A room without a book is like a body without a soul - Cicero

To Be Read Soon!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

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?           -Chapters Canada

I wanted to read this book as soon as I saw the cover. I know this seems shallow, but come on, who would not take the time to notice this beauty. You'd have to be crazy not to! This is possibly one of my favourite covers ever! (Ok, rant complete). So not only was the cover dynamically fantabulosa and high-fashion-esque, the description made my hair stand on end. I love dystopian novels, and this one spoke to me like Nutella on a spoon!

Let's just say it did not let me down. I loved the premise of the book, obviously, and it was so completely refreshing and novel, which is always uber-important to me. The polygamy aspect (which I somehow did not pick up on until I started reading the novel) was the cherry on top of this bloody sundae, and I loved all of the references to 'sister wives'. The romance aspect was in some ways not quite strong enough, but overall came out as frothy perfection, if that makes any sense. Romance is pretty much the first thing I look for, and was not as evidently strong at first, but seemed to be woven in just the right way to complete the other themes present throughout: sister wife comraderie, secret longing, and dealing with inevitable death.

My one teensy-weensy complaint (which kills me to mention, for fear of ruining the happy mood) is that the ending somehow seemed eerily easy. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but it somehow rang a little bit off with me. I will just have to wait for more action in the follow-up...

Overall, great read, and I recommend especially to fans of dystopian fiction, but also to anyone looking for their next great read!

Spolier Alert: Don't read past this point if you don't want to know specific book details!

The book starts out with immediate action, right when Rhine is captured, which makes me a little bit sad that we didn't get to see Rowan, Rhine's twin brother who gets left behind, at all, but also makes me think it was genius to have this element, as I'm sure that in the future, if/when we do get to see Rowan, the reunion will be even more epic!

We then get introduced to this amazing dystopia which takes place sometime in the future, when everyone lives to either the age of 20 (for females) or 25 (for males). Basically, our generation has screwed up (which is a theme that I never tire of learning in dystopian novels) and messed up the world. Girls are coveted because there is such need to keep the population going; cue pilagamy theme. Rhine has just been captured, and is luckily chosen out of about 20 girls to become one of the wives of a rich Governor. Rhine stays conscious just long enough to hear the rest of the unchosen girls being executed.

When Rhine gains consciousness again, she is at a palatial 'plantation' of sorts, where she is quickly married off to a rich Linden whose current wife is dying of the virus (that's what they call the thing that is ending everyone's life). But Rhine is not the only captive, she has two sister wives: Cecily, who is tragically too young to be so desperate for their husband's affections; and Jenna, whose sisters were among the girls killed, and has accepted that she will die in two year's time.

As the book plays out, we see the dynamic of this strange modern family. Rhine maintains a short-lived friendship with Linden's first wife, and watches as she tragically dies, and holds onto the wisdom she passes on. We see Cecily lose her innocence and bear a child to Linden, only to see her suffer when Vaughn (Linden's creepy psychopathic father) slowly takes the baby away. We see Rhine struggle through all of these intricate and complex emotions that throughout the entire book just seem ridiculously unfair.

At the same time, people are struggling to find a antidote to the 'virus', and Housemaster Vaughn is supposedly trying to find it, but is eerily secretive and violent. As more and more secrets come to light, it only just builds onto the thirst of truth that I am dying to be quenched in the coming installments.

And on top of everything else is love. Love: which Rhine is desperately trying to understand. The love that she clings to from her twin she had to leave behind. The love for her new sister wives through all the trials they face. The confusing love for her husband who is frustratingly innocent throughout the whole book. And finally the love for Gabriel, which is so forbidden, and I'm sure is about to get more dynamic as this trilogy unfolds.

DeStefano has woven so many complex themes together to produce such an amazing tapestry of dysfunction. I love the tragedy of everything, and I am longing to venture into more of the brilliant fiction of The Chemical Garden Trilogy.

Still high on hope--Cheers & Enjoy♥


  1. Hi Holly! I completely know what you mean by wanting to read this book based on the cover, it is too awesome to pass up! Every time I see a review for this book I get jealous that I don't have a copy in my hands yet haha.

    I really like your book blog, I actually just started my own (a week ago!)and it's always great to stumble on some other unique blogs. I am now a follower :) If you have a chance, check me out at LC's Adventures in Libraryland!


    PS~ Love the name of your blog ;)

  2. thank you so much, I started my blog not too long ago as well, and it makes me smile when I get nice comments and new followers, so Thanks :)

    I will be sure to check out your blog as well!

    Happy Reading!


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