Thursday, March 31, 2011

Review- Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy)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?

This is the most interesting book I have read in a while. Sure, I've read good books that I have loved, but this story was deeper and darker than others I've read lately. I'd say that WITHER impacted me in ways similar to Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins-not because they are remotely alike as far as storylines go-but because of the emotions both books conjured inside of me.

I read this book in one sitting-most likely biting my lip while letting the story penetrate my thoughts all the while my hands grasping the cover so tightly my palms were sweaty and knuckles white.;) It was so mentally intense for me. The subject matter is not a romantic one and the issues addressed in the story are hard to fathom yet, at the same time I believed the scenario full heartedly.

From the very beginning readers are witness to the actions that have become everyday occurrences in the world the author writes. The world's (future America's) vain attempts to play God and create a super human race has backfired and doomed the next generations to short lifespans. Very short. Some people are trying to fix the genetic glitch but in order to do so they need more test subjects. What this means is that wealthy families with money and sons turn to plural marriages. The boy weds multiple girls and has children with them providing scientist new blood to hopefully come up with a cure for all mankind. However, polygamy isn't even the biggest issue...the means that some of the families go to in order to get new wives for their sons are the real problem.

Pretty young girls are kidnapped and thrown into a truck with 20 or more girls and paraded in front of potential buyers then sold as wives. There is even more to this part of the story that is disturbing but I don't want to spoil it for you, all I will say is that it reflects on an issue that the real world deals with and that is human trafficking. I applaud the author for going there in a young adult novel. It is a very real problem that more young girls and boys for that matter should be educated on and because it is a real issue it adds to the believability.

As I read Rhine's struggle with her predicament I began to see that everything was not exactly as it seemed. The girls are treated relatively well, given first class lodging, great clothes and waited on hand and feet, it would be easy to almost forget that they were victims. In fact, I found myself sympathizing with one of the captures, Rhine's new husband, despite some of his questionable actions. I also saw how the girls that were taken and forced to become sister wives to Linden (the boy that bought them) grew to actually care for one another. The whole thing was very moving.

However, despite the touching moments between the girls and their new husband, the fact that they were kidnapped and taken from families remained in the back of my mind. Especially when Linden's father, a scientist, began to play a bigger, more villainous role in the story. It was quite the nail-biting, page turning story with really interesting characters. Prepare yourselves though-there is a bit of a cliffhanger.;)

I realize that this book will not be for everyone. It deals with issues that are difficult to think about, and though s-e-x isn't actually described in the book, the fact that it takes place (with young girls) is obvious to readers and some people might be uncomfortable reading those type of actions in a story-even if they are only alluded to. That being said, I think this book was amazing! It made me think long after I had finished it and though it isn't necessarily a "message" book, it inspired me to educate myself more on human trafficking, genetic engineering and other things that are subject in the book but factual issues in today's world. WITHER is beautifully written and possibly the best book I will read this year, it certainly has one of the most awesome covers I have ever seen...and it's the author's debut work! How amazing is that?

Lauren DeStefano is an author I think I will automatically buy books by in the future. I really can't wait for the next book in the series due for release 2012!

~Peace & Love

Visit Lauren DeStefano's

This book was given to Paperback Dolls courtesy of Simon & Schuster

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