REVIEW : Wither by Lauren de Stefano

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wither (The Chemical Garden #1)

Author     : Lauren DeStefano
Publisher  : Kantera (Indonesia)
Pages       :
Source     : Bought

Blurb :
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 limited time she has left.

If I have to review in one sentence :

'Wither' might be the first Dystopia genre I've ever read.
I always hesitant to buy dystopia book because sometimes the storyline seems errr...too tense, too 'heavy', too...strange. I dunno how to explain it but yeah maybe some of you feel that way too. Okay I purchased Hunger Games already, but still haven't read it no matter how recommended it was.

That was what I felt when I read the blurb at the back cover of Wither; woah really a bundle of tragedy and I can not really stand tragical series.
But again, thanks to all the bookish blogs I stalked which gave very high appreciation and recommendation to this book, finally I snagged it and NEVER regretted (just regretted why the publisher didn't use the original cover, it's soooooo pretty ;A;). This is very good debut novel of Lauren DeStefano. She has poetic, beautiful and very detail writing style until you can imagine you are there, you feel what the characters feel. I kept shivering at some chapter, I felt like reading a girl's true confession. So awesome-sauce!

Okay, this is the real review ;)

Wither's background is very eerie, about the wrong causes of human's (actually) positive effort, to find cures for terminal disease like cancer for a better future. But everything goes wrong. Their brilliant invention of that cures gives a deathly side effect : human's life span is shorten, boys only can live until 25 years old, and girls until 20 years old. That's not the only problems. Girls were kidnapped by 'Gatherer' from their home, at the street or from the orphanage and been sold to be wives of a boy from rich family. They might live at luxury and wealthy life and treated as princess, but behind that still lays scary facts : forever be a child-factory to save the human race and be a prisoner until they reach their age limit and die.

At this kind of world, Rhine Ellery, together with other 2 girls, Jenna & Cecily, are wives who be chosen 'brutally' (one scariest scene ever, I tell you) to be Linden's wives. Yup,poligamy issue. Each girl has different reaction to this. Cecily, 13, is very very excited and prepares herself very well to be a mother at very young age. Jenna, 19, admit she was dead already when captured and doesn't care anymore about her life. And Rhine, 16, who is really strong and determine girl, always tries to escape and back to her twin brother and her old life. Rhine is smart enough to find the ugly truth behind beautiful artificial environment and something wrong with Linden's father. I really adore her for that. We might see Rhine sometimes enjoyed live at luxury and she showed affection toward Linden but her desire to reach her freedom is a lot bigger than that.
I like Jenna too. Behind her ignorant mask, she paid attention and concerned a lot to little things around her,especially her sister-wives. She also supported Rhine's decision even helped her. I'm very sad for her sad ending. And Cecily, well... she was nosy and childish like her age. I get annoyed and pity her at the same time.

For the love story, although I support Rhine and Gabriel, I can't deny that Rhine's relationship with Linden is more developed. Linden seems sincerely love Rhine, despite the fact that Rhine remind him of his former death wife who he loves so much. With Gabriel, it is a bittersweet, like forbidden love between master and servant. I still wait for more Rhine and Gabriel's story at the next book.

There are still a lot mysteries unanswered, like what Vaughn exactly do at the basement, he really tried to find a cure or do other creepier experiment; and why people concern a lot about Rhine's heterochromia .
I really can't wait for the next book. I think I have to painfully wait until the Indonesia version will be published here.

Indonesia cover is actually nice. It pictures a girl inside an hourglass, with flowing sand, fit the lethal condition of the story very well. But still I think the english cover is prettier, pictures a girl with gorgeous dress, wavy blonde hair, with a bird in a cage, symbolizing Rhine's condition.

If you can stand any eerie, creepy, scary, bloody yet mesmerizing reading, this book is highly recommended and worth reading. And i'm sorry if I sound too exaggerating because yeah, 'Whiter' is too awesome like that :D
Solid 5 star for Wither!


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