Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #1)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Release Date: March 22nd, 2011
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 5/5

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? (Summary from Goodreads)

When I first heard about this book, I had my doubts. Although I loved dystopian books, the plot didn’t sound that interesting to me. It was getting some buzz and I figured I should give it a try. I am so glad I did. From the moment I flipped open the cover I was hooked. Addicted, you could say. I literally read the book until the wee hours of the morning, fell asleep and had a dream about me being the fourth wife of Linden, woke up, grabbed Wither off my bedside table and read it until I was done. It was just that good.

Wither is not a typical dystopian novel. Instead of focusing on a new society, and how the characters have to fight to survive in a destroyed world, it focuses on the people. The story is almost set apart from the dystopian world which really gives way to focus on the characters. The three wives, Cecily, Jenna and the protagonist Rhine each have their own distinct personalities and each have their own way of handling the situation they’re in. Just when I want to slap Cecily across the face for being (in my opinion) idiotic she does or says something that breaks my heart. She’s a lost little girl, who craves love and acceptance more than anything. Jenna angered me sometimes, but I also admire her decisions and her will to live on her own terms. Rhine was defiant in her own way, but sometimes I just wanted her to stand up and scream at the injustice of her situation, but she stayed smart and learned to work with her situation.

I often think the sign of a good book is one that makes me highly emotional and Wither most definitely did that. I was so angry at the situation that the beautiful Rhine found herself in, saddened that the world had become such a horrific place, and warmed by the budding romance and quiet defiance underneath it all. My emotions were completely muddled as well when it came to Linden, Rhine's husband. A part of me hated him, a part felt pity for him and a part liked him. I don’t think he is a bad person, just ignorant. I honestly wanted to hate him, but I simply found it impossible.

The plot itself wasn't action-packed or intense, but instead captivating and mysterious. There wasn’t a moment where I thought about putting it down. I had to unravel the story; I had to see what would happen next. And the writing! I thought Lauren DeStefano's writing style was beautiful. I find that in a lot of YA books nowadays, the writing style doesn’t stick out. That’s not saying that they aren’t good, but sometimes there are those authors that are just a head above, and Lauren DeStefano is one of them. Although I did enjoy the story, the writing made this book what it is: amazing. DeStefano has a poetic edge to her stories, and the words just flow across the page. I got caught up in the tide of it, and let the words sweep me away into a story of deep despair and filled with hope.

If you haven’t read this book yet, go do it. Without a doubt one of my favourite dystopian books, and DeStefano has shot to the top of my favourite authors list.

Be sure to look out for FEVER, out February 21st! And check out the trailer for Wither below!

- Ciara who is lost at midnight

Find this book: Amazon | Goodreads | The Chemical Garden Trilogy


  1. Great review Ciara! I cannot wait to pick this one off my tbr pile! I just gotta wait to get my hands on Fever then we're set! :) Thank you for sharing!

    1. It's an awesome read, and so is Fever!! And it's out today! :D Thanks for reading!


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