Monday, February 6, 2012

Wither, by Lauren DeStefano- Review

You'll remember back in late August and early September I was holding vigil for my Grandma in a hospital in Saskatchewan and looking for "lightish"or "encompassing" reads to make it through the many long hours of beeping machines and fluorescent lighting while she made her way out of this world.  I dragged my mom to the Indigo near her house and bought Wither, The Duff, Lock and Key, and Dust and Decay.  Weird mix I know, but it worked.  My mom quickly claimed Wither and so it happened to be the only one of the three books I didn't read while I was visiting (I'd brought four books with me too).

As these things happen, it got put into my towering To-Be-Read pile when I got home and it took me until last week to get to it.  More amusing still was how two months ago I got a much coveted ARC to Fever, and since I couldn't review it until February and hadn't read Wither yet, I sent it to Saskatchewan first so my mom could get her fix.

From Goodreads:
Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Genetic mutations have festered, reducing human longevity to twenty-five, even less for most women. To prevent extinction, young girls are kidnapped, mated in polygamous marriages with men eager to procreate. Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery, a recent victim of this breeding farm mentality, has vowed to break loose from its fetters; but finding allies and a safe way out is a challenge she can only hope she will survive.

I'm a big dystopian fan but find that it can go wrong in so many ways.  It seems there has to be a fine balance between the characters and the mysteries and reveals of the world to keep me happy in this Genre. So many of the dystopians out there seem to get to carried away with love stories and such, and they loose my interest.  The hubby is fond of saying I'm pretty blood thirsty when it comes to my reading, and it's true, I love a good fight against the powers that be.  So it stands to reason that I prefer dystopians with a solid bad guy or even better yet a whole force of bad guys.

Wither has a fantastic bad guy, an evil genius doctor conducting all sorts of gruesome experiments.  But even better yet it lays the ground work for a whole society of bad guys.  Creepy first generations who have outlived so many of the following generations that they've become jaded and often cruel in their uses of them.  I loved how DeStefano built her world, it was subtle but very effective.  In the first couple of pages a van full of girls are killed so the stakes are high right from the get go, but Rhine is quickly plopped into the lap of luxury as one of four sister wives to a rich House Governor.  It has all the hallmarks of a classic horror story where everything is frilly and fine on the surface with the creepies lurking along all the edges and in all the dark corners.

Rhine, her fellow sister wives and their husband Linden were a great mix of characters too.  I loved the mysteries surrounding each of them, where they came from and what their histories were.  And I LOVED Linden's innocence to the horrors surrounding him, I spent the whole book dying for someone to let him in on it. DYING.  His relationship with Rhine was especially fascinating, I found it more intriguing then her relationship with Gabriel, since it was fraught with things unknown and unsaid.

Unfortunately this led me to worry fairly seriously about the sequel.  No Spoilers!! But I found that Gabriel never developed into a very interesting character throughout Wither (to me), but more of a plot mover than anything else.  So I was crossing fingers and toes that Fever didn't rely to heavily on him, unless there was going to be some developments or reveals.

A great dystopian with some really strong horror story leanings, some intriguing characters and lots of mysteries to still be delved into, I was eager to see where Fever was going to take the story.

Wither (part one of the Chemical Garden Trilogy), by Lauren DeStefano
Published by Simon and Schuster,  March 2011
Buy Wither on Amazon

Read an excerpt
Dying for Fever?  Buy the Seeds of Wither an epreview of Wither, Fever and a short story about Rose

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