Monday, March 21, 2011

WITHER Release and Review

I think I big congratulations are due to Lauren DeStefano for the release tomorrow of WITHER, the first installment of the Chemical Garden series. So in honor of her debut, I'm posting my review today, a day early, technically. Although, it's already been spotted out there in the wild world. So, without further ado...

WITHER by Lauren DeStefano:
From Goodreads: What if you knew exactly when you would die? 

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic 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 a 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 bent 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 Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.(less)
Hardcover, 356 pages
Expected publication: March 22nd 2011 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
ISBN  1442409053 (ISBN13: 9781442409057)

Plot: This woman knows how to start a story off with a bang. She knows how to start the story off with action, and keeps it up. Within the first 20 pages, I was hooked. Hard. DeStephano starts the story with Rhine in a van, thinking she's going to die. Instead she's chosen to be "saved," becoming the wife of a man she doesn't know. There is genuine tension built through the entire story as Rhine tries to think of a way out of her prison. The only downside for me was an ending that seemed a little too easy, but that could just be because I really wanted more time with the characters.

Writing: DeStephano doesn't waste time explaining things off the bat. She lets everything happen and then comes back to the explanations, mastering the idea of starting with action in the heart of the story. Her descriptions of a world where everything is beautiful but fake are fantastic. The dialog she created is realistic, but not boring. I felt a lot of the book was written in montages, as the time passed in this novel. They were extremely well done, but there were a few of them. Understandable with this story.

Characters: I love her characters. Each is unique and well-rounded. Rhine is a good main character. She's a war with herself for her want of leaving her prison and reuniting with her twin Brother, but she feels a connection to her sister wives, has quickly developed a friendship with one of the servants and is beginning to understand her husband, Linden.
     Rhine's sister wives, Rose, Jenna and Cecily, are each different. They stand out as their own people in my mind, vivid, well-rounded. They each have their own back stories and personalities. I'm impressed by how well-written they were, for just being side characters. Gabriel seemed a little washed out to begin with, but it's quickly resolved when realizing, as a servant, he's losing himself in his prison.
    Linden should be a bad guy being that Rhine and the others were forced to marry him, but he is quickly painted as innocent and more a product of upbringing than of malice. His father though, is painted as the true villain of the story. And boy does he act like it. Not in an over-the-top way, but in a way that is totally plausible and therefore all the more creepy. When I think about him, I still get chills down my spine.

Cover: This is a gorgeous cover, is it not? From the green tint, which fits in perfectly with the idea of false fauna, to the little bird in the cage, as they are all in a type of prison. The line and circle designs are beautiful and go inside to the pages, creating a very polished and finished product. And it's just gorgeous.

Overall: I enjoyed this book, so I'm giving WITHER four of five stars. This was one of those books that I couldn't wait to pick up again. And for a busy person, that's a giant compliment. The themes and the creation of the world alone are stunning. I can't wait to read more. I'm definitely picking up the second one. So you should run and get this one.

Lauren DeStefano: Goodreads I Website I Twitter


ashelynn sanford said...

Great review! I am still reading it, but agree that it is wonderful.

Annerb said...

@Ashelynn - What? You mean you told me to drop everything and read this and I finished before you? *is amazed* Well, get 'er done!

ashelynn sanford said...

Well, my laptop crashed before I could, losing the galley. I have an ARC heading my way, so no big deal. :)

Annerb said...

@ Ashelynn - That's very sad. But I'm glad you get to read it still!

Sarah Robertson said...

Another book I want to read. Glad to hear it was good. :3

tfalick said...

ahhhh! so glad this is the book I picked :) your review just makes me want to read it MORE, and NOW! haha. awesome review!

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