Wither By Lauren DeStefano (Book 1 Chemical Garden Trilogy)
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 368
Source: ARC from publisher
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Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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 limited time she has left.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano withered away for me by the time that I finished the story. I was hoping for more than I got out of the story. I kept on reading, praying that there was a twist coming up and ultimately there wasn’t anything but characters that were thrown together by circumstance and existing in the same space. The pacing was quite slow initially and I was wondering when the novel would pick up but it never did. There was one tone throughout which I found very disheartening.

Rhine as a character was engrossing in the beginning but as the story progressed I found that she kind of fell flat. I felt that she was just going through the motions of being a captive in this place that she had to call home while dealing with being separated from her twin brother and not knowing what happened to him. Personally, I wanted to see more emotion. She was a character who was dealing with being kidnapped and separated from her brother, the pressures of her new husband and having to bond with her sister wives as well as the knowledge that she might be dying soon due to an incurable disease. I feel that her reaction to all these things lacked emotion and was unrealistic.

The writing of Wither was good but I couldn’t really appreciate it because I was not invested in the characters and their plight. As for the ending, I was not satisfied with that as well. I was hoping that the conclusion would provide answers to some questions I had throughout the story and I was disappointed to see that there was no closure in that regard. Sadly, I was not taken with Wither and would not recommend it. The characters were two-dimensional and the plot lacked depth and excitement.

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