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Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy) by…

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy) (edition 2011)

by Lauren DeStefano

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1,8432623,765 (3.81)65
Title:Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy)
Authors:Lauren DeStefano
Info:Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (2011), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Read, Your library

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Wither by Lauren DeStefano


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Showing 1-5 of 260 (next | show all)
Once again, a book that was chosen solely because it was on the shelf and the cover was pretty.

The story was surprisingly interesting: in the future, we cure cancer and all other diseases but die at 20 (girls) and 25 (boys). The tale follows Rhine as she discovers the horrors of this new world.

First in a series. I'll probably give the second one a chance. ( )
  imahorcrux | Jun 22, 2016 |

Another Dystopian YA that hit the bookshops and my library after the success of The Hunger Games.

I had some problems with the genetics part of this book, as a training Biomedical Scientist. With advancing technology a way is found to cure people from all diseases. The only downside to this wonderful plan is that the offspring of this improved people happen to die at the age of 20 or 25 for females and males respectively. It's a strange disease, just kicking in after said birthday, and you will wither. (But no explanation on what kind of disease this is supposed to be, did they create a gene that can actually read a calender or count the candles on your birthday cake?)

Making sure you don't get diseases is a serious threat to your offspring it would seem, as this is also has a similar effect in TV-series Spellbinder which I liked to watch as a child.

The problem is set to be genetic, so why are they trying to make an antidote? Should another genetic manipulation not suffice? This is always my problem with books where genetic experiments have gone wrong. If you have the technology, why don't you just reverse the experiment. See, I'm not even graduated yet, but I can see the solution for this problem.

As especially women die young, their wombs are extremely important. Probably to make sure humans don't extinct or something, I can't really think about why people would like to have children that will grow up orphans (if they need kids for some reason or another, why don't they just take the orphans?) So important that everyone who doesn't get chosen by wealthy men, gets shot. That makes perfect sense of course?!

Those things said, I quite liked to read this book. It's not something you should analyse too much (see evidence above) but it's enjoyable. I liked the story in the mansion with the sisterwives, and the eminent feeling something is wrong there. It's a nice quick read, so I also planned to read the second book in this series. ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
This book was good, I couldn't believe how women had fallen again to be something taken instead of willingly given. . . ( )
  mariahsidhe | May 12, 2016 |
Wither presents a dystopian future where men die at 25 and women die at 20. The reader is presented this world through the eyes of a kidnapped girl forced into a marriage with a rich man. Though an interesting concept, the novel tends to fall into cliches and stereotypical characters. However, these cliches are at least presented intelligently and the novel reads briskly.
1 vote TheBigHuckabowski | Apr 28, 2016 |
I was feeling kind of burnt out on YA dystopias. The first time I looked at Wither, I put it back - thinking it wouldn’t be my kind of thing. I gave it another chance and I am so glad I did. Wither is a unique foray into the YA dystopian genre - it’s twisted and grim and that’s how I like it! The thrust of the novel isn’t really on romance, but on the strength of friendships between women and the bonds between siblings.

Okay, the general conceit is that, in the future, a team of genetic engineers were able to create a “perfect” generation - one with no disease. However, all subsequent generations have been cursed with a virus that kills every girl at the age twenty and every boy at twenty-five. There are still some of the first generation folks around - people now in their seventies - but everyone else is under 25 and knows their life is harshly limited. This is a grim world, full of social decay, poverty, overflowing orphanages and systemic corruption.

Rhine is sixteen and has four years to live. She and her twin brother, Rowan, have lived alone since their parents (two first-generation scientists) were killed. When they died, Rhine and Rowan stopped believing anyone would develop a cure. The world will die.

As the novel begins, Rhine has been abducted and is being held in the back of a dark van with a group of other terrified girls. We quickly learn that in this world the wealthy pay “Gatherers” for kidnapped girls to be their unwilling brides. From the group of girls Rhine is chosen because of her heterochromia. Two other girls are also selected - and the rest are shot. This sets the tone immediately as a dangerous, deadly world with high stakes.

Rhine finds herself the prisoner/bride of incredibly wealthy Governor Linden, who lives in a sprawling mansion-estate run by his sinister father, Housemaster Vaughn. Vaughn is the one who is really in control, a first-generation man who spends his time performing experiments in the basement. Everyone is scared of him.

Rhine and her sister-wives are trapped on their floor, which is controlled by high-tech security and holograms. As she gets to know the other girls, Rhine develops a strong bond with the other two girls. Jenna is older, withdrawn and mysterious. When we learn the cause of her sombre disposition it’s really heartbreaking. Cecily is the opposite - a little girl, only thirteen, she has been brought up in an impoverished orphanage and thinks the mansion and their husband is a dream come true. She can’t understand why Rhine and Jenna don’t want to be there. And she can’t understand why they are horrified that Linden would have such a young bride.

Rhine is determined to escape her forced marriage and find her way back to her brother. This is her strongest motivation throughout the novel. She isn’t stupid about how she goes about this though, knowing that she needs to take things slowly and gain the trust of her new husband to be allowed more freedom to move around the mansion. To this end she pretends to fall for Linden, and as she does she (and the reader) learn more about this boy. He turns out to be more sympathetic than you think - for instance, he thinks all three of the girls wanted to be brides and has no idea the other girls the Gatherers took were killed. He also has some depth to him, as revealed through his drawings.

But Rhine never wanted to be his wife. Add to this a servant named Gabriel who she finds herself maybe sort-of attracted to and Rhine is no less determined to find a way out of her lavish jail cell.

I thought the relationship between Rhine and Gabriel was the weakest part of the story - I loved the sisterhood that developed between Rhine, Jenna and Cecily and how even Linden was intimated by their bond. I loved the futuristic setting of the mansion with its holograms and sinister underbelly. I loved Rhine’s determination to get back to her brother and the strong bond between the siblings, their life revealed gradually though Rhine’s memories. However, the Gabriel/Rhine romance fell flat for me.

She doesn’t even know if she loves him, since the two aren’t allowed enough freedom to explore that - which is part of the point - but it makes it hard to feel invested. Rhine sees Gabriel so infrequently and for such small amounts of time that it makes her feelings for him hard to buy. Anyway, I’m assuming this will be developed more in the next two books.

Overall, I loved Wither! I really found myself caring about Rhine, Jenna and Cecily and wanting to know what would happen to them. The world the author has created is suitably dark and dystopian, but it's a unique spin on the genre that I don’t think I’ve seen before. I love the friendships between women that are so integral to this plot - Rhine also befriends Linden’s original wife, his childhood sweetheart Rose, who is dying from the virus when we meet her.

I recommend Wither to fans of YA dystopia and plan on reading the sequels soon. ( )
  catfantastic | Apr 20, 2016 |
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This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang. But a whimper. ~T.S. Eliot, "The Hollow Men"
For my dad, who turned to me and said, "one day kid, you'll do great things."
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I wait.  They keep us in the dark so long that we lose sense of our eyelids.
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After modern science turns every human into a genetic time bomb with men dying at age twenty-five and women dying at age twenty, girls are kidnapped and married off in order to repopulate the world.

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