Description: 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?
Review: Expectations really affect how I perceive a book. High expectations can help or hurt, but lower expectations actually give a book more of a chance. That’s what happened in the case of this book. I’d heard a lot of mixed things about the Chemical Garden trilogy, but the bad often outweighed the good. So going into this book I had really low expectations so it was surprising when I saw a lot of thing about it I actually liked.
First off, I really like the premise of this book. There’s a solid base behind the story and a lot of potential. Unfortunately this book doesn’t do a lot with that potential but I can chalk that up to it being the first in a trilogy. It also has a really good atmosphere and setting, enough to give it a good start even when the characters bore me to death.
Sadly, that’s my biggest complaint, holy cow the characters are boring. Though I like him, Linden doesn’t have a lot of substance so I can’t understand why any of the characters would fall for him. Likewise, Rhine is pretty one dimensional herself. She wants to get back to her brother, end of motivation. I was hoping for a character I can relate to, not a blank slate I can slip into. I just needed a bit more from her. Cecily I can hardly stand, and yet I know I’m supposed to eventually like her. Why? I’m given no reason to. She’s a spoiled, attention seeking brat. Jenna and Linden’s father are really the only two characters who intrigue me: one because he’s a diabolical villain and the other because she’s actually complex.
Still, this book had enough going for it that I actually found myself enjoying the story. I read it in a few hours and the low expectations turned out to be a blessing. I wasn’t expecting amazing and I didn’t get it but I wasn’t expecting to be entertained either, which I was. As for the rest of the trilogy? That’s a different story entirely.
What do you think of Wither? Share in the comments.