book review

Review: Wither (The Chemical Garden #1)

Lauren DeStefano - Wither

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?

I’d heard a lot of good thing about this book, and I was really looking forward to reading it. Sadly, I was disappointed – I still though it was a good book but the plot really didn’t grab me. I just got a bit bored while I was reading it.

Firstly, I will say that this book was written well and I did appreciate the writing itself. However, not much happens in this book. Our main character, Rhine, is separated from her brother and is forced to marry a man named Linden. He’s a really nice guy and is kind of in love with her, but his father is really creepy and is experimenting on anyone who dies in the house. Meanwhile, there’s a whole post-apocolyptic world to be explored. This book is set up so well for drama – there’s so much that could happen to Rhine while she’s basically a prisoner in the house and I should have felt a lot more for her throughout the book. Sadly, I didn’t get any of that needed drama and it was all quite samey plot-wise. The extra plot with Linden’s father was better, but there still could have been more going on.

On the other hand, there were some great characters in this book. I enjoyed seeing Rhine develop as she got used to her new surroundings and she was actually quite a strong character. She wasn’t going to be controlled or give in to everything that her new family wanted. The other characters were also really nice to read about too – Jenna quickly became a favourite, as did Gabriel. He was so adorable sometimes, and I loved seeing how he was affected by everything that was going on with Rhine.

Overall, all though the plot creeped me out sometimes, I did quite like this book and I would definitely recommend it to fans of dystopian books.


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