Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wither, by Lauren DeStefano

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy)Synopsis: Our bumbling, meddlesome species finally comes up with a cure for cancer (and just about anything else that plagues us), and ends up dooming humanity. Every person born after the cure was developed dies young; girls at age 20, boys at age 25. Rich men take on multiple wives in an effort to keep the population going, but these wives aren’t willing; they’re kidnapped, bought and sold like the most precious of commodities. Rhine is separated from her twin brother after she’s abducted and married to Linden Ashby. Trapped in the lap of luxury, she plots her escape, despite new friendships with her sister wives, her growing empathy for Linden, and her dangerous feelings for servant boy Gabriel.

What I Liked: Wither hits the ground running and doesn’t stop. Despite the fact that it’s kind of a far-fetched concept, scientifically speaking, DeStefano makes the world completely plausible. Linden’s father, Vaughn, is perfectly creeptastic, and adds the necessary element of danger. And even though the book is set in the future, it has a vaguely steampunky feel. I think this is due to the presence of such advanced science in a sociologically stunted society. The cover art is very Victorian/ubermodern, too, which probably contributed to my perception. Either way, I liked it. It made the atmosphere even creepier.

What I Didn’t: Rhine’s name. Because the story is told in first person, we don’t hear it often enough to get used to it. It’s a very masculine-sounding name, at least to me, and so every time someone said, ‘Rhine,’ I was like, wait, who’s that guy? I found it very distracting. But that’s just me nitpicking.

Rating: Four Cheezits out of five.

Note: The sequel to this (I believe) three-part series, Fever (Chemical Garden Trilogy, the) is set to release on February 21, 2012. I’ve already preordered.

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