Monday, March 21, 2011

Wither ~ Lauren Destefano (ARC) review

Wither (Chemical Gardens Trilogy #1)
Simon & Schuster
March 22, 2011
368 pages
Amazon/Goodreads/Book Depository

Rhine lives in a world where women live to the age of twenty and men live to the age of twenty-five. It's not a perfect world by any means, young girls are kidnapped and sold into polygamous
marriages to keep the population going and orphans roam the streets.

Rhine and her brother, Rowan, are barely getting by in their home in Manhattan when she's taken by the Gathers and sold into such a marriage. Finding herself in a luxury, a young husband, Linden, and with sister wives, sixteen-year-old Rhine refuses to accept her fate and instead is determined to escape and find her way home.

But there's more at stake than just Rhine's freedom. Linden's father is researching the antidote, the cure he knows exists for the young deaths. And he needs bodies for his research...Then there's Gabriel, an attendant she's too attracted to for it to be safe.

Wither is a timeless and yet time...full book. We know it's in the future but certain aspects are reminiscent of the past and the present while others can only be the future. Rhine and Linden's marriage is more king (or prince?) and concubine/consort than Big Love in its inception. It's not begun out of love or even ideology on both their parts. That's not to say some of the relationship between Linden and his wives isn't Big Love-esque, but there are big differences.

The house (and its grounds) where Rhine lives exist seemingly in its own seemingly suspended time period where nothing seems quite real. In fact, it's even said how 'real' is 'dirty word' there. Due to this, you, as a reader almost forget that the characters' deaths are, in fact, quickly approaching until you're rather abruptly reminded of it.

This is an excellent achievement of the novel (and really Lauren Destefano) because the goal of the mansion for the characters was for for them to enjoy their lives and not dwell on the shortness. As a reader I love being so transported that I'm able to do the same.

You never quite stop feeling the tension that Rhine feels, either. The characters are not one dimensional by any means so none of her decisions are cut and dry or easy. Things are complicated emotionally and as a reader you can easily see why. With the exception of maybe one or two there aren't any always/only good or always/only bad characters in Wither which makes for a lot of back and forth for Rhine, the story, and as a reader. I loved it!

I was worried the story was going to end on a cliffhanger or terribly open ended, but it didn't quite do that. The way it did end left me wanting more from about everything but only because I loved everything so much, it was a satisfying ending and wrapped things up well.


Thank you very, very much to Simon & Schuster for making this a part of GalleyGrab

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