Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Imagine a world in the future where people are perfect:  no more physical flaws or illness.  Then imagine that after the first generation all women die at 20 and all men at 25.  It would make life rather desperate, wouldn't it?

Simon and Schuster shared an eGalley with me so I could review this book.  It will be published in hardcover on March 22, 2011.  This is the first book in The Chemical Garden Trilogy.  It impressed me enough that I will be watching for the next book in the series.

Rhine knows she and her brother have a limited time to live, but she tries to do the best she can to help their household by working.  Their parents are dead and they have to barricade their home from other less fortunate folks who would steal from them.  Or even worse, turn Rhine into a sex slave...

When Rhine goes to apply for a job, she's snagged and thrown in van, then shown to a Lord who is picking women for his son.  Three young girls are chosen, the others are killed.

Rhine and her other two "sisters" are taken to the Lord's mansion where they are readied for marriage.  The son's first wife is ill and nearing the end of her life, despite frantic attempts to keep her alive.  These three women are her replacement and another "first wife" will be picked to replace her.

The plot centers on Rhine, but each character has strengths and weaknesses.  Total strangers at first, the girls become close through necessity.  The son is a weaker version of his father, and he goes to pieces on first wife's death.  But he has plenty of company to console him...

This whole concept sends chills up and down my spine.  Knowing when you will die is hard.  Sharing your husband with two others is hard.  And there is no happy ending for anyone in sight.

The author does an excellent job of creating a world that you may hate, but you can see how it could happen.  The story line draws you in and as you watch the characters interact, you wonder how it's going to turn out.  It didn't turn out the way I expected, but the story's not done yet.

This is the first in a triple series, and I expect the author will keep the same tense pace with even more interesting revelations about the characters and the "future" world.  It's a cross between science fiction and fantasy with a bit of romance to keep you reading.

I highly recommend this book.  It's entertaining, thought-provoking, and will make you hunger for the next in the series.

Happy reading!

1 comment:

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

I'm absolutely dying to read this book. It sounds amazing! Thank you for the great review!