Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Format: Hardcover , 368pp
Age Range: Young Adult
Series: Chemical Garden Trilogy Series , #1
Source: Publisher (ARC)
By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.
When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?
Every action has a reaction and WITHER delves deep into the consequences of creating a perfect world. Disturbingly beautiful in her writing, Stefano takes readers into a world full of atrocities, where time is of the essence for humanity. From the moment Rhine was introduced, I knew this book was going to be something special.
Rhine is one of a kind and it took every ounce of courage to go through what she had to endure. When there’s nowhere to run and time is ticking away, what do you do? Rhine has to put on the show of her life to get her freedom. When manipulation and deceit comes into play, I sympathized with Rhine about who to trust and her feelings for her captors. Stefano’s writing pulled me into the down spiral of society and managed to capture the fundamental nature of what one will do to survive at all costs.
Words fail me when expressing the complexities of this novel. I'll just throw what comes into mind...Disturbing, Beautiful, Powerful, and Atrocious. You wouldn't think these should be tied together but Lauren weaved Rhine's story into a work of art.
This book took me on a ride and I had no idea how I would feel after I exited. Some of the issues involved in this book are happening today in some countries. It’s twisted but it shed light on so many things going on in society. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Read an excerpt of WITHER here