Vee is on a forced mental health hiatus until 16th June. See you then!

Review of Wither by Lauren DeStefano

by - February 15, 2018

Series: The Chemical Garden #1
Genres: Dystopia, Romance
Pages: 358
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Release Date: 22/03/2011
Find The Author: Website / Twitter
Find The Book: Book Depository / Amazon UK/US

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?

Clearly, I must love this book because I keep going back to it. I first read it just after it was released back in 2011, then again a couple of years later before going back to it in 2018. It's pretty incredible to think that I first read this book 7 years ago, it feels like yesterday. It's a bleak and depressing dystopian story, and just my cup of tea.

The world of Wither is very simple, some readers might argue, too simple. In a bid to cure cancer the world discovered that they can no longer conceive children than live longer than 20 years, 25 for males. America descended into a culture of glittering, lavish parties for the rich, with child brides on the arm of every young bachelor, the country desperately trying to keep it's population stable.

Rhine answers an ad asking for lab rats and unwittingly finds herself thrown into a van with multiple other girls, before being chosen as one of Linden Ashby's new brides. The whole book from start to finish is just raw, undiluted emotion as Rhine comes to terms with entrapment, death and the hope of finally escaping to find her twin brother.

The world building isn't perfect but I never care for that. What is much, much more important is how well written every character is and DeStefano really excels at this. Every character had their own nuances, their own backstory and their own struggles, it was hard to pick a favourite. Linden was a wonderful addition, his naivety of the situation made him impossible not to care for and it made perfect sense when Rhine was conflicted about running away.

I love that the ending gave me hope for what will happen in the next book (which I don't remember as well as this book), while not resorting to a frustrating cliff-hanger. I can't wait to go back to old characters as well as meet some new ones, too.

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  1. Hey! I found your blog from Twitter. You earned a new follower!
    I've never heard of this book before, but the synopsis and your review made me add it to my TBR. Definitely the next book I'm going to read when I'm not meeting deadlines for reviews for ARCs. Lol.

    It sounds amazing, so thank you so much for sharing and introducing me to it. :)

    1. I love new followers, hi! A lot of people do hate on this book for it's lack of world building, but as longa s you go in with an open mind you may love it!


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