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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not my usual cup of tea
To be honest when I read the book blurb I wasn't blown away, I expected a wishy-washy tale that was part Logan's Run, part Teen angst. What unfurled however was so much better than the blurb led me to believe.

The writing was crisp, the prose outstanding and when added to well-rounded characters (those you'll love and those you'll hate) it really made the...
Published on 1 Aug. 2011 by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 2.5 Paws - Not Sure What I Was Thinking!!
Well a friend suggested I read this book because apparently it was really good - well, if you say so! This is a dystopia-post-apocalyptic style story, where humans created cures for every illness and disease by genetic alterations - however this came with unplanned side effect; all men born after the initial generation given genetic perfection die at the age of 24 and all...
Published 24 months ago by Yuki Fox


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not my usual cup of tea, 1 Aug. 2011
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
To be honest when I read the book blurb I wasn't blown away, I expected a wishy-washy tale that was part Logan's Run, part Teen angst. What unfurled however was so much better than the blurb led me to believe.

The writing was crisp, the prose outstanding and when added to well-rounded characters (those you'll love and those you'll hate) it really made the whole tale sing. It's cleverly written, the script wonderfully woven and when backed with a unique perspective it really made this a book to remember.

Finally add to this a lead character that the Teen market will be able to associate with as well as adults; it makes this a book that you really can't put down. Great stuff and I'll definitely be glued for other titles in this series.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Twistsed, 2 May 2012
This review is from: Wither (The Chemical Garden, Book 1) (Paperback)
Length:: 3:58 Mins

I loved this book, it was a very slow book, much more character driven than plot driven but I thought it was perfect in doing so. The relationships between the characters were all so brilliantly complicated.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars well this was different, 26 Sept. 2011
By 
carly (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
Well this was different, loved the interesting story line! Very crisp & to the point writing & either love them or hate them characters! The main character is a very mature 16 year old Rhine Ellery and I just loved her! I got so wrapped up in the world that the end of the book came very quickly!Some parts are very strange to say the least but I think added to the appeal of the book! An interesting an easy read & I am looking forward to reading the next instalment FEVER out 2012! :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 2.5 Paws - Not Sure What I Was Thinking!!, 31 May 2013
Well a friend suggested I read this book because apparently it was really good - well, if you say so! This is a dystopia-post-apocalyptic style story, where humans created cures for every illness and disease by genetic alterations - however this came with unplanned side effect; all men born after the initial generation given genetic perfection die at the age of 24 and all women die at the age of 20. Thus a world is created where the rich pay to have `Gatherer's' steal young women, so they can forced to marry and have children. This is where the story starts and how we end up following the so-called life of Rhine, the protagonist.

First off let me say, when I read the blurb I thought `Hey this isn't going to be too bad.' And when I read the first page, it wasn't - Boy was I wrong *sighs*. The book starts by introducing the main character Rhine, who, as I went through the book, started to really get on my nerves. My God, could she be any more of a whiny little brat? She has the mind set that she's really the only one that's in pain - so self centered; with the thinking that the so-called glass if half empty all the damn time, blah blah blah! Urg, it was so-o irritating. I mean all she hates being married to someone she doesn't love and what does she do .... string the guy along and pretend - supposedly waiting for the perfect moment to escape - yeah whatever! But most of the time she just sits back and sulks to herself - her personality is way to 2D for my liking - GOD get a backbone woman, grow some damn balls!!!! *Rages*

Then you have Linden - yes that is his name - the guy that Rhine and two other women (Cecily & Jenna) are forced to marry. He's got the personality of a wet fish - his father (Vaughn) has a stronger character than him and he's not really one of the main characters. You get more sense of kinship and connection with the bloody servants in the house than this guy! *face palms* I'm surprised that his father doesn't drug and lie with his brides and impregnate them that way - he feels like he's gay and doing everything he can to show he's not, especially to his dad!

I tell you what I did like - the flow and the imagery ... most of the time. A couple of times it felt like the wrong imagery was being used and at the most inappropriate time. Also what is the fascination with flowers and flower scents and imagery during the first part of the book, after she gets married to most of the middle of the novel. Talk about over doing it. One other thing - do I really need to know that `all males die at the age of 25 and all women die at the age of 20′ about 5 times in the first 3 chapters - hello, I get it, I'm not an idiot. *rolls eyes* I think it's something simple that I can remember. It keeps getting brought up a lot when it doesn't need to be - it's only essential a few times during the novel.

I'd tell you about the other characters but I wouldn't want to spoil the whole thing - I have to admit the novel was well written but to be honest I don't see myself reading the others in this series - I have better things to read. The pace seemed to flow well enough but there was too much `thinking' episodes of mopy, sulky, oh woe is me moments, which is a little boring and samey. *sigh* I would say the story is original but I've read books with similar plots, however I have to say they weren't so elegantly written. *thumbs up*

Okay this may sound like I'm ripping the book to pieces and I can see where you might be getting that idea, but apart from the non-dimension of the characters and the nagging, whiny annoyance of some characters *coughs* Rhine *coughs* and that's the reason for the rating but other than that it's an okay novel, if you want to read something fairly simple.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing dystopian novel with so many layers, 6 April 2015
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This review is from: Wither (The Chemical Garden, Book 1) (Paperback)
Wither is the first book in The Chemical Garden Series and is my new obsession. Although Wither came out in 2011, it has only just found it's way onto my bookshelf and I'm so annoyed I didn't pick it up sooner.

Rhine is a sixteen-year-old girl living in a world where a brutal virus kills girls at age twenty, and boys at age twenty-five. Geneticists are experimenting with possible cures to restore the human population and the need to reproduce is a vital importance to every young child. The book begins with Rhine being kidnapped and sold to a man who will make her his wife and potentially have her bear his children, alongside two other girls - one as young as thirteen. The story develops around these three girls, their husband Linden and their lives within his luxurious mansion.

This story was one that had me loving the plot but hating the events at the same time. DeStefano's writing had me imagining a world in which this would happen and to see the way the girls were expected to behave made me feel sick. Whilst it was a dystopian world I would hate to live in, I was fascinated to read about it and I wanted to know more. The girls were stuck between living a life of luxury, getting to know the man they thought they hated and reminding themselves how they got to be where they are now - the confusion in Rhine's mind was so realistic, as a reader I really got to understand how she was feeling the way she was, through DeStefano's amazing writing style. Whilst I sped through this book, I wouldn't particularly say that it was fast-paced. It isn't an action-packed book with twists and turns, but it still had me hooked as though it was. The focus is mainly on the girls and their relationships with one another, their husband and the other characters within the mansion - and it was fascinating to read about. I would definitely recommend that you start this series - Wither has definitely been added to my favourite books of all time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cure for Cancer becomes the Curse for Mankind., 8 Aug. 2012
By 
Amazon Customer (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
In a world, once like our own, scientists have found the cure for cancer. The cure for the common cold. The cure for infectious diseases. Man triumphs against what once was its biggest killer. Or so they thought. The generation of people subjected to the virus which acts as the cure, who took the cure now live long and fruitful lives and are surviving perfectly well. But the second generation, their children, are falling ill. Scientists have now discovered that their miraculous cure is infact a killer. It has caused seemingly irreparable damage in the form of genetic mutations. Now, women die at the age of 20 and men at the age of 25. This means that, aside from the first generation, the human race faces rapid extinction.

We are thrust straight into darkness as the novel begins and introduced to Rhine, our sixteen year old leading lady. Rhine is a fantastic character, she was headstrong at times which was lovely. Rhine has been taken by the Gatherers. A group of people who collect females between the age of 13 and 20 to be sold to the highest male bidder. Those that are deemed of acceptable appearance will swiftly become wives and will be transported into the life of the wealthy. Those that are not however, are killed. Rhine, in some ways, is lucky to be chosen and to still be alive. Men are able to buy up to seven wives, "one for each day of the week" we are told, but Linden (Rhine's captor) chooses only three. However marriage is not all that the men expect. The girls that are taken are expected to bear children for their captors to preserve the human race whilst first generations search for an antidote.

Linden is an equally good character, although I didn't feel I fully understood him even by the end of the story. The remaining two wives, and Linden's dying "first wife" (the wife deemed his favourite) Rose, are of varying age and have very interesting personalities so they each hold their own in my opinion - although Cecily, the youngest, really is quite an annoying character. I think it's important to point out here that the girls being taken can still be children. One of Linden's wives only turns fourteen as the story progresses. These children are still expected to consummate their marriages. For those of you looking to buy this as a gift that might be something worth considering. I actually found that to be quite disturbing, although this is never described explicity in detail.

The story hinges upon Rhine's determination to escape from her husband and sister wives to return back to her twin brother. But escape is not easy when you are prisoner to a house surrounded by gates. The thing I liked most about this story was that it's hugely different to anything else I've ever read. Rhine's internal debates between whether she feels anything for Linden, whether she wants to leave and how she might do it were brilliant and really made the story seem real to me. Gabriel, Rhine's unobtrusive servant, plays a huge role as Rhine's potential love interest but also as a means for escape. He is by far the most interesting character to me and I'd have liked to have heard more about him and his backstory.

Overall, I can't recommend this book enough. The concept in itself should sell the story. I admit I was put off by the age of some of the girls and the expectations of them but other than that I absolutely loved the world Destefano created. She writes beautifully and I'm extremely excited to see what "Fever" the second in the trilogy has to offer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking., 26 July 2012
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This review is from: Wither (The Chemical Garden, Book 1) (Paperback)
I've been wanting to read this book for a while, and i have to admit that it was the reviews that prevented me from reading it. I won the first two books in a giveaway and they'd been sitting on my shelf for a while and i finally decided to pick it up. From the reviews I'd learnt that you will either love or hate this book. I'm a huge fan of dystopian fiction so i thought I'd like this. Another thing that stopped me from reading this was because of the very small amount of people who compared this to The Handmaids Tale. I know most teen readers haven't read the Handmaids Tale so this won't bother them. I read it in the past year and i loved the harsh reality of it all and i didn't want to read something that ripped that off. Alas when i began this book i fell straight into it. Although there are some similarities to the Handmaids Tale, Wither is a freshly intriguing novel all on it's own. I absolutely loved it. The voice and prose flowed nicely, letting the reader ride the tide of emotions. It was one heck of a great book, I can't really fault it. It was so nicely packed, there was no useless information in there, that it has the rare ability to call it self a perfectly structured novel. Everything we learn in the books has it's use, that reader is drawn in constantly. Not once was i left bored or putting the book down for a break. It was simply perfect. If you have any doubts about this novel, i urge you to give it a chance and allow it to blow you away.

In Wither we join Rhine as she's been kidnapped and is specifically chosen by a wealthy man called Linden to be one of his three brides. We are introduced to a world where, every human is a ticking time bomb. Women die at twenty and men at twenty five. Rhine is swept from poverty to luxury but she will never forget how she's left her twin behind and she promises her self she will return to him. Meanwhile while acting like the perfect wife, Rhine realises that things inside the mansion aren't as perfect as they seem. There are even cracks inside a perfect family. Rhine joins her sister wives, Jenna and Cecily as they try to figured out their new husband and his overbearing father. Rhine plays the perfect wife but inside she's dying to have her freedom back and she will stop at nothing to get it.

Hmm, how to describe Rhine's character. She's smart and tough but under that all she's vulnerable. She's in pain for her twin brother who she was taken from. She scared of the new world she's stepped into. Her only aim is to reach freedom once again. This aim drags her forward through all the heartbreaking and disturbing things she's faced with in this book. She's so vulnerable underneath and so human. She's got so many different emotions flying around she's confused. She's so real.

Linden is the husband of Rhine. He's frail but underneath he has so much emotion, that he doesn't let shine through. He has so much responsibility chucked on him that he crumbles in the shadows. Rhine and the reader see this vulnerability and he's not the evil character we first think. Jenna is one of Rhine's sister wives, She quiet and observant and also is suffering but she will live her last year in peace and luxury. Cecily is the youngest bride and she's only a child still, at first she was so annoying but then something happens and responsibility hits her hard and without her sisters to help her through she would have probably broke down. The bond that grew between the sisters was remarkably, it started from nothing to building to a bond that was unbreakable, no matter what they went through. Gabriel, oh i loved him from the beginning. He's an orphan who was taken into the household to be a servant, and he's never had a taste of freedom. He's intelligent and cute, Rhine sees this in him and soon they fall for each other. The link between these two was also greatly done.

I think I've rambled enough about how much i love this book. I only hope I've done this book justice. Wither is a truly breathtaking debut novel, that pulls the reader inside and doesn't stop to let them look back. The world was well described and so different to what i was expecting, the haunting reality will hit you hard and see that it isn't as impossible as it seems. Lauren DeStefano is a very talented writer who had one of the best new voices I've come across. I'm definitely going to check out the rest of this series!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bravely told story, 25 April 2012
This book has been on my TBR pile for a fair while and then I received the sequel Fever in the post from the lovely people at Harper Collins so I thought 'Geez I better read the first one pretty sharpish!' I was majority sold on the idea behind this story and its plot; when a generation dies in their early 20s and there seems to be no cure for the illness they succumb to then what happens in a world where girls are traded as young brides against their will and the only future is death at a young age. Rhine lived with her twin brother in New York in a future where the world has crumbed around them and she is just seen as a potential object to be kidnapped and sold to the highest bidder as a wife or slave. Those not bought are killed like excess stock. Rhine is whipped away from her home and finds herself sold off as a bride to a young man, Linden, along with 2 other girls. This not a strange thing and they are known as 'sister wives'. They have to share the husband and the home and all they want to do is to either be a good wife or to escape.

While trapped in this life Rhine finds herself trying to plan to escape and return to her brother and also drawn to Gabriel, a servant in the house who has a bound with her and yet any betrayal of her marriage to Linden could result in severe punishment or death at the hands of Linden's over baring father hell bent on find a cure to save his son's life. Your heart really goes out for each of the sister wives as they have all been thrown into this awful life and expected to fulfil their 'wifely duties' with no questions asked. On the flip side my heart broke for Linden who was married to his childhood love and she has been taken by the illness and it seems like he doesn't understand just how his brides came to be his. He believes they have been 'trained' to be wives and volunteered for this life but nothing could be further from the truth.

It's a slow building story that has some fast paced emotions bouncing around this confined space of a house and your emotions really bounce around with them. The 3 wives are really strong and individual characters that they make this book a bit different from the average dystopian. They are all individual characters thrown into one story and even though its told from Rhine's point of view its a story about the people in the house as well as Rhine's journey there.

It might not be an easy read for some because the story doesn't shy away from issues like sex, death and child bearing and in a way it made me like the book more because if it glossed over the issues it was trying to confront it wouldn't have made it's point at all. This book for me was about that need for freedom both in spirit and life. These characters in the house have all been trapped in one way or another; physically, mentally and emotional and together they break free and find out who they really are, who they used to be and who they want to be in the future even if that isn't long.

A bravely told story that left me wondering where it could go next so I'm glad Harper Collins sent me book two so the wait to find out won't be long
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of My Favourite Dystopians Out There, 26 Aug. 2011
Sixteen-year-old Rhine is stolen from her home and sold to the highest bidder. She is married to Linden, an ignorant twenty-one-year-old, whose father is trying to find a cure for the virus that has infected mankind, causing them to die young. Rhine only has four years left. And she does not intend to spend them here, in this luxurious prison. But how can she escape? And what will she be forced to leave behind if she does manage to get out?
I was trying to explain this to my friend, who thought it looked absolutely horrible. The only way I could was to say that, yes, it is not a nice world, but the book itself is beautiful, life-affirming. Horribly beautiful. And it was. I was addicted, unable to stop reading. I loved Lauren DeStefano's writing, characters, world and plot. Everything was just so new and amazing - how many dystopias have the humans dying young rather than living for decades past our lifetime?
Rhine was a wonderful character. She was so strong, never even thinking about giving up, not even once. Though it may have been easier to stay in her pretty prison, she knew she had to get out. And I could feel the bond between her and her twin brother, Rowan, even though I never actually `met' him. She was just so amazing: serious and brave. I loved her, her spirit, her kindness. Such a wonderful, wonderful character, who I can't wait to see evolve in book two.
Her first sister-wife, Jenna, was just as amazing. Calm, sweet, quiet Jenna, who hated being trapped just as much as Rhine did, escaping into her romance novels. I fell in love with her: she would do anything for her sister-wife, and vice-versa. The third sister-wife is Cecily. I found her annoying at first: an immature, silly little girl. But then I got to know her. She grew up in an orphanage, with nothing, and to her being Linden's wife was a dream-come-true. She was just such a sweetie, innocent and fragile. I loved her too, and hated that she had to mature so very fast.
The husband, Linden, was just as innocent. He had no clue what his father was up to, no idea what it had cost his wives when they were taken. In his own way, he was just as much of a prisoner as Rhine was. He cared for his wives, Rhine in particular. He wasn't a bad person: in fact, he was a sweetheart.
His father, on the other hand, was evil. He made my skin crawl: I hated the man, and everything he stood for. He lied constantly, and experimented on his own grandson. Once again: pure.evil.
Finally, Gabriel, the other love-interest and the wives' attendant. He was sweet, though he wasn't in it all that much. Somehow the relationship between him and Rhine wasn't as real as I would have hoped... Oddly enough, in this love-triangle, I'm leaning towards the `baddie', towards Linden...
What made this book truly special was the sister-wives' bond. They were so close, and the sisterhood between them felt real. It was simply beautiful. As for the relationship between Rhine and Linden, to begin with, it was fake. But, Linden honestly loved Rhine, and she loved him, though she wouldn't admit that to herself. He took care of her, and she took care of him. There were times when I honestly couldn't predict the ending, couldn't figure out how it would end...
And, at one point, I was choking up with tears. It was the story, yes, but more it was the world. It was horrible. I hated even an imagined world like it. All of this suffering caused by us humans: the real life monsters. The message: how far should we be willing to go to make ourselves immune to diseases? How far, when we don't know what the consequences may be? What if, by our science, we make a world like this, where children grow up without parents, people have babies at thirteen, girls are forced into marriage - what then?
More importantly, it taught me that life is short. But it could be shorter, could be
worse. Don't waste your life.
I laughed, I cried, I smiled; I was terrified, shocked, horrified. It was amazing: a roller coaster of emotions and thoughts. I adored Wither: I was addicted, unable to put it down. It's now one of my favourite dystopias, which is saying something, seeing all of that genre I've been reading lately. I'm desperate for more! I need Fever, now!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How did this get published?, 4 Feb. 2013
I really haven't read a book this bad, for years. Like many reviewers I loved the idea of a world filled with a young dying population, it's a dystopian theme I've not really come across before and I've read a lot, but that's as far as I go with praise. It's ill thought out, with many massive setting/plot issues I simple couldn't over look. The sister wife's were flat and the love interest was laughable, a servant boy?!? Come on I felt like I was reading a Catherine Cookson. It's lazy or I suspect hurried writing, give it miss and read something were the writer gave a crap.
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Wither (The Chemical Garden, Book 1)
Wither (The Chemical Garden, Book 1) by Lauren DeStefano (Paperback - 16 Feb. 2012)
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