Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Monday, 26 September 2011

PhotobucketWither (Chemical Garden Trilogy #1)
by Lauren DeStefano
Publication Date: 22 March 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Hardcover
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 she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left. |Goodreads|


While I was reading Wither I happened to be rather sick with Bronchitis, which kept me out of commission for 2 weeks. It might sound rather strange to say this but I was actually grateful that I decided to pick up this book during my prescribed ‘bed rest’. In other words, Wither was so amazing that I could not put it down and luckily I didn’t have to. 

I loved the fact that the writing provides such crystal clear imagery. I felt like I was literally whisked away into the beautiful world that Lauren has created. I could see Rhine walking the floor of the sister wives, mingling with people at the entrancing parties, walking among the orange groves and being trapped in the confines of her bedroom. It felt more like watching a film rather than paging through a book. 

Another aspect that I really enjoyed about Wither was the way the main character is so self-assured. It is rare for a 16 year old to have such strong opinions and to be so confident in them and in herself. She knows exactly who she is, where it is that she comes from and that she does not belong in this new world which has been forced upon her. Only once or twice does she allow herself to be swept up in the opulence and excitement of her new life, but she manages to bring herself back into reality and she soon remembers her true goal. I was also touched by the enduring love she has for her brother and that she is willing to risk her life over and over again to try and get back to him. 

Wither is not a love story but it does have a romance aspect to it which is definitely a captivating aspect. Rhine has never known any other love besides what she feels towards her brother and what she felt towards her parents. If this is anything to go by it shows that Rhine is capable of having a very big heart and loving very deeply, which is I look forward to discovering about her in the next book. While trapped in the mansion, Rhine does experience an inkling of falling in love and I really enjoyed watching her discover another aspect of herself, one she least expected to experience while being held against her will. It’s left open ended, but that just leaves more for the reader to discover in the next instalment, which I am very very much looking forward to. 

I’m not going to lie; there were a couple of tear jerking moments in this book. One was the naivety of Rhine’s husband, Linden Ashby. All I kept thinking towards the end of the book was, this poor guy knows nothing about the world in which he lives in. In my opinion, he is just as trapped as his wives, which gives him a redeeming quality in the end. But what’s even worse in his case is that he doesn’t even know that the people closest to him are keeping him trapped. But I won’t go and give away all the good stuff. 

All in all, I found Wither to be a beautiful, captivating and thought provoking read that kept me, not only wanting, but needing to discover just what was going to happen next.


  1. I can't wait to read it too! Unfortunately there is four books before it on my list :)

  2. Lovely review Stephanie!

    I was also swept up in Rhine's world and I enjoyed the different approach to a dystopian world that Lauren DeStefano has used - it was more Rhine's situation that was really foreign to me rather than the world itself, despite the short life spans of the population.

    I'm also keen to get my hands on Fever. :)

    The Word Fiend

  3. Awesome review :) I saw it on Book Blogs and had to stop by! New follower :) I'm glad you liked this one, I'm pretty obsessed. I read Wither on a road trip from LA to SJ so I devoured it in the 6 hours it took. Well I devoured that and something else haha. Awesome blog!