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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Book Review

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #1) - Lauren DeStefano

Bookshelves: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Series

Rating: 3 of 5 stars (It was okay)

Recommended Age: 17+ 
     There is a lot of sex in this book, not explicit sex but teen pregnancy, polygamy marriages (where the 13yo wife is much younger than the husband).  There is some disturbing death scenes by a nasty virus and a very bloody labor and delivery.  There's some language and some drinking. Not really any positive influences for these teens. 

I am honestly torn between a 2 and a 3 for this book.  I just don't know how I feel.  Here's what I do know.
We start Wither through the eyes of 16yo Rhine who is kidnapped and picked to be a polygamist bride.  This grabs me, something new I haven't read before.

But all the background stuff is really distracting.  I don't see the reasoning behind it.  If all these people are dying so very young and they want to keep repopulating the world, wouldn't the girls have all the power?  Why are they being turned out as prostitutes and murdered when every birth is so important?  Only North America is left, and yet people are bombing hospitals and science labs?  Is this really how Americans are going to act when the rest of the world is gone?  If so, ship me to another continent.  Throughout the whole thing there is no mention of government anywhere.  What happened to the government?  If all the old generation people are still around, wouldn't they want some form of control and a plan to find a way out of this mess instead of just letting the rich guys knock up a bunch of kids?  And all these "old generation" people.  They are ok with teen pregnancies and all these orphans?  They watched their kids die and all these poor grandkids are running around to fend for themselves?  The science in this science fiction book doesn't really work.  If it's a world created by the author's imagination, that's one thing.  But I have a hard time believing all the contradicting scientific aspects of the current world we live in and the supposed ice caps melting and annihilation of complete continents but still using a card catalog in a library and snow storms in florida?
Plot wise the book was decent.  I really had a hard time connecting with the protag.  I feel like she was supposed to be written as such a sensitive person but the way she talks about the orphans doesn't show much sensitivity.  I liked Jenna and Gabriel much better than the other characters.  What really struck me is when she finds that Linden doesn't know the truth about the circumstances (can someone really be that naive?) she doesn't find it necessary to tell him.  I felt like a lot was written just to feed the plot without actually making sense or flowing with the characters or other events.  The evil in this book disgusted me and yet I can't understand why he was even there?  If he's the only evil one in that mansion full of how many people, why in the world did they not just tie up the old man and do what they wanted?  The baby stuff of it all made me sad.  Considering my current state of pregnancy, probably not the best pick for right now.
I just don't know.  The plot fueled me, I think DeStefano is a great story teller, but the background of it all was so distracting.  I think if the rest made sense I would have loved this story.  I kept asking myself, "Huh? But why?"  I liked how the ending was more upbeat than the majority of the depressing book; however I want to know more about what happens to the others.  Perhaps we find out more in the next book.  I will probably continue but with caution and focus only on the plot.    

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