Author: Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Chemical Garden #1
Published: March 2011
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?
This book review contains spoilers!
It wasn’t amazing but it was still good. The idea of people dying at 20/25 and girls being kidnapped and bought as wives is original. I don’t really get the point behind the dying age, it’s still a bit vague to me. Maybe it’s because I missed something and if not, I hope we learn more about it in Fever. I particularly have a problem understanding WHY they would want to create a generation that dies so quickly. I also didn’t really like the world they live in. Every continent has flooded but only America didn’t… okay then.
You might not like the fact that there is a sort of love triangle going on here but since pretty much every YA book has at least one these days I think we all grew used to it. I like both Linden and Gabriel. I feel bad for Linden though, because he’s being lied to and used by Rhine. I actually hoped she would tell him the truth at some point and he would turn against his father because that would have been exciting. It would put some action into the whole story. Linden just seems like a good person who’s being treated badly and it bothers me. Gabriel on the other hand is a bit dull, he doesn’t seem to be very special and I don’t see why Rhine would fall for him, they don’t make the right couple. I hope something real will happen between Rhine and Gabriel in Fever because now they just look like good friends (to me). It also seemed like Rhine was pushing Gabriel to do something he didn’t fully want. Rhine wanted to get out so desperately, Gabriel didn’t.
What is up with Housemaster Vaughn? He’s just weird and mysterious and it bugs me that he lies to his son like this. And what he does to the dead wives is just morbid and wrong. He also manipulates Cecily, who’s only 13/14. By the way: the idea of a 13 year old being pregnant might be disturbing to some people. I didn’t have a problem with it though. I didn’t see the twist with Cecily coming but I also wasn’t surprised.
The story was exciting, it was thrilling and it made me crave more. I would have changed things though. For instance, the escape went too smoothly. Nothing happened, it’s like Vaughn opened the gates himself and waved them goodbye. I expected some action there. I also wanted to know how Jenna knew all about the basement and why she was so afraid of Housemaster Vaughn.
Wither is very good but just not ‘it’.