Review: Wither (Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Copy Courtesy of Simon and Schuster via Galley Grab
Release: March 22, 2011

Rhine is sixteen in a world where girls die by the time they are 20 and guys by the time they are 25 from a genetic virus. She has been kidnapped and forced to marry Linden. All she thinks about is how to escape back to her twin brother, but Linden's father is bent on using her for his genetic experiments to save his son before he too succumbs to the virus.

I'm somewhat disappointed because I was pretty excited about this book. The premise is perhaps a bit silly because there aren't any genetic reasons for the numbers 20 for girls and 25 for guys, but the idea of what could happen with a society whose lifespan is severely shortened was novel enough for me.

The description of how the world had turned brutal worked well for me, and I liked how it affected class divisions (rich vs poor). Since Rhine had sisters wives who were also married to Linden, the author was able to give varying perspectives on their situation as well as the world, which I enjoyed although I didn't connect with any of the characters in particular.

While reading, I felt like I was observing the events in the book through a telescope. Things were happening, but they didn't feel important, as if the whole decadent household of Linden was a staged play (especially the ending). I liked the story, but I don't feel an urge to recommend to it to anyone.

Star Rating: 3.0/5.0

For an explanation of the Star Rating go here.

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6 comments: Jump to Comment Form

Thanks for honest review-- I've been excited for this one too, but will turn down expectations a bit.
Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog


Never heard of this book before, but it does look interesting. If I pick it up I will try not to have to high of expectations, but the summary does make it sound very interesting.


I've had such high hopes for this one, I've been seduced by that pretty cover! I'll most likely still read it out of curiosity but will know not to expect it to be my favourite book of the year.


Sorry you were disappointed in this book. I really liked it - a lot more than I expected to. I agree on the different perspectives of the different wives and the division of rich/poor.

(I found you through your interview on Tiger's blog.)


I was pretty disappointed with this one too. I felt a lot of Rhine's problems could have been solved if she had just opened up to Linden and that just left me feeling frustrated.


I felt the same way about Rhine, the book was told from her point of view yet it's so passive that it might as well been done in third person. Also I found Cecily far more interesting (if unlikeable). Definitely not reading the next one.


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