Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Early Review - Wither (Chemical Garden Trilogy, Book 1) by Lauren DeStefano (5/5 stars)

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy)Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Dystopia/Science Fiction
Size: 368 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Release Date: March 22, 2011
ISBN-13:  978-1442409057
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in Chemical Garden Trilogy
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
Rating: 5/5 stars

I got the ARC of this book to read through Around the World ARC Tours.  I have to admit I was first drawn to the book because of the beautiful cover and then after reading the premise was hooked.  This is the first book in the Chemical Garden Trilogy, and what a wonderful book it was.

Rhine lives in a world where genetic tinkering has left human society in ruins.  Human males only live to the age of twenty-five and females only to twenty.  Rhine is kidnapped by Gatherers to become one of the many brides of a nobleman named Linden.  Although Rhine grows fond of her sister-wives, she yearns for her freedom and wants to get back to her twin-brother.  Adding to the despair in the household, her husband's father (a first generation able to live to the old age of 80 or so) is determined to find a cure and will stop at nothing to get subjects for his experimentation.

This is a beautifully written book, it is very easy to read and in general is just a pleasure to read.  The world that DeStefano has created is astounding in its implications.  Just think about how society would run if everyone died at those young ages.  Basically none of the children even barely know their parents.  You as a child would know when you were going to die; think about how this short-term life would affect your life-decisions.  Then add to this crazy society the fact that the first generation created to be genetically perfect is still alive.  You have a society of grandparents and children.

The book also explores polygamy and the benefits in downfalls of this.  In a society where woman die so young and men live a bit longer, it almost makes sense for the survival of the race.  DeStefano tackles the polygamy issue with fairness and makes it sound eerily reasonable at times.  This is definitely more of a drama-type story than an action one; much of the story is spent with Rhine and her sister-wives in their house.

Rhine as a character was wonderful; she is sensitive and caring, yet has a core of toughness that is impressive.  Her sister-wives were also well done characters; each with their strengths and weaknesses.  I loved that the characters were so realistically portrayed.  Rhine's husband, Linden, is sweet...yet a bit evil in his ignorance.  Even Linden's father, who is the villain in this story, has reasons that he believes are for the greater good in doing what he does.

The story ends well and wraps up nicely; I am eager to see what the next book brings.

Overall I was very impressed with this book.  It is beautifully written, creates a wonderfully thought-out world, and touches on problems with a dystopian society that were refreshing and interesting.  The characters are all spot-on and readers will be drawn to them.  The story definitely isn't all happy, but there are rays of hope throughout that keep the reader from becoming too depressed.  I loved Rhine and loved this book, I am really looking forward to the next book in the Chemical Garden Trilogy.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

1 comment:

  1. For Rhine everything is fake. She is forced to be a bride to a man she has never met or know. Forced to lived in a nice prison with other sisters wives. Though her time is short, she will not live this way. She longs for her freedom and just wants to be home safe. With danger lurking around every corner, Rhine learns everything and anything, plays the role she needs to play in order to get out.