Monday, July 25, 2011

Wither by Lauren Destefano

Rhine knew better, but she went anyway and ended up in the hands of the Gatherers - the men who capture young women and sell them off as unwilling brides, or to a worse fate if they fail to attract the attention of their potential future husbands.  Rhine had been living with her twin brother Rowan, working together to survive in a world where all the men die by the age of 25, and all the women die by the time they are 20.  It is a lonely world where everyone lives their life at an accelerated rate and orphans fill the streets when their parents die too soon. 

Rhine was strong when she was with Rowan, and she needs all that strength when she finds herself sold to become the bride of a wealthy man in a city far from home.  Her new home with her sister-wives is life in a guilded-cage, she has everything she could possibly want except for her freedom.  Her blossoming romance with one of the staff is the only thing that really seems to make life worthwhile - and then that is taken away too.  In a world where one  man controls all their lives, Rhine will strive to free herself from the shackles of her forced marriage and captivity - but at what cost?

This is the first book in the Chemical Garden Trilogy and it has been receiving very mixed reviews.  I have been reading a lot of dystopian novels lately (partly because it seems to be a VERY popular genre at the moment) and this was one of the better ones.  There are times when the story is uneven, moving from incredible depth and incredible storytelling, to moving over things quickly and lightly and almost as an after thought.  The world also at times seems to be a little too shallow, but that fits with the life that Rhine and her sister-wives and husband are living.  They are all captured in a glittering world where escape is impossible, and where the person who controls all their fates is a twisted old man who definitely has his own agenda. 

I enjoyed the story and look forward to the sequel Fever which is due for release in early 2012.  Don't go into this book expecting huge, earth shattering revelations and a story of love conquering all because you just won't get it.  Rhine is a deep character and you can see the changes in her over time, but there are times when it seems as though there is a little holding back, a little bit of the author not invested in the story that may put some readers off.  Overall a highly recommended read, but you have to read it at face value - but then that is the opinion of someone who is some way away from being a teenager, and as this book was written for teenagers rather than adults that is something to keep firmly in mind.

If you like this book then try:
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Matched by Ally Condie
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  • XVI by Julia Karr

Reviewed by Brilla

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