Mar 30, 2011

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Wither (Chemical Garden #1)
Author: Lauren Destefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 356
Challenge: None

My Rating:

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. -summary from

In Wither the human race is nothing but genetic engineering, and because of this there is a lethal virus that has Women dying at the age of 20 and Men dying at the age of 25. Enter our main character; Rhine (how awesome is her name?). Rhine is a 16 year-old girl who is orphaned and has fought day to day to survive in this chaotic world with her twin brother. She is kidnapped, and sold to the highest bidder. She soon learns that her new housemaster; Dr. Vaughn, intends to marry her of to his son, Linden. Along with Rhine is Cecily, a 13 year-old girl, and Jenna, a 19 year-old girl, who are to become sister wives.  Yes, you read it right- Sister wives. They will all share the same husband, Linden.
No enemy is to small; that’s what Wither taught me. Dr. Vaughn was a perfect villain. At first I was like, “If men die at age 25, why does Linder still have a father?” well, it turns out Dr. Vaughn is the first generation of genetically modified humans; they’re exactly what they were meant to be- very healthy and very strong. The defect, or the virus, showed up when the first generation began to reproduce, their children died young. Although we don’t see much of Dr. V throughout the book, we do hear A LOT about him… and let me tell you, it struck fear in my heart every time they mentioned his name.
Rhine is a smart, brave and kind-hearted heroine but what I really love most about Rhine was she knows what she wants and she won't stop until she get it. Also, her relationship with Rose and her sisters wives, especially with Jenna, was really beautiful. It's amazing how they formed their strong bonds with each other despite their given situation. You can’t help but feel for Linden. He may be ignorant, but he truly is a caring soul. He really does care for his wives and he thinks he’s doing them a favor by keeping them at home. The only thing I would have liked to see happen in the novel was for Rhine to tell Linden the truth; that she was sold to her father and not ‘saved’ as Linden likes to see it…. I just can’t see Rhine with Gabriel, I’m sorry. I know he was her only true friend, besides Jenna, and helped her emotionally, but I’m more of a Linden girl. When he went to Rhine after losing Rose and cried his heart out.... wow. Let's just say I teared up myself.
Overall, Wither is an awesome debut and a must read for all dystopian lovers out there. It's a beautifully written tragic tale. The ending was good, it had some closure on certain things but many other things unanswered. I’m so happy there’s going to be a series; I desperately want to know what happens next! 


  1. I've been hearing so much about this book - to bad I already read my dystopyan quota this year - but still, I love you review, and I'm going to keep this one in mind.

    I like that you say Dr. V is a great villain, for me you can always measure a story (when applicable) in the scale of the villain.

  2. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!


  3. I just bought this book and am now eagerly waiting delivery

  4. I agree, this was a great Dystopian story. I can't wait for the next one.

  5. I just ordered... I am picking it up soon. So glad you liked it!

  6. Yay, I was more of a Linden girl myself! Gabriel was...nice enough, but he just wasn't as interesting. Glad to hear you loved this one!

  7. Wow. I sooo badly need to read this. I'm going shopping next week, and I'm going to buy this. Possibly along with one or two more...
    Brilliant review, but now I want to read it more!!! Didn't even think that was possible. (:

  8. Loved this book. I can't wait to read the sequel! Hope it doens't come out in 2 years!

  9. Still can't wait to read this one! I seem to see it everywhere! Awesome review!

  10. Great review! I loved this book. I agree with you, I wish Rhine told Linden the truth too. I kept hoping she would.

    Thanks for visiting my IMM. I really like your blog! New follower :)


  11. Great review! I keep hearing wonderful things about this book. I wasn't interested in reading it at first, but after all I'm hearing, I think I may just have to give it a try.


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