Wither (The Chemical Garden #1)
Publication: 22nd March 2011
Publisher: Simon And Schuster Books
Age Appropriate: Young Adult
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?Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?
What first drew me to this book was the cover it's gorgeous and I congratulate whoever came up with it, it's beautiful and after reading the book I understand the bird in the cage which is on the front cover.
I was a bit weary at first of reading this book, polygamous marriages don't really do it for me and the fact that Rhine was forced into it didn't exactly want to make me rush out a procure a copy straight away, so I did buy it and it sat on my bookshelf for a very long time before I decided to give it a go after reading quite a lot of positive reviews, and you know what? I absolutely loved it!
Rhine and her twin brother Rohan live in a world where females die at the age of twenty and males at twenty-five after the cure for cancer was discovered and then messed up the life span expectancy of the generations born after them, so that is why polygamous marriages are happening (even the President has nine wives), Rhine is taken by a group of Gatherer's who's job it is to find young girls to be sold to the highest bidder (those girls not chosen either get sold into prostitution or killed), Rhine gets taken and is sold with two other girls to Linden Ashby a rich man who wants to replace his one and only dying wife with them.
When they arrive they are locked in their rooms, Rhine finds her door unlocked one day and finds her way to Linden's dying wife Rose's bedroom and she notices how alike they look and they become friends until she ultimately dies.
Linden marries Rhine and the two other girls Jenna and Cecily who is only too eager to consummate the marriage the only problem with this? Linden is twenty-one and Cecily only thirteen I had a lot of trouble with that especially when she ends up pregnant soon after that, Rhine manages in the year she's there to never consummate the marriage which I also find unbelievable as her being there to procreate was the reason of being taken in the first place.
Rhine takes a shine to one of the servants Gabriel who's job it is to bring Rhine her meals and they soon both fall for each other and she tells him her plans of escape and how she wants him to go with her.
Of course every story has to have an evil person in it and that role belongs to Linden's father Vaughn a doctor who has a lab down in the basement where he likes to experiment and dissect dead people including Rose, of course all of this is unknown to Linden who is under control of his father and does whatever he says.
It's about Rhine's desperate struggle to escape and reunite with her brother that's the main part of the storyline while outwitting the cunning Vaughn who seems to know her every move.
This is one of my favourite books so far this year, I can't say enough good things about it, so I'm now off to see what the sequel will bring hopefully a happier storyline.
I give this 5/5.