Saturday, 16 March 2013

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Wither 
Author: Lauren DeStefano 
Publisher: Harper Voyager  
Release Date: 4 August 2011
Format: Paperback (320 pages)
Series: The Chemical Garden Trilogy 

Synopsis from Goodreads:

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 years--leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek 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 sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet 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 has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive.

Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

Cover: The cover is incredibly conceptual and uses a lot of objects and imagery to foreshadow elements in the story.   

The Characters: The story is told around 16 year old Rhine, a girl, kidnapped and sold to a wealthy family, forced to become a sister wife. Rhine was alright at first and then I grew to dislike her as the story started to close because of something that she laters says/does. Linden is the man she is forced to marry and he’s is genuinely a sweet man and doesn’t truly understand what goes on right under his nose. And he is really good to his wives, all things considered, I initially expected him to be horrid. Gabriel is a house servant in the Ashby mansion and Rhine’s love interest. I disliked him quite early on, he’s a terribly bland 2-dimensional character. The other characters are Rhine’s two sister wives, 18 year old Jenna and 13 year old Cecily. I really like Jenna, she has a sense of maturity the other two girls lack. Cecily, I hated her, she was incredibly annoying and distasteful a lot of the time. I try to remind myself that she’s just a child but then I remember that in this world she’s already half way through her life.   

The Plot: The plot sounded terrific and I loved the idea when I first heard it, but then I read the book. It was nothing like I imagined. I think that maybe the plot could have been executed differently to make this a more nail biting experience.  

Love, Love, Love: As always, there is a love triangle. Rhine is married to Linden but there’s also the serving boy, Gabriel, who seeks her affection. The for me was very much like the whole THG love triangle situation between Gale and Peeta. I’m not comparing Linden and Gabriel to Gale and Peeta, no way, but more the love side of things. Linden is totally my Peeta, I get it, Linden is married to Rhine and spends as much time as she’ll let him with her. He genuinely loved her. Gabriel, on the other hand, is my Gale. I just don’t get it. What is he even doing there. I never understood how the Gale and Katniss love thing could be taken seriously, how I was supposed to understand him and love him too when he’s hardly ever seen! Gabriel was no where near as present or lovable a Linden and so I couldn’t understand why Rhine would risk so much trouble to be with him. I just didn’t get it. I thought the whole thing was pretty pointless. And even now I’m not sure how she feels about him.

What I loved: Lauren DeStefano’s writing. It’s literally the only reason I got through this book. She’s really good at her wording and can make things seem so beautiful and her pacing is pretty good too. Oh yeah and Linden and Rose and Jenna.
What I didn’t like: Rhine, Gabriel, Cecily and Vaughn. Also the direction that DeStefano took this story.   

Recommend? No. 

Final Thoughts: Wither is an interesting debut but it doesn’t stand out. It’s written well, just not told well.  

Rating: 3 Stars

No comments:

Post a Comment