Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano

Format: Hardcover
Pages: 358
Published: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Genre: YA Fantasy, Dystopian

Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Genetic mutations have festered, reducing human longevity to twenty-five, even less for most women. To prevent extinction, young girls are kidnapped, mated in polygamous marriages with men eager to procreate. Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery, a recent victim of this breeding farm mentality, has vowed to break loose from its fetters; but finding allies and a safe way out is a challenge she can only hope she will survive. A dystopian fantasy series starter with wings.

There are almost no words on where to start with a review for Wither. It is such a unique, refreshing book. The plot is so unlike any book I have ever, ever read. A genetic mutation causes all girls to die at twenty years old and all boys to die at twenty-five years old. Because of this, Rhine Ellery has been abducted by wealthy Linden Ashby's father, unaffected by this mutation, to become one of three sister wives for his son. The population is taking multiple wives at young adulthood in an attempt to re-populate society while scientists and doctors search for an antidote for this virus killing off the masses.

Wow. Just wow. Rhine, Cecily, and Jenna are all married to Linden, and couldn't be more different. I couldn't necessarily connect with any of the girls on a personal level, but I came to really like each one. Rhine is headstrong and determined to save herself from a life of luxurious imprisonment. Cecily is young, naive, eager to please, and oh-so happy to be the wife of a House Governor. Jenna is strong, bitter, and determined to ride out the end of her life getting Linden back for stealing her family.

The plot was amazing. I loved reading the intricacies of the sister wives, the way the luxurious mansion is set up to depict the outside world with holograms, and how Linden's father has created a suspicious, mysterious environment that is just begging to be unraveled.

This was a book I could not put down. It goes beyond the boundaries of normal dystopian fiction and touches on so much more. Three girls are torn from their worlds and are forced into a polygamous marriage - albeit in a luxurious, wealthy mansion they are imprisoned in - but they learn to create a family amongst themselves with their sister wives. I loved watching each of them grow and develop and the plot never grew stale. The suspense and mystery of the mansion's activities kept the pages turning quickly.

I have fallen in love with Lauren DeStefano's writing and am eagerly awaiting the release of Fever!

Rate: 5/5



  1. I've had this book for months and haven't read it yet.

  2. Thank you girls! I just loved this one! It was so unique! It was a fast read for me because I couldn't wait to see what happened next!!

  3. This sounds great! I've gotta get my hands on it!!


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