Monday 5 December 2011

Wither (Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano - Book Review

Title: Wither (Chemical Garden #1)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Voyager
Publication Date: August 2011 (Jan '11)
Pages: 358
Format: Paperback
Genre: YA / Dystopia
Source: Bought Copy

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 she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.
(Goodreads Synopsis)

I'd heard good things of this book and couldn't resist when I saw a cheap copy in a bookstore last week. Luckily I was not disappointed.

This book had me enthralled from start to finish and is definitely one of the best YA pieces I have read this year. The storyline is original and inventive - a dystopian world that seems grounded in real possibility - and it was perfectly paced, leaving me eager to turn each page.

Rhine is a wonderful character, full of life and willing to fight. She is an enjoyable character to follow, unlike some of the whiny heroines that have been doing the rounds lately. The supporting 'cast' were also well portrayed and nicely fleshed out.

There were a couple of times I did want to yell at the characters to talk to each other and tell the truth. If Linden knew a few things for example, things might have gone very differently. But this is a very minor complaint for a book with a great concept and good execution.

I read this book in just a few hours and it was time well spent. I am very keen to continue on with the series and find out what will happen next.


  1. Oh, I nearly bought a cheap copy of this myself, on the weekend, but I wasn't sure... I'm not a massive dystopian fan, and if they're kind of bleak (think Hunger Games), they really get to me... I mean, I LOVED the Hunger Games, but I didn't necessarily enjoy reading them--they left me unhappy, if you know what I mean?

    I thought I'd wait and see if any reviews popped up, so thank you! Now I really want to read it! TY!

  2. i am totally in love with this book! can't wait for FEVER!

    here's my review of SLIDE. stop by?!?!