Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither (Chemical Garden, #1)Wither by Lauren DeStefano
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

I'm not a squeamish person. Nor am I easily scared. I pride myself on being level-headed. But there were somethings in Wither that I couldn't stomach.

I consider myself to be a somewhat liberal person, with a few exceptions--for example, I believe in capital punishment and lex talionis under special circumstances.

However, I wasn't able to accept the relationship between Linden and Cecily. He's a good guy that I'm supposed to sympathize with, yet he sleeps with a kid? No thank you.

I know, I know, it's an alternate universe, I should get over it. But I'm unable to accept a relationship between a twenty-year-old man and a thirteen-year-old girl. It's weird. It's squicky. And weird. Yeah, I'm immature, but that's the way I feel about it.

No, my entire rating is not based off of that one particular factor. That's just a small part of my dissatisfaction with Wither.

The science fiction made exactly no-sense. Nor did the backwards polygamous culture. I'm still wondering how North America was the only country to survive a war that melted Antarctica. Can someone please explain that to me? The Earth's crust is made up of plates. Look at a map of tectonic plates. Then you'll see why it's impossible to bomb an entire continent until it dissolves into a chain of islands without destroying the entire planet.

As for the romance, well I wasn't too crazy about Linden or Gabriel. My favorite character is either Rose or Jenna. In fact, I wish this book had been about Rose and Linden. At least I would have been spared the pedophilia, polygamy, and the horrible psuedo-science backstory.

The prose wasn't bad, but at times it got a bit overwrought. I found myself skimming towards the end because I was bored. As I was reading, I decided to forget that this was supposed to be science fiction. Instead, I told myself that this was a historical romance set in Utah. No offense to any Mormons out there.

Wither isn't as good as The Hunger Games or Across the Universe, but it's a decent read if you're looking for a heroine that isn't too stupid to live. Rhine isn't whiny or over concerned with her love life. In fact, she actually has goals and ambitions. She also loves her brother, which is a plus. I hate when heroines put their lover boys over their entire family. But be warned, DeStefano throws a lot of shock factor elements around. Too many, in my opinion.

I received my ARC through Simon and Schuster's Galley Grab program. I'd only read the sequel if someone gave me a copy.

Note: Three stars does not mean I liked it. Three stars means that it was average. For a more positive review, check out Vinaya's. It's always good to get a second opinion and I admit, I'm harsh on books.


  1. This book is so talked of I bet everyone could throw their reviews together and still not bring up the same point twice.

  2. I love that you have made me think twice about this book, and if I do pick it try to be at least a little more observant. Oh man the whole pedo thing in the book has not once been mentioned in any reviews that I read so appreciate you pointing that out. At least I know I'll get a honest review with you. Thanks :)