Wither (Chemical Garden)

Wither (Chemical Garden) - Lauren DeStefano The first thing i noticed about this book is the cover (lol, oh gosh that's such a stupidly obvious statement). It's so pretty. Like, I kept closing the book and looking at the cover because it's so captivating and perfect. Now, in my experience, when a book has a cover like this that means that it has a lot of expectation to live up to, and, well, a lot of times the books don't live up to their fantastic covers. I was so pleasantly surprised when from the very first pages i was greeted with a story that was captivating.Another thing that made me suspect whether i would enjoy this right off was the content. I'm not a huge fan on plotlines that deal with fertility and marriage and things like that. So, i was a little unsure when i saw the words 'sister wives.' Thankfully though, this book blew away any doubts i may have had about it on sole basis of the synopsis. Even from the very beginning my first thought was how pretty this book was. The setting was pretty and the characters were pretty and the writing was just pretty. It was flowery without being wordy and too much (if that makes any sense AT ALL). The story is set in a future where every generation dies when the women hit age twenty and the men hit twenty five. There is one generation, the first generation they're called, who were not born with this defect and thus are scrambling for a way to fix this deadly defect in the younger generations. To do that, girls are kidnapped off the streets to be wives for rich men. Their aim to find a cure for the 'ailment' through their children. I admit it, i was a little put off when the idea of sister wives came in and Rhine was married by the third chapter.The story won me over with it's progression, however. Rhine is determined to escape and return to her twin brother, no matter what. Even when the mansion is at it's most alluring and Rhine even suspects that she has fallen in love with her husband Linden, she still wants freedom. Over all she will do anything for freedom. I appreciated how that was always at the forefront of her mind, that she didn't let herself forget. Because it would have been quite easy for half the book to have Rhine 'planning' her escape but because she wasn't thinking about it, it would seem like she was merely resigning to her fate. (This book is in first person, so i must say i did end up liking Rhine and thinking that she had a distinct personality.) Another thing i appreciated was that each of the three wives were so very distinctly different. Rhine was the one who aspired to be the 'favourite wife' simply so that she could better plan her escape. Jenna was the eldest and closest to her final years. She hated Linden and his father so much that she became the resigned wife, the one that never grew attached or close to their husband. Cecily was the youngest wife, a fiery, short tempered orphan who's dreams came true with this marriage. I ended up liking all three of the girls by the end, because they were all so very distinctly characterised. What struck me the most, though, was Rhine's progression as a character throughout the book. At the beginning, her narration sounded like the narration from a scared sixteen year old girl who was just kidnapped and about to be married to a stranger. By the end her narration sounded like a mature young woman who had been held captive and learned to deal with it and find her escape and freedom. She matured as a character so beautifully, and well, especially for a short YA novel that i devoured in one day. The world and setting left me fascinated and wanting more, especially as we only saw a very small glimpse of it through Linden's mansion. The writing was lovely and enjoyed every minute of it.