Wither (The Chemical Garden #1)
by Lauren DeStefano
What is it about:
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?
What did I think of it:
A nice read.
I will confess that the world building made no sense to me at all!
I had to turn off all logic thinking and ignore the things that didn't make sense to be able to continue reading the story. (I really hope that one of the things that didn't make sense turns out to be a lie in one of the next books.)
Once I decided to just go with the flow I actually enjoyed the story though.
The characters and their interactions are well written and apart from some minor things very believable. I will confess that I thought Rhine's father-in-law was the most intriguing character in the book. Rhine was quick to vilify him, but I kept wondering if what she suspected was actually true and I kept hoping I would learn a bit more about his actions.
Rhine herself seemed very immature for her age, considering the world she lives in, but she's likeable enough to not hold that against her.
And guess what: this book is written in present tense, but I didn't get dragged out of the story by it, so it looks like I found another author who is allowed to write in present tense ;-)
All in all this is an enjoyable read once you stop trying to make sense of the world and I might give the next book in this series a try if I come across it.
Why should you read it:
It's an enjoyable YA Dystopian read