Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) – Lauren DeStefano

Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) – Lauren DeStefanoTitle: Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano
Publishing Info: March 22, 2011 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Library
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 1, 2012
Related Posts: Fever (The Chemical Garden #2), Sever (The Chemical Garden #1)

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?


Okay, at first, I was kind of creeped out with the child bride stuff. The youngest girl Cecily is only 13 when she becomes Linden’s bride and since she is the most eager after being rescued from an orphanage, she immediately becomes the favorite to bear Linden’s children and is pregnant at 13. Pretty messed up. But taking into account what the book is all about, I guess that really does make sense in this messed up future world. Children have to be parents to new children in order to be around at all to raise them, and Linden’s three brides are there to preserve the human race and carry on his family before they are all wiped out.

Putting that aside… I loved it. I loved Rhine as the heroine of this book. She doesn’t have to fight to be strong. She knows that her strongest bet is to play along with the marriage and all the while bide her time while she finds the perfect escape strategy. I got so wrapped up in the story and it was really interesting to see all the tangles of relationships that Rhine has with all of the members in the house. I loved her relationship with her sister wives. They really do become sisters and furthermore, you really get to see each of the personalities of Rhine, Jenna, and Cecily and really get to know them. Lauren DeStefano does a great job of really getting you to know the girls and I felt like I could picture the story as it was happening. Great descriptions and I really felt connected to each of the girls.

Housemaster Vaughn. Where do I begin? He is accurately described as Dr. Frankenstein in the book. He’s a doctor and so desperate to find a cure for this disease so his son won’t die. Rhine seriously doubts the girls mean anything to him and his charm is pure cover and makes her (and me) shiver with the disgusting sweetness he plays out. Rhine is sure that he’s testing on anyone who dies from this disease to find a cure, all the while keeping Linden as his puppet, completely clueless about what’s really going on. Vaughn is the one who Rhine must hide from in order to stay safe and stay alive to escape from their prison — I mean, mansion.

I really enjoyed the story and I was hooked! Great characters, very interesting plot line, and I can’t wait to read the second book!!


Read it!

Really loved it! A lovely dystopian world (although a bit creepy) and I just couldn’t put it down!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE WITHER


Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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8 thoughts on “Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) – Lauren DeStefano

  1. Tara

    I’ve been wanting to read this series for AGES, and just can’t find an excuse to make it happen. I mean, the cover alone has me sold. I’ll be interested to see how the child bride stuff does work — you say it works, but it still makes me queasy! But I’ll take your word for it. It’s also fun to see how your review style has change over the past 9 months (I’m always impressed by your graphics — I know it must be time consuming to make all those titles and fancy Addiction Factor graphics)!

  2. Briana

    I’m in that small part of society that isn’t completely in love with this book. 😉 I actually thought Vaughn wasn’t that scary because mostly the readers are told that he’s evil–we don’t get much proof. Essentially we assume there’s some crazy stuff going on in the basement. I’ve heard there’s more of him in the sequel, though, which I do plan on reading eventually.

  3. Kelsey

    I was creeped out by the young pregnancies at first too, but the rest of the book and everything going on more than made up for it 🙂 The next book is even better!

    1. Brittany

      I actually didn’t enjoy Fever as much as I did Wither, but still enjoyed them a ton! I can’t wait for Sever. I think it was set up perfectly and I’m super excited for it!

  4. Vyki

    Great review! I just finished and reviewed Fever and it was a great read as well. I look forward to the third, Sever, and can’t wait to see how everything will be wrapped up.

    1. Brittany S

      I took a peek at your review for Fever, but I didn’t want to read too much before I read it 🙂 I can’t wait! I’ll have to get my hands on a copy soon because I enjoyed Wither so much that I need to know what happens next!!

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