Sorry for being such a Debbie Downer; hopefully this review will make up for my cloudy mood!
|Wither (Chemical Garden #1)|
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 22 March 2011
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 Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.
Gahh, this book! And the beautimus cover! I'm sure you all have heard the hype. And in my opinion, it's true! But let me elaborate a little.
To start, if I was living in the world of Wither, I would pass away in two years. Two years! Imagine having such a short life; what would you do? And what would I do? I kept pondering this question all throughout my reading, and I came up with only one answer that satisfied me: I would quit school, rack up my (meager) savings from my piggy bank, and backpack all over the world. So basically, nothing but me and what I could carry on my back. And when my time came, I'd want to be relaxed, staring at the myriad colors of a setting sun, or something along those lines. Cheesy, no? Granted, this is considering I that I'd have free will. What if you couldn't choose how to life your truncated life?
This is the sad reality of Rhine's world. The novel is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where an incurable virus runs rampant, killing females at twenty and males at twenty-five. With no antidote at hand, females are forced into servitude at the hand of eligible bachelors desiring campanionship and future offspring.
Rhine is thrust into this position, acting as one of the "sister wives" to Linden. Though we as a society are prone to shun polygamy, the characters in Wither have grown accustomed to such a distasteful practice. Her story is unbelievable yet heartrending, and I felt myself pulled into the story as if I was one of the characters myself. If you know me well, you know I *love* The Hunger Games series, and this first installment to the Chemical Garden provided many dystopian parallels that I loved.
Honestly, this was one of those novels that left me wanting so much more at the end, but in a good way. Hopefully we'll see more of Gabriel next time! Anyone else in the DeStefano fan wagon with me?