Saturday, May 5, 2012
Wither (Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
(Simon & Schuster, 2011)
Summary from publisher:
What if you knew exactly when you would die? Thanks to modern science, every newborn has become a 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 is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free in the limited time she has left.
Over the past few years, we've seen a wide variety of takes on the bleak future the United States may face if various YA dystopian writers are right. Wither is another spin on this theme. I wasn't sure if I was going to like the book or not, based on the jacket blurb, but I ended up enjoying the story, even if aspects of it disturbed me, such as the ages of the girls who are kidnapped and sold into marriage.
I found myself forgetting that I was reading about 19, 16, and 13-year old girls as I got caught up in Rhine's story. DeStefano does a great job of maintaining suspense and creating twists and turns to keep the reader going. Of course, I knew going in that this was the first in a trilogy so I didn't expect to feel closure at the end of the book, and it's a good thing, too, since I'm dying to know what happens to Rhine next.
Overall, this was an intriguing story that girls who like a bit of romance in their dystopian novels will enjoy. The love triangle in this one is definitely of a different sort!