Title: Wither- Book 1
Series: The Chemical Garden
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publication: March 22nd, 2011
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.
Wither turned out to be a good book for me. For the first half of the book, I felt it was very slow and needed some action to pick it up. Then I realized Wither is just not the thrill seeking type of dystopian as others I have read: The Hunger Games, Uglies, The Forest of Hands and Teeth and Divergent most recently. In my experiences with Dystopians, there is generally a lot of heartache and a massacre of deaths. I am not saying Wither does not have its share of heartache and death, I mean come on it is a dystopian novel, BUT I feel like Lauren DeStefano did a very good job of with developing each character and did not kill off characters just for the sake of killing like some others in this genre. Given the synopsis of the book, it is known all women will meet their death at 21 and men at 25 due to a virus killing off all of humanity.
Wither touches on several topics that can and I am sure have turned certain level of readers away from this series. From kidnapping to polygamist marriages at a very, very young age and not to mention the amount of questions any reader would have when reading this book. The thing is you have to remember that yes messed up things do happen in this book and that’s just it, it’s a book!!! To be able to separate reality from the content in this book/series is very important. If you can’t get past some of the details DeStefano uncovers then this is just not the series for you. It is a definite need to be very open minded when reading Wither, if not you will be disappointed. Yes, Wither is set in the post apocalyptic future, but it very much reminds me of the past in the aspect that women and men get married when they are children in today’s society. My grandmother was married at 16 and had 7 children from the age of 16-23, so the detail of this book does not seem the slightest bit strange to me.
As I said, while reading Wither I felt bored in parts and I don’t mean that in a negative way at all. I was really just expecting a lot more action, but once I realized it just wasn’t one of those types of books I was very intrigued to see where things would go and how they would end. Of course I still have SEVERAL questions of the events that took place and of what to expect in the next addition Fever, but that’s where the fun begins of speculating the different scenarios that will take place. Wither really set the frame work for the next 2 books in The Chemical Garden trilogy and I believe Fever will be excellent. I do hate waiting for the next book though!! The writing really is very good, perfect descriptions and dialog throughout the entire novel.