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
Book Source: Won an ARC from Misfit Salon