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Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy) (edition 2011)

by Lauren DeStefano

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1,8502653,743 (3.81)65
Member:liezkl
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
Rating:***
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Wither by Lauren DeStefano

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Showing 1-5 of 261 (next | show all)
This came out during the dystopia hype (which actually might still be going on, but anyway), so I didn’t really have any high hopes for how good it would be — I tend to be cautious towards really popular books, since I’ve been burned a few times by following the hype. :p However, even years later, it still seemed interesting to me, so I decided to at least skim it and see what it was about before outright deciding not to read it.

I have to say, Wither is a lot better than I expected it to be. I think there are a few logical holes as to how a society like this would have developed from the problem of short lifespans, but that aside, it’s actually quite a well thought out story about a girl in a desperate situation who tries to win back her freedom. The story itself dragged a bit, but I’m chalking that up to it being the first of a series and hopefully now that the worldbuilding is done, we can get into some really in-depth, complex looks at the characters and the society they live in within the next books of the series.

On the bright side however, the characters are well done and I loved learning more about them and learning how their lives fit into this strange world as a whole, and what their attitudes said about the world they’re living in. I also thought that DeStefano did an amazing job portraying Rhine’s internal conflict, where she needed to show that she was buying into her new life in order to win her freedom, but then felt guilty for maybe buying into it a little too much. Very, very well done on those counts.

While it’s not on a must-read list or even a definitely recommend list, it is interesting and I definitely want to make a point to read the sequels to see how this series turns out. If it sounds good to you, then I will say that I enjoyed myself, so maybe you will too.

Originally posted on Going on to the Next . ( )
  sedelia | Aug 11, 2016 |
This was one of the books on my Goodreads suggestions list. All it had to tell me was that it was dystopian, had polygamy, and dealt with kidnapping and stockholm syndrome and I was sold!

Rhine is a sixteen year old girl in Manhattan who lives in a world where science has screwed up and has made it so girls only live till they're twenty and boys until they are twenty-five. Rhine's parents were working on a cure when they were murdered in a terrorist attack and she was left alone with her twin brother Rowan. They take turns sleeping each night to protect their home and each other from thieves and the "Gatherers" who round up young girls to be sold into prostitution and sexual slavery as brides to rich men.
Rhine ends up getting "gathered" with a bunch of other girls and forced to marry Linden. a wealthy governor in Florida, along with two other girls. Far from everything she knows and love she decides that she must escape and return home to her brother. But escape seems futile because the brides are watched and restricted to certain areas of the mansion that is impossible to escape. Her only way out is to make Linden fall in love with her so he will make her the First Wife. First Wives are the favorites of their husbands and get more privileges and freedom than her sister wives. Rhine achieves this goal and attends parties and events with Linden all the while determined to escape with the servant Gabriel whom she has fallen in love with.

This book was good for the first book in the series. I enjoyed the feel of this decaying society clinging to the hope of a cure and the disenchanted older generation that due to science are near immortal and all major illnesses have been done away with. Rhine doesn't feel like a sixteen year old to me but that is easily explained by the world she lives in and the death of her parents. Her sister wives can get a little annoying (especially Cecily but she's like fourteen). That also bothered me a lot. Linden's underaged wife. She's fourteen! Hardly at an age where she can give consent and know the consequences of her actions. She feels like a kid playing house the entirety of the book.
All in all it was an enjoyable book I look forward to the rest of the series because this book has so much potential.

Predictions for the rest of the series: Because Rhine and Rowen have heterochromia (two different eye colors) and because their parents were some big wig scientists I think we're going to find out that Rhine and Rowan are the key to the cure (or are test tube babies/clones and will age and live normally). Rhine will end up with Gabriel (though I would not entirely mind if she ended up with Linden) and Linden's father will be killed by one of his horrible experiments. ( )
  oxlabyrinthxo | Jul 10, 2016 |
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 |
READ IN DUTCH

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 |
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This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang. But a whimper. ~T.S. Eliot, "The Hollow Men"
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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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