin brother. Then there's the part of Rhine who is trying to win the favor of her husband, House Governor Linden, so she can gain more freedoms to help in her plan of escape.


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