Sunday, 6 May 2012

Wither By Lauren DeStefano

Series: The Chemical Garden Book #1
Release Date: 2nd May 2011
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368

Synopsis: 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 limited time she has left.

Review: I've been wanting to read this book for a while, and i have to admit that it was the reviews that prevented me from reading it. I won the first two books in a giveaway and they'd been sitting on my shelf for a while and i finally decided to pick it up. From the reviews I'd learnt that you will either love or hate this book. I'm a huge fan of dystopian fiction so i thought I'd like this. Another thing that stopped me from reading this was because of the very small amount of people who compared this to The Handmaids Tale. I know most teen readers haven't read the Handmaids Tale so this won't bother them. I read it in the past year and i loved the harsh reality of it all and i didn't want to read something that ripped that off. Alas when i began this book i fell straight into it. Although there are some similarities to the Handmaids Tale, Wither is a freshly intriguing novel all on it's own. I absolutely loved it. The voice and prose flowed nicely, letting the reader ride the tide of emotions. It was one heck of a great book, I can't really fault it. It was so nicely packed, there was no useless information in there, that it has the rare ability to call it self a perfectly structured novel. Everything we learn in the books has it's use, that reader is drawn in constantly. Not once was i left bored or putting the book down for a break. It was simply perfect. If you have any doubts about this novel, i urge you to give it a chance and allow it to blow you away. 

In Wither we join Rhine as she's been kidnapped and is specifically chosen by a wealthy man called Linden to be one of his three brides. We are introduced to a world where, every human is a ticking time bomb. Women die at twenty and men at twenty five. Rhine is swept from poverty to luxury but she will never forget how she's left her twin behind and she promises her self she will return to him. Meanwhile while acting like the perfect wife, Rhine realises that things inside the mansion aren't as perfect as they seem. There are even cracks inside a perfect family. Rhine joins her sister wives, Jenna and Cecily as they try to figured out their new husband and his overbearing father. Rhine plays the perfect wife but inside she's dying to have her freedom back and she will stop at nothing to get it. 

Hmm, how to describe Rhine's character. She's smart and tough but under that all she's vulnerable. She's in pain for her twin brother who she was taken from. She scared of the new world she's stepped into. Her only aim is to reach freedom once again. This aim drags her forward through all the heartbreaking and disturbing things she's faced with in this book. She's so vulnerable underneath and so human. She's got so many different emotions flying around she's confused. She's so real. 

Linden is the husband of Rhine. He's frail but underneath he has so much emotion, that he doesn't let shine through. He has so much responsibility chucked on him that he crumbles in the shadows. Rhine and the reader see this vulnerability and he's not the evil character we first think. Jenna is one of Rhine's sister wives, She quiet and observant and also is suffering but she will live her last year in peace and luxury. Cecily is the youngest bride and she's only a child still, at first she was so annoying but then something happens and responsibility hits her hard and without her sisters to help her through she would have probably broke down. The bond that grew between the sisters was remarkably, it started from nothing to building to a bond that was unbreakable, no matter what they went through. Gabriel, oh i loved him from the beginning. He's an orphan who was taken into the household to be a servant, and he's never had a taste of freedom. He's intelligent and cute, Rhine sees this in him and soon they fall for each other. The link between these two was also greatly done.

I think I've rambled enough about how much i love this book. I only hope I've done this book justice. Wither is a truly breathtaking debut novel, that pulls the reader inside and doesn't stop to let them look back. The world was well described and so different to what i was expecting, the haunting reality will hit you hard and see that it isn't as impossible as it seems. Lauren DeStefano is a very talented writer who had one of the best new voices I've come across. I'm definitely going to check out the rest of this series!

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