Friday, June 22, 2012

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

First in the Chemical Garden Trilogy

3.5 stars

In Wither, the world Rhine Ellery lives in has slowly started to wither away from the beauty of what used to be the twenty-first century. After scientists were able to make a perfect generation (no cancer or mental disabilities, etc.) they start to notice that something has gone wrong with their children. The females live till they are only 20 and the males to 25. Rhine has four years left to live before the disease overtakes her and she becomes victim. Geneticists are seeking an antidote to restore the human race, orphans crowd the population stealing food and other necessities, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children for wealthy men. Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride to Linden Ashby. She vows to do all she can to escape the world she’s been forced into. Linden introduces her to wealth and illusions in his mansion, but not everything is what it seems in the mansion. Her father-in-law, a doctor who wants to find a cure to save the human race, may be harboring corpses in the basement, her sister-wives are a rollercoaster of emotions and she can’t decide if she can trust them or not, and she desperately misses her twin brother, Rowan. With the help of one of Linden’s servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape before her seventeenth birthday, but will she find freedom? I have mixed feelings about this book I’m not sure what to feel, so I’ll start from the beginning with the plot. The plot sounds really good and it’s what made me interested in reading this book. The writing is choppy. There are multiple times in a chapter where we are in one scene then in the next paragraph were in another day doing something that has nothing to do with what is going on with the previous paragraph and that bothers me so much. I would at least like her to start a new chapter or make a (dang it I can’t remember what it’s called) space then start a new section. I hate when I can’t remember terms it frustrates me. Back to the review, the story touches a lot of intense or uncomfortable subjects. Here are some examples: polygamy, slavery (you can argue that with me, but there were times in the book where it felt like they were slaves), sex, and pregnancy. This isn’t a big deal to me, but I’m sure these topics would bother a lot of other people. Let’s move onto the characters.

The main female character is Rhine. Rhine is a complex character for me. There are times when I like her and times when I hate her. Her constantly lying was annoying. I know she was doing it to escape, but OMG her dishonesty is only going to hurt people. Rhine’s stories about her childhood and stories from her parents were entertaining and it was nice to get to know her background and she get character development.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 6

There are technically two main male characters, so I’m going to start with the one that made the most appearances in the story. Linden. I feel sorry for Linden, his life is totally unfair. But Linden needs to wake up and stop being a bubble boy. Aside from that, I really liked him and I feel sorry for him. He’s a good character and we got to know glimpses of him. On to the other one, Gabriel. Gabriel doesn’t make me feel any emotion towards him. I feel a little sorry for the fact that he’s an orphan and has pretty much lost himself while working at the mansion, but him losing himself and personality bored me. He needs something that’s called character development and he got hardly any. Maybe I’ll get more in the next one.

Swoon Worthy Scale: Linden: 6.5 Gabriel: 4.5

The Villain- Rhine’s father-in-law and Linden’s father, Housemaster Vaughn is the villain. I wouldn’t really call him much of a villain though. Aside from his constant creepy and harsh remarks, all his villainess was hearsay or speculation.

Villain Scale: 3.5

There were two sister wives, Jenna and Cicely. These two girls are completely different from one another. Jenna is 19 years old and the oldest of the three girls. She hates Linden and only sees the house as a nice place to die in. Cicely is the youngest and I forgot how old she was. She was an orphan and thinks that Linden is the most amazing thing ever and she loves to be pampered and spoiled and whatnot. Cicely is also very naïve and this naivety makes her look like the child she is trying so hard not to be.

Character Scale: 6

I want to address something that really bothered me with this book. Spoilers ahead. It doesn’t make any sense to me at all that Linden would sleep with Cicely and not Rhine, even though he was going into Rhine’s room every night. In the real world, that doesn’t happen and it makes me very annoyed and also a little queasy. This book creates so much mixed emotions. I don’t know how to feel or think.

I just don't know what to feel...

Confused gif Pictures, Images and Photos

Cover Thoughts: The cover is beautiful and it’s what caught my attention. The way it’s formatted is beautiful and the caged bird makes total sense to me.


  1. I really liked this book. Unfortunately, A few months passed before I got to #2 and I just couldn't connect with the story again... :-(

    1. :( Sorry that happened. I hope I like the sequel.:)


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