Review- Wither

Title: Wither (Chemical Garden Trilogy, Book 1)
Author: Lauren DeStefano

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking 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 kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. 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 is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape–before her time runs out?

**Please be aware- I kind of rant in this review. Its probably my longest review ever... Sorry. **

This book is hard to review. I have been hearing about it for a while now… but now Im just not sure whether I liked it or not.
The beginning (first chapter) was great, I was immediately interested in what the world was like and what was going to happen. But then it stopped. The story dragged and dragged forever, and I constantly kept waiting for something  to happen.
I didn’t really like the way the story was told. I felt like I could never connect with Rhine. I didn’t really care about her at all. At the beginning, her fear was tangible and real, then nothing she said/felt mattered to me anymore. As far as the sister wives, I loved watching their relationship with each other grow. That was done really well. But that’s it. I really didn’t like Cecily.  Jenna was ok, and had a little more depth to her. But I didn’t really like any of the sister wives.
However, I really just couldn’t stand Rhine at all. She kept saying she wanted to be free. But what point was there to being free. She was safe, and treated well, and it was terrible where she was. She even started caring about Lindin (who wasn’t really the bad guy- his father Vaughn was) and yeah- I would get not wanting to be around Vaughn, but how great is the world outside of this mansion??  Not to mention-
there is NO growth for Lindin. He is a dumb man, who is kept sheltered because of his father. But he is weak, has no backbone and gets to have 3 wives he gets to sleep with whenever he wants. I have no sympathy for him and really cannot stand him at all.
No man is alive past the age of 25, and no woman past the age of 20. Like… what DOES the world outside have to offer?? Freedom? No. Hunger, no shelter, nowhere to go. No safety. All things she had at the mansion.
Not to mention- what’s up with this virus?? It’s a virus that makes everyone die young? Sounds so implausible. Why not explain it more. How is it affecting the rest of the world? Not to mention- if there is hunger and its such a terrible world, why not go and be a wife of a rich man? What harm is there? You don’t have much of a life anyways. I would get wanting to run away from gatherers who would do experiments on you… but men who just want you to marry a wealthy man?? Not that bad.
Also… the whole love story between Rhine and the servant boy, Gabriel, was hardly even a love story. They have hardly any interaction and we don’t get to see them actually fall in love? But really… how could anyone in that situation?
Overall, the entire story left me frustrated and unsatisfied. I wanted more. I wanted more explanation, more character development. Actually… I don’t want more. I don’t even like the story line. I don’t like the idea of sister wives or making babies that you know will die before really even living. I didn’t like any of the characters…  Where is the hope in this story? If everyone dies and there is nothing you can do about it… whats the point?

Rating: 2 Stars – because though I really didn’t like it, it was well written and I did finish it.


  1. I have been up in the air about reading this one. The idea behind it sounds neat, but I was worried about it dragging. Great review!

    Beth ^_^

    1. Thanks. I dont regret reading it, but I wont be reading the rest of the Series.
      I did like the idea, but I feel like it was poorly executed.

  2. I feel the exact same way about Gabriel and Rhine. They were suddenly in love but we didn't get to expierence any of it. We get to see him a bit better in Fever but to be honest it is not that much more.

    Becky @ A Reader’s Devotion

    1. Well thats good, But I doubt Ill read anymore in the series.

  3. "Please be aware - I kind of rant in this review. Its probably my longest review ever... Sorry."

    You don't have anything to be sorry for. Given that I just wrote a 5500-word analysis that tried to legitimize a cartoon dog and duck, I'd say you don't have a thing to worry about -- and you're practically a saint.

    Back on topic. The story's premise certainly sounds interesting, but at the same time it sounds like it invites plenty of errors in execution. How DOES a world like that work? How would that affect the children? Would the standards for age-appropriate behavior change? Would we see twelve-year-olds being allowed to drive?

    It's a concept that could be explored rather well in its own right...but judging by your reaction, I'd say there are a LOT of missed opportunities. What a shame.

    Anyway, good review. And don't be afraid to rant; how else will you be able to point out all the nitpick-worthy issues?

    1. So true. It had SO much potential, but lacked SO completely!
      So sad!

      And... you are right. Your posts are always much longer than mine! Haha. But thats ok.
      Though, I would hardly call myself a Saint.


  4. I know exactly what you mean. I was bothered by pretty much the same things that bothered you, but I can't help myself from readng this series. >.<' Maybe it's because it was one of the first dystopian books I've read. LOL. But it's still a bit creepy. And too mysterious. Great review!

  5. Interesting. I've heard a lot about this book and the series, but I never really gave it much thought. I'll give it a shot though. It sucks how it lacked so much, but I'm honestly still curious. And besides, some girl in my class painted a HUGE poster of the cover of this book and I really have to see if it was worth it.
    Great review :)

  6. Wow, you covered much of the same questions and problems that I thought of when I read this book! I think the cover was the best part. LOL I enjoyed the novel well enough, but like you said--what was there better about being free? Just on principle? And the love story wasn't much of one, really. Not much interaction. Seemed more like empty pining.


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