Author: Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Chemical Garden #1
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Tagline: 'What if you knew exactly when you would die?'
"A botched attempt to create the perfect human race means that men die at 25, and women die at 20. Young girls are being abducted and forced into polygamous marriages in a desperate bid to keep humanity ahead of the disease that threatens to eradicate it.
When Rhine is kidnapped, she is sold as a bride to Linden, a rich young man with a dying wife. Even though he is kind to her, Rhine is desperate to escape her gilded cage - and Linden's cruel father. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in what little time she has left."
Well. Did I like Wither? YES. Did I love Wither? Ummm...sadly, no.
I think the problem was that, for some reason - and I really don't know why - I just didn't really connect with the characters or the story. I think, if only I had been drawn in to the world and characters of Wither more, then I probably would have loved it instead of just liking it. Instead, though, I felt a little detached from the story throughout and, therefore, it didn't really evoke much of the emotion in me that I feel it should have.
For example, the romance between Rhine and Gabriel. They fell in love but I never really felt it. Sure, I could see the possibility of romance in the early days when Rhine first met Gabriel but I don't think it developed very well - it seemed to jump straight from bud (at the beginning of the book) to full flower (at the end) without ever really blossoming in between. Gabriel always felt more like Rhine's friend to me; the few stolen kisses they shared didn't really change that.
Surprisingly, the character I felt I sympathised with most was Linden. Despite the fact that Rhine could never forgive him for being the reason behind her abduction, I liked Linden. He seemed a truly sweet character and you could tell he honestly loved Rhine. He himself was oblivious to the doings of his father, the only character who really was not very nice, and so was almost as much as a prisoner in his own beautiful, 'perfect' life as Rhine was.
Nevertheless, despite my lack of connection with Wither, it really was a very beautifully-written story. The writing was just as beautiful as I imagine Linden's mansion would have been. The storyline was good and perhaps next time I read it (and I do intend to read it again) I will savour the story more slowly and find myself drawn into it more, and then I will love it.