Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Review of Wither (The Chemical Garden #1)

Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Genetic mutations have festered, reducing human longevity to twenty-five, even less for most women. To prevent extinction, young girls are kidnapped, mated in polygamous marriages with men eager to procreate. Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery, a recent victim of this breeding farm mentality, has vowed to break loose from its fetters; but finding allies and a safe way out is a challenge she can only hope she will survive. A dystopian fantasy series starter with wings.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:   2 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Dystopian readers looking for something different
High point:  The fresh concept
Low point:  The unbelievable characters
Reader maturity: 15+

I was really looking forward to Wither (I'm a sucker for a gorgeous cover), but the premise made me so uncomfortable, I had a hard time focusing on anything else.

The idea of humanity sentencing itself to an early death through genetic engineering is an interesting one, and I appreciated the exploration of the reaction and subsequent crumbling of society through the eyes of Rhine, a middle class daughter, and Linden, a wealthy and privileged son. However, due to his wealth and privilege and lack of knowledge about anything beyond his doorstep, I had a hard time believing that he would keep his hands off of Rhine (or that his father wouldn't force Linden on her).

I'm not sure exactly what all to say...I found the characters to be unbelievable and somewhat cliche, yet at the close of the book, I found myself wanting to find out what happens to Rhine and Gabriel and even Cecily and the baby. Essentially, my own review is as mixed as the ones I saw before I read Wither. The concept is interesting and since the parts that made me uncomfortable have a high chance of being localized to the first novel, I'm going to try and pick up Fever, the second in the series. I believe that the concept and the writing have potential, and I'd like to give the series another shot.

Title:  Wither (The Chemical Garden #1)
Author:  Lauren DeStefano
Genre:   Fiction - Dystopian
Year:   2011
Book Source:  Won an ARC from Misfit Salon


  1. I agree. I had a hard time believing that Linden would have been so hands off. I also had a hard time swallowing the whole polygamy angle. Despite that, I couldn't stop myself from reading like crazy. I will definitely pick up Fever.

  2. I enjoyed myself during this book. Sometimes, things were hard to believe (like you mentioned: Linden not making a move towards Rhine), but the whole concept was interesting and the writing style was good.