Friday, February 8, 2013

Book Review: Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #1) by Lauren Destefano

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #1) by Lauren Destefano
Release Date: 6th December 2011
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 358
Rating: 4.0/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 OTS, 2013 ODY, 2013 GVR and 2013 BSR

Summary from Amazon:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
"By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 years--leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek 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 sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet 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 has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive.

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 really liked the premise for this story. The dystopian future that the book was set in was really interesting to me, mostly because I thought that the future it presented could (at a stretch) become a reality. What with developments in medicine and scientific advancement, its not entirely crazy to think that one day, all the worlds health problems could be obliterated. But, of course, something goes wrong and now the children of the 'perfect race' are dying young - women die at age 20, men at 25 - of some unknown virus.

Enter Rhine, a 16 year old who has been forced to marry a rich 21 year old man. I didn't mind Rhine as a character, and I liked where her story took her, but I also found it a little predictable. Of course there has to be some sort of relationship with a servant, when really she should just be focusing on getting out of this forced marriage and getting back to her brother. Besides this, I did like her character development, especially in regards to her feelings about Linden (a bit of Stockholm syndrome going on there).

I've seen in some other reviews that Rhine has been criticised for not taking action, for taking too long to actually escape. Granted, it did take her about a year or so to actually get away, but there was a reason for this. She realised that in order to have a good chance of getting away, she needed to build trust first. She needed to find a way to be allowed off the wives floor, the only level in the house she was allowed on; then Linden needed to trust her enough to actually take her outside the compound, so she could get some sort of idea of where the gate, her only exit, was; and then she needed to figure out a way to get from the house to the gate without raising suspicions. It wasn't simply a matter of jumping out a window and running for it (disregard what happened during the tornado), because she would be captured and she would not have the chance to escape again. Rhine knew she only had one chance, she had to get it right. And in this respect, her plan of escape was a pretty solid plan.

When I came to end of the book, I felt like the story was pretty much resolved - I don't really feel the need to continue on with this series. Overall, I liked the majority of the characters, the setting, and the plot (albeit a bit predictable) - it was a good story, but I think it could have done better.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Whilst I may not always reply to comments, I do see them and appreciate them all :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...