Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Wither (The Chemical Garden #1)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Published: March 22nd 2011
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

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?

I didn’t really plan on giving this series a try, but then suddenly most of the bloggers started to showcase the third book in this series – Sever – in their book hauls in youtube and around blogoverse and I have to admit, I became interested. Then I revisited the GR of the first book and re-read the synopsis. Guess what? I liked it. And I gave it a try.

“Tell freedom I said hello.”

The story. Wither follows Rhine in her journey of breaking free from a horrible situation she has landed in. Rhine and two other girls are brought to this incredible mansion to marry Linden. The guys in this world die at 25 and girls when they’re 20. Only the first generation lives longer than that. Linden’s Father turns out to be a horrible man and all Rhine can think about is escaping. She has to pretend happiness in this marriage based on polygamy and her days are only brightened by the other girls friendship when they care to offer it and this server Gabriel who shares her interest of being free and dreaming bold thoughts.

My emotions. I try to watch this interesting (Estonian) show every night that basically features intriguing stories as well as daily news around the world and about 6 months ago they showed this bride abduction (?) story where a bunch of guys took a girl from the street and forced her to marry their friend. And that’s how it happens with every single lady in that country. I don’t remember where it was though. This is basically the case here. I was thoroughly disgusted by all of this and it pains me that it really is like that for some people in this world. I didn’t think less of Linden as a character because he lives in this world and it’s not outrageous to have multiple wives to bed with one,but he's not aware how they made their way to the selection and how brutally they were treated. He's oblivious to all of it. I still hated this polygamous marriage he had with Rhine, Cecily and Jenna. Cecily, being the youngest – only thirteen!!! – it was just unacceptable for me that she got pregnant first and..  I just can’t tell you how much I wanted to vomit at that thought. It’s horrible. She was also annoying most of the time, but there were moments I wanted to hug her and I understood why Rhine was so protective over her. For me, the best part of the book were the relationships between the Sister wives.

On the other hand, I listened to the audiobook and I really, really liked the narrator who made every character different and I felt their presence and personality through her voice. The plot in general was good and Rhine as the MC was great. She’s a survivor by nature and her genuine concern about her sister wives was heart-warming. I became engaged in the story pretty quickly, but I think that not much happened in Wither in general, but at the same time as we already gather from the synopsis, most of it takes place in a house where Rhine is under watchful eyes – not that much can happen. I am team Gabriel since he cares about Rhine only, but Linden wouldn’t be bad to end up with. I just think his lifestyle and dreams aren’t suitable for Rhine and she has a better match in Gabriel. I hated Vaughn – Linden’s Father with pure passion. That man was creepy *hides*

Overall I think this world is intriguing and it’s an eye-opener in the sense that there are a lot of cases like this out there in the world. It was a mix between sci-fi and dystopian and I think there could have been a bit more to the history of this illness and how this world came to be. I will definitely see what’s next to come for Rhine. I think the narrator did an amazing job with this book. I hope the next one will be even better. On another though, I don’t think it’s exactly suitable for younger YA readers even if the book is supposed to be in the YA category.


Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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14 comments:

  1. I've had my eyes on this series for some time now and now that the whole series is finally out, I think I'm going to give this a shot.
    The whole bride abduction is nauseating but it is realistic. Especially in Asian countries, especially child brides and selling of child brides.
    I really like that the author tackled it though. I'm glad that you were able to immerse yourself in the world.
    Lovely review, Siiri! :)

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    1. I know! That's why I decided to pick these up:) It was definitely disturbing, but at the same time, I was weirdly intrigued. Still, that pregnancy storyline was so nausiating.

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  2. I have this book on my shelf and yes I'll have to read it soon as everyone are talking about the last book in this series. It sounds like unusual and eye-opening read and I love these. I haven't heard for that show but it sounds like something I'd love to watch. Great review.

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    1. That show is amazing! It's on summer vacation right now, but it'll be on air soon, yay! I hope you give this series a chance and you'll like it:)

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  3. I loved this world and the intricacies!

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  4. I would have loved to hear what this one was like on audiobook. I bet the writing was transformed to even lovelier and more poetic means than it is now, especially with a narrator who took the pains to differentiate between each character. And I'm with you-- the Sister wives dynamic was, by far, my favorite part of the entire book. (This is the thing I hesitate with on dystopians and post-apocs - if you like other parts or think they're creepy, well, are you allowed to? I mean, the fact that you felt so nauseous about the Cecily situation must be a mark of the good writing, and if you say you enjoy the writing... All right, I'm going in circles now.)

    Does this mean you're continuing with the series?

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    1. Yup, I'll try to read #2 sometime this month. Hahahaha! The Sister wives was what kept me 'reading' since otherwise it would have been too nausiating. The writing style was gorgeous, I agree:) The narrator read it well and Rhine's voice was really soft and lyrical.

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  5. Siiri I bet you've guessed by now exactly what I'm going to say... yes this is another book I have yet to read. I do really like the sound of the premise, it is really different to a lot of the books out there, but I don't really know whether this book would be for me? I'm glad though that the narrator made this a decent read for you. I may end up giving this a book a go one day, but maybe not just yet. Great review!

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    1. No worries, hon! I haven't read most of the 'big' series/books that everyone's reading. I hope that if you do give it a chance, you'll like it:)

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  6. I could not read this series. I don't like the premise of multiple wives and I'm sure it would make me sick. The thought that one of the girls is pregnant at 13 would make me want to vomit too. I think I'll pass, Siiri, but glad to see you enjoyed this overall. I'll be interested to see what you think about the rest of the series. Wonderful review! :)

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    1. Ah, I didn't think it was going to be so brutal, because it's YA lit. I can tell that it isn't for everyone and if you feel put off now, then it's probably wise to not give it a try :D

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  7. A few friends of mine love this series, but I am VERY put off by the polygamy and the extremely young age of one of the wives. I'm not sure I could stomach this story either. Thank you for your honest, thoughtful review though.

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  8. As much as I love the cover and am intrigues by the story, I just can't go through it. The Polygamy is a big no-no for me, I don't even want to think about it. Sorry Siiri :(

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