The Chemical Garden #1
Author : Lauren DeStefano
Pages: [hardcover] 358
Fate, I think, is a thief.
favorite characters: gabriel & rowan
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape–before her time runs out?Together with one of Linden’s servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?
I have no idea why it took me so long to read Wither. I started it at least three times, only one of them with the physical book in front of me, and it was only on the last go that I was finally hooked and brought into the story. I can’t pinpoint what, exactly, had me hesitant, because I enjoyed it immensely after the first, oh, hundred or so pages. Which makes little sense, because when Rhine and Rowan were together were some of my favorite moments.
Once I got into the book, it was hard for me to put it down. I wouldn’t want to stop reading for long stretches at a time. But then I wouldn’t be jumping to pick it up once more. Maybe it was because I’ve been reading a lot of dystopian books lately, and this was just another in a pile. Much of it was original, with the entire concept of dying young, etc., but some things just seemed to be thrown in for the creepiness of it all and I couldn’t quite get over that.
While I came to like the characters, most of them seemed to be stark stereotypes that vaguely attempted to break from their shells. The flighty, oblivious guy. The naive and equally oblivious girl. The girl who seem to notice everything and anything that’s happening while other people pay no attention to it. This grated on my nerves after a while.
That being said, I did really end up liking this, and I’ll definitely find the time to read the next book . . . Though I won’t be running to get it right now. Maybe when I have nothing better to read.
WORTHWHILE. 3.5/5 stars