Last night the Wither giveaway ended! Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who entered! Unfortunately, there can only be one winner, and that winner is: (cue drumroll)
Readinista has been contacted via email and will receive her copy of Wither shortly!
On to the review…
Title & Author: Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Genre: YA- Fantasy
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Series: Book 1 in The Chemical Garden trilogy
How I Got the Book: Bought
“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.”
Sixteen-year-old Rhine has been captured and forced to marry Linden, a Southern gentleman. But, she’s not his only bride- Cecily and Jenna have also been abducted and are forced to marry the “aging” Linden. Genetic testing has condemned the newest generations to a life span of a mere two decades, and reproducing and finding a cure are the older generation’s top priority. Stealing girls from their homes is just the next step in putting the world to rights.
Taken from her twin brother, Rhine is desperate to find her way back to him and escape from Linden’s life, where holograms and lies have become the only reality.
Strong Relationships, Beautiful Prose
While I was instantly drawn in by the cover description, I wasn’t exactly sure how much I would enjoy the story. I’ve never really been interested in TV shows like Sister Wives and Big Love, so reading Wither really pulled me into another realm of fantasy.
Polygamy sort of creeps me out and reminds me of my only-child “sharing” issues. But I must say, polygamy has never seemed so fascinating.
I did feel a little more comfortable when I realized that the book was set in my own sultry state of Florida. The weather is probably our most defining feature (bright skies, regular summer rains that almost seem timed and Category III hurricanes) and was definitely displayed in the story. This relatable reference instantly made me feel less wary of the multiple wives thing…and a little more excited.
What I also loved about Wither was the relationships. Every relationship is complicated and intricately woven. Rhine both loves and hates her sister wives, Jenna and Cecily. Their bond is often stronger that the wives’ bond with Linden but is mired in warring emotions like jealousy and compassion.
Rhine isn’t even sure how she feels about Linden: He’s unknowingly taken Rhine away from her only living family, yet she pities him his own gilded cage- a cage he’s not even aware he’s in. Rhine has tasted freedom while Cecily and Linden do not even realize that freedom is one thing thing they don’t already possess.
After reading the first few chapters, it’s clear DeStefano is a master of language. She does a fantastic job of conveying emotion and action through word pictures. For example:
“I have always been fascinated by the ocean, to dip a limb beneath its surface and know that I’m touching eternity, that it goes on forever until it begins here again. Somewhere beneath it lie the ruins of colorful Japan, and Roses’s favorite India, the nations that could not survie. This lone continent is all that’s left, and the darkness of water is so mysterious, so alluring, that I find this bright pool water to be too frivolous. Clean and sparking and safe. I wonder if Linden has even touched the ocean. I wonder if he knows that this colorful paradise is a lie.”
Wither’s content is dark without being heavy or depressing. The writing actively pushes and pulls the characters to feel and act and move.
Plus, did I mention romance? I’d be remiss in neglecting this little detail. I was left wondering a lot of things about what the next books would reveal about this aspect of the novel, and where romance is concerned, that’s never a bad thing!
One note: If you’re looking for a dystopian book like The Hunger Games, Wither is probably not for you. The pacing is great but does not contain high-energy action scenes or physical confrontations. This is not what I’d call an “action-packed” book, but it’s not meant to be. Wither’s charms lie in other, more elusive areas.
Different than the other dystopians out there, Wither offers a thrilling take on life after human experimentation has gone very wrong. It’s captivating and wonderfully written. I’m dying to know what will happen next, and can’t wait to read the next installment in the Chemical Garden trilogy!!