Monday, March 21, 2011

ARC Review: Wither (Chemical Garden 1) by Lauren DeStefano


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 limited time she has left.


  • Pub. Date: March 2011
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
The Elliott Review:

Be prepared for a squee-ing fangirl review. For real. This book was so gripping, heart-wrenching, and thought-provoking. It gripped me from the start and never let go for one second. My emotions were simply all over the place along with the characters and situations they have been forced in to.

The futuristic world that Lauren DeStefano has set up is more advanced technologically than ours, but the society feels almost medieval with the human life span being so short - violence and prostitution are the only way to survive for some - that or to be used in the homes of the wealthy as a bride or a slave.

Rhine's voice and emotional make up are so poignant that I could not stand it! In the midst of unjust and surreal surroundings, she holds on to the will to escape to find her brother and to retain her essential identity. The way she navigates the strange situation of being forcibly married to a man she does not know along with two others is interesting. Her feelings for Gabriel, the servant, and how she must deal with them is - ooh - yummy!

I outright wanted to go ape over seeing the three brides be forced to marry Linden, and I was ready for any kind of weird situation to ensue. There is no way that I would ever tolerate having to share a man, but the brides are accepting of it in a way that reminds me of Biblical times. They even forge meaningful relationships with each other as sister-wives. To me that really had an impact because it says a lot about the human spirit being very adaptable to any situation.

This is one of the best books I've read in a long time, and I definitely recommend it to any and all!

Source: Thanks to Simon & Schuster  for sending an ARC for a fair review.


  1. From the Comment Exchange Program.

    First. I love your blog design. It's gorgeous.

    Second, I desperately want to read this book now after this review. Sounds like my kind of book and I know what you mean. I mean forced into marriage? I know it happens occasionally now but what era are we in? Victorian Times?
    I would hate it, I mean, I don't what it would be like to be in that situation but you have to marry someone because being forced and then spend the rest of your life (that's remaining) with them. I don't think I would cope.

    Anyway. Good review. I enjoyed reading it.

  2. So glad you enjoyed Wither! I absolutely adored it as well, it was such an amazing read. It certainly did not disappoint. Great review!

  3. I have this one on my shelf, and I can't wait to read it! It seems like the majority of the blogosphere is raving about it. You're definitely not in the minority here! Glad you enjoyed it so much!

    Stopped by from the Comment Exchange Program!

  4. I've been so attracted by the cover - glad to hear you loved the content!