ARC Review: Wither by Lauren Destefano

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Title: Wither
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Chemical Garden Trilogy
Book #: 1
Page #: 358
Release Date: March 22nd, 2011
My Rating: 4

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.(from

I'm not sure exactly how to put my thoughts about this book into a review. My thoughts are still as jumbled as Rhine's were as she was stolen away from her home. The story was a powerful tale of what could happen, with horrors embedded in it's pages. It draws you in and brings up questions to keep you awake half the night, lying in the dark contemplating Rhine's life. Polygamous marriages are now in 'vogue'and sinister medical discoveries may be in the making under Rhine's feet. As I was reading it, I felt like I was trapped alongside Rhine, feeling the walls tightening around me, and the cold panic seeping through my veins when Housemaster Vaughn appeared.

Rhine was a fantastic character who stayed strong even after the hideous things she had suffered through. Although she was strong and brave, she also had many characteristics that made her feel more real and relatable. I felt like I was walking the cold corridors and hearing the screams with Rhine, and that was because of the exquisite writing. Lauren DeStephano wove a deep and binding web that questioned the truth and life.

Gabriel was tied with Rhine for my favourite character. He could warm up any frozen scene when Rhine felt helpless. I found myself looking forward to the next scene he would be in, waiting for his kind and warm disposition to brighten even the most ghastly chapter. Although I like Gabriel and Rhine, I was completely revolted by Housemaster Vaughn. He creeped me out, and caused me to panic as much as the characters did, when he appeared. Although I absolutely disliked Vaughn, I couldn't help but feel sorry for his son, House Governor Linden, the girl's husband. He seemed cruel and cold in the beginning, but I soon came to feel pity for the boy who was just as trapped as Rhine. I can't decide if I liked Rhine's sister wives, Jenna and Cecily, or if I just enjoyed the bond and friendship that stopped Rhine from being alone.

Overall, the plot and characters were colourful and evoked emotion from me as a reader. However, the climax was disappointing. Actually, I felt like there wasn't an actual climax, the book just rose steadily as the pages went on. I was waiting, ready for a great jolt at the end, that would leave me panting for the sequel. Sadly, the climax never jarred me, knocking the rating down to four stars.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree! What an original, thought-provoking book.


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