When scientists engineered genetically perfect children, everyone thought it would ensure the future of the human race. Though the first generation is nearly immortal, a virus causes all successive generations to die early: age 20 for women, 25 for men. Now, girls are kidnapped for brothels or polygamous marriages to breed children. Rhine is taken from her hardscrabble life and sold with two other girls to Linden Ashby. Though they live in a palatial Florida home surrounded by gardens and treated like royalty, the girls are sequestered from the outside world, and Rhine longs to escape. Her growing affection for her sister wives, her pity for Linden, and her fear of Housemaster Vaughn, Linden's manipulative father, keep her uncomfortably docile, until she falls for servant Gabriel. This character-driven dystopia, more thoughtful than thrilling, sets up an arresting premise that succeeds because of Rhine's poignant, conflicted narrative and DeStefano's evocative prose. Many will appreciate the intense character drama; however, the world building is underdeveloped, with holes in internal logic.Still, this first title in the Chemical Garden Trilogy will surely be popular. --Krista Hutley
Wither is one of the most unique futuristic books I have read in a long time. The author does a wonderful job showing the emotional ups and downs that Rhine has to endure while she desperately tries to find a way out of the mansion that is holding her captive.
Even without much information about the character at the beginning of the book I felt like you learned her entire past in the book, including her family, her brother Rowen and how she came to be taken as a wife.
The description in this book is amazing, I could literally see the house she was living in, from the bedrooms the wives occupied, to the library where they spent much of their time.