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Wither is the first book in The Chemical Garden trilogy, about a society that has perfected human genes, but when the so-called “First Generation” begin to have children, those children only reach the age of twenty (if they are a girl) or twenty-five (if they are a boy) when they become ill with the “virus” and die.

Because life expectancy has been dramatically reduced, women are kidnapped off the street or are sold to become wives, and subsequently concubines, of rich men. These men often take on three or more women for wives. The babies created from these unions are then either experimented on to find out why people are dying so young or are given drugs to keep them alive as long as possible.

The story focuses on Rhine (sixteen years old), who is kidnapped off the streets of New York City. Her, along with two other women, are forced to become the wives of a man named Linden, who lives in Florida.

Rhine doesn’t accept her fate and from the very beginning tries to find a way to escape. But before she does escape, she must survive the situation she is in. One thing I liked about this book was that is it touched on the idea of “sister wives,” as in polygamist cultures. These women often give each other support, and this is especially true in this story. The other sister wives, Jenna (eighteen years old) and Cecily (thirteen years old), help each other get through this awful situation of being forced to be a wife and then give birth, only to die at the age of twenty.

I also really like the different relationship dynamics in this book – Jenna is the tough one who uses sex with Linden to make her situation better; Cecily is so young she thinks that this is normal and therefore, is the only one to give birth despite her young age; and Rhine who is strong and stubborn and only wants to see her twin brother before she dies.

This book definitely got me thinking – imagine that all of the people born into society already have a life sentence on their head? That you know you will only live for so long? I couldn’t imagine having that hanging over me my entire (short) life.

Of course this is the only first book in a trilogy, so of course there might be more to the story. The second book was just published in February. Last time we saw Rhine, she escaped the mansion that Linden was holding her in with one of the servants, Gabriel. I’m looking forward to reading what happens next (and plus, the covers for these books are amazing!).

If you liked Divergent or Delirium, you’ll definitely enjoy this book!

Rating:

{  } Pretty bad
{  } Tolerable
{  } All right
{x} Exciting
{  } Enthralling

Book 16 out of 60