Chemical Garden Trilogy: Book 1 ~ Wither

Author: Lauren DeStefano

Summary: Thanks to modern science, every newborn has become a ticking 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 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 bend 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 is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.
My Review: I think this is one of those books that I can’t really decide whether I like or not. I think three stars is too low but four is too high. I liked the writing style, for the most part, though it did take me awhile to get into it. The plot’s a bit more intense than that of books I’d normally pick up, but it wasn’t as terrible as I was expecting it to be, so I was generally okay with it. There was that strange… essence of the story though, the feeling you get of reading a somewhat popular young adult book, and wondering why it is so? I don’t like saying I liked a book when so many people seem to enjoy it. I like books that are appealing to me and me alone. I must make the decision, not based upon anyone else’s opinion. True, I’ll take recommendations. But I can’t stand to select a book, just because everyone else loves it. And with this book, I honestly still just don’t know…


Set in a world where the human race is dying off, one by one, all at a very young age, we follow along after Rhine who is selected to become a Bride by the Gatherers. The story takes place mainly in the prison-like mansion, where things are not all as they seem…
Characters: While the characters weren’t necessarily dull, I did feel as though we didn’t spend enough time on their personalities. Rather we floated around with alot of description and what they were doing when, but never really about who they were. You don’t really connect with them so much. That I found disappointing, but expected.
Plot: I mostly don’t enjoy books where society is collapsing, the human race is dying off, and the government… sucks… I did find this book interesting, but after setting it aside and giving it some thought, the plot could have been a bit more in depth. Just a bit. The story could have been longer…..
Disclaimers: At the very beginning of the novel, it is portrayed that a van full of girls is shot. There’s also a rather intense birthing scene later on. The violence is usually much more subtle and hinted rather than shown. The sexuality isn’t ever explicit either. We’ve still got the whole two-teens-sleeping-in-the-same-bed-but-not-having-sex problem I keep stumbling across in my reading. Technically the characters are married, but technically Rhine’s husband has two other wives who don’t seem to have a problem with pleasing him.
Favorite Character: Gabriel
Favorite Quote: N/A
Recommended: Older teens & up
Over-all Rating: ★★★
~ Darkitty
***Next week: The Vanishing Game***
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2 thoughts on “Chemical Garden Trilogy: Book 1 ~ Wither

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